My Story - Breast Cancer Awareness Month
I’ve always had small breasts, and truthfully - I’ve felt inadequate as a woman for most of my life because of this. I know that a lot of women struggle with the size or shape of their breasts - large or small - and that I’m not alone. My girlfriends and I have compared dissatisfied notes on more than one occasion. Sometimes over laughter. Sometimes over tears. But it wasn’t until my mom lost one of her breasts to cancer that I finally had a wake-up-call about accepting my breasts and my body as a whole. To change my relationship with my breasts and my Self - for the better.
I remember watching my mom get dressed after her mastectomy. The angry red scar across her chest. The special bra to replace the breast that no longer exists. The moment when I witnessed her really see herself in the mirror, and the look in her eye that came with it. In her eyes lived all the fear from her cancer experience. All the stress from the surgery. And that familiar look of judgement in seeing one’s own reflection, and questioning “am I a beautiful woman” with only one breast?
Seeing my mom - a wife, mother of three and grandmother of six - wonder if she’s still beautiful after surviving cancer and having a breast removed was something I’ll never forget.
Since then, and especially during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I reflect a lot on how - perhaps - the way women feel about their breasts (and associated sense of value in relation to our breasts) has something to do with the increased rates of breast cancer. I know that personally, I’ve directed a lot of negative energy that way. But since my mom’s experience, I’ve made a point of changing my negative relationship with my breasts by having a daily self-care practice - comprised of positive self talk, breast massage, no more padded bras and a commitment to a zero tolerance policy for any thoughts that try to sneak in and tell me that I’m not womanly enough, beautiful enough, sexy enough, or feminine enough with the precious body I’ve been given.
Sometimes we don’t know what we’ve got until it’s gone. I hope that my story helps you remember to love and appreciate what you have, no matter what society or that boyfriend or those magazines have ever said to you.
In honour of all the women who have lost their breasts, or their lives to breast cancer, I encourage you to really consider how you think, feel and talk about about your breasts. To honour your breasts for the amazing parts of your body that they are! And who knows, maybe one day a young woman or girl will catch you looking at yourself in the mirror and see you see yourself with total, unconditional love and approval - no matter what the shape, size or circumstances may be.
-- Anonymous Love Club Member