I remember it took a lot of courage to start the conversation about really wanting my first bra. How could I possibly start high school without one, when I knew that even the girls who were obviously less endowed were already in training bras? Certainly, if the most developed girl in class had brought to my attention that the letter corresponding to my cup size must already be closer to the second most desirable grade, it was time to go shopping. I prayed that my mother would be like Margaret’s in the classic book “Are You There God it’s me Margaret?”, and not ask questions when I broached the subject. In the end, I was pleased to get one of those pretty, stretchy, front closure bras, that felt very trendy at the time. My relationship with my breasts really only began as a result of them getting noticed by others. It was almost as if I only saw them in a mirror, or from the outside. I suspect this is the case with many women. Not that I was raised with any taboos, religious or otherwise, around touching them, but once properly attired in the socially acceptable garment of most cultures, the care of my breasts was not addressed. I came across no maintenance manual, until perhaps pregnancy, and no instructions until the age that my doctor began annual examination of them.
At first our young breasts are often simply taken for granted or subjected to judgement for being less or even more than they should be. As I aged, I came to see that there is no joy or wholesome appreciation of breasts by their owners encouraged by society, apart from within the bounds of a sexual relationship. Eventually, holding ourselves up to the idealized, sexualized versions of breasts portrayed in the media becomes tiresome, and shopping for clothing that fits them properly is exasperating in a “one size fits all” world.
The idea of healthy breasts too often remains stuck within the descriptors of youth, with words like perky, bouncy, and unblemished. Our breasts take the shape of ill-fitting bras which leave marks when removed. Sometimes they are worn for too many hours a day in the mistaken belief that it will keep them from sagging, without realizing that they need regular movement to avoid congestion of breast tissue, so that our lymphatic systems can easily dispose of various debris including toxins from body care products.
We rarely examine how our breasts become associated with the many emotional events and traumas of our lives, both positive and negative. Motherhood and nursing - even not nursing- can indeed play important roles, but we also become disconnected, or disassociate from our breasts, for physical, mental, and even spiritual reasons.
When I ask myself what kind of relationship I currently have with my breasts, I am grateful to be able to share that they have taught me many lessons. The awakening journey I took to breast health, has now become part of my life’s mission. It has not only taught me how to reduce my risks for breast cancer, but also how my breast health is in fact a mirror of how we are treating the planet. How did that happen?
Fifteen years ago, I was told I had a cyst in my breast. By a series of synchronistic events, I was guided towards the book " The Complete Natural Medicine Guide to Breast Cancer", by Sat Dharam Kaur ND, and her work as a founder of the MammAlive Foundation.
With the guidance of this book and the help of my own naturopath, I addressed my liver through diet, cleansing, and tinctures while addressing my lymphatic system through exercise and massage. When I went back, the cyst had gone and I thought to myself "Wow, women need to know how much of breast health is within their control."
This led me to take the 12 module Healthy Breast program, not once, but twice, as I was so fascinated and wanted to be able to teach it. In fact, I have now been a certified breast health educator and on the Board of the MammAlive Foundation for Breast Health and Education for the past four years.
Are you ready to share your first bra story? Are ready to learn more about the relationship between you, your breasts, and the planet?
I would love to be your guide on your own breast health journey.