While I am happy with the path I took by having both my breasts removed, it doesn’t stop my mind from wondering what it would be like if I had taken another. I have to be honest – from time to time, I find myself wishing that I had boobs again. Maybe because i’m starting to forget them and don’t want to but I think mainly it’s when I’m shopping and desperately love an outfit that I know I’ll never be able to wear again. For me however, I know that the benefits of not having breasts outweigh the alternative but I must admit, I have been taken aback by some people’s reactions to my decision.
I was once talking about the fact that I missed being able to wear a particular type of clothing to a friend and instead of reassuring me that there are plenty of options I can wear now that they can’t, this friend decided that it was an opportunity to tell me how easy or great it would be for me to change my mind and get breasts. I guess what it reaffirmed for me is that many people really don’t understand what is involved in reconstructive surgery and therefore can’t understand why some women would choose to stay breastless. The reality is, you can’t know what it’s like until the situation is forced upon you and it becomes your decision to make.
When meeting all the other models in the ‘So Brave’ calendar that I was recently involved in, I was surprised to find that only one other was breastless like me, confirming that of breast cancer cases, people who remain flat are still in the minority. The most favourable option is still to have reconstruction and I am totally in support of women who take that path.
What I get emotional about is reading comments that say, “I can’t wait to have breasts and feel like a woman again.” Is that telling me that I am less of a woman? Is that telling me that people who think that way look at me and think that I don’t look like a woman? Comments like that genuinely hurt because I am still the same, very feminine woman that I was before breast cancer took my breasts away from me. No one can tell me that I am not womanly or that I need to have breasts to be a woman.
I guess what strikes me is that women don’t even think twice about making a comment about getting breasts back and being a woman again. They don’t even think about the fact that comments like that could offend people who are potentially already dealing with so many raw emotions around their identity as a woman. The number of breastless women is growing and we want to be seen as normal in society.
To me, women are nurturing, generous, intelligent, strong, loving, caring, practical, beautiful and so much more. These traits are not defined by their breasts. It is just that breasts are a part of the body that traditionally distinguish the physical differences between a male and a female and that’s what makes it emotionally harder for women than other cancers where body parts are the same for both genders.
I have seen a lot of women who have breasts appear much less feminine that myself who has breasts. And my new scar sister Ana is one of the most feminine, beautiful women I know regardless of what appendage she has sitting on her chest. While I am proud of my decision and totally don’t want to change it, acceptance of my decision is harder for many other people than it is for me. What I can’t stress enough is that I LOVED my breasts (without sounding weird about it). Yes, they had a little of the breastfeeding sag going on but I did not want to change them, they were mine and I really do miss them.
I never ever thought before I had breast cancer about what I would do if I lost them but I’m guessing that I would have said that I would reconstruct. But something happened to me and I lost them. Until you have been in that situation, you can never ever know what you would truly do. It’s like the people who have never had children saying that they would never let their kids do that. Suddenly they find themselves in the actual position of being a parent and how totally different their perspective becomes.
I guess what I’m saying is never criticise or judge someone else’s decision to do something (especially that you think you would do differently) until you have walked in their shoes. Instead of offering up what they could do (cause I’m pretty sure I’m aware I can still have reconstruction and suggesting that to me only confirms to me that you don’t agree with or support the fact that I haven’t reconstructed), support them and their decision and love them just the way they are.
All I know is that I’m on the right path for me as are so many women like me who have opted not to reconstruct. All we want to be is accepted in society and respected for our very personal decisions. We still want to be found womanly and attractive so please don’t tell us we have to have boobs in order to be that way. It only makes us second guess ourselves when some days we might not have it all together as it is.
I guess that is why I have found clothing to be so therapeutic in making me feel good about myself post-cancer and why I want to share this passion with other breastless women. It is an amazing feeling to put something on and feel beautiful in it and to have people comment on how good it looks, some people not even realising that I am breastless.
I love Seed Heritage and today I’m showing you a couple of tops that I bought on sale recently (and think they still are on sale). The frills and the patterns just work perfectly for the breastless and they are really beautiful tops. Seed have a lot of great options for breastless women.
I also found this really cute dress at H & M which is pleated and loose enough on the chest area to sit perfectly on the breastless. It also is quite high up under the arms to not show any scarring and it was the perfect price at $39.99.
Here’s a snapshot of a few other great options I saw at H & M also so check them out.
Have a wonderful week,
I am breastless and beautiful.
Love, Gen x