Breasts are best, or two’s company…..

As a freelance writer it is always good news to be commissioned to write an article on a subject close to your heart. And my boobs are definitely that, literally and figuratively, so I am happily researching and writing for an online magazine on the subject of breast reconstruction. Those who have read my blogs before may recall that I was diagnosed with breast cancer 4 years ago, came through treatment successfully, but waited 3 years before I made the decision to put myself back under the knife and be ‘rebuilt’. I am now at the stage where as a 40 something mum of two teenagers I am getting my first tattoo (albeit with little choice about where it is sited and what design to have… see my previous post The Incredible Tattooed Woman) .

As I have been pulling together the research for the article, I have become acutely aware of the complex relationship we as women have with our own breasts, and those of other women. We are horrified – and fascinated – to see that Katie Price has given herself back pains by increasing the size of her bosom to the equivalent of two basketballs in her bra cups, (although at least that has given her something else to talk about in OK magazine.) Giselle Bundchen has created a furore by suggesting that breastfeeding should be mandatory, with scant regard for the rights and feelings of women who are physically unable to feed their babies, or choose not to for personal reasons.  The Daily Mail reports story after story suggesting that if only we would stop eating grapefruit, drink more/less alcohol, gorge ourselves on beetroot, use the right deodorant (or none at all and lose all our friends) we would avoid getting the dreaded Big C. And that is not a cup size. Believe me, I had all the protective factors in place and I still got it, so I feel strongly that we should not be made to feel as if our bosoms are ticking time bombs by a sensationalist media keen to place the blame for the rise in breast cancer cases on something women are or are not doing.

Given the things that have happened to me over the past four years my relationship with my chest is obviously a complex one, but I genuinely think breasts are great. They shouldn’t define us as women, but we should know and appreciate their role in how we feel about ourselves, our sex lives and how we choose to feed our children in their earliest months. We need to take care of them, check them (or let a willing partner do it, much more fun) and take note of any changes. But despite my experience – and to be honest it was a pretty horrible one that I would do anything to help other women avoid – I still want to have two in my bra, making a t-shirt look nice or filling out a dress. Since the mastectomy I have on occasions had to apologise to women friends of mine with significant cleavage as I find it hard to take my eyes off the beauty of it, and I must admit the desire to buy something pretty in La Senza was one of the reasons I began to feel the serious operation that reconstruction is (far more so than the original mastectomy) would be worth it. I admit it may seem shallow; a little bit girlie and not necessarily in line with my determined view that the exploitation of women as sex objects is wholly unacceptable.

But now, when I lay down to sleep at night, with a little, cool light coming in through the curtains highlighting me in silhouette I look down the length of my body and once again see two (admittedly rather little, but it was ever thus for me) rounded bumps, and for me that makes any discomfort I have gone through over the past year worth it.

Photo credit Boliston (statue at the Eden Project)

This entry was posted in Breast cancer, Random musings on family life, love the universe and everything and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Breasts are best, or two’s company…..

  1. jamie says:


    Interesting post, great to hear your writing business has taken off! I cannot comment on the content of the post to much as i don’t have breasts but it was enlightening all the same and very interested to see your take on it!

    Best of luck with the magazine article!


    Jamie + Lion

    • keatsbabe says:

      Ooops – it didn’t occur to me that men wouldn’t feel able to comment. Either that is equal opportunities in action or thoughtless on my part. I am sure there are things only men have that you could relate a similar feeling to….!

  2. Lucy says:

    I think it must feel strange, spending your entire life ‘symmetrical’ and then suddenly being ‘odd’. Sort of off-balance.

    I’m really glad you had the reconstruction! Boobies are marvellous! I love mine, they are hilarious. I met an old boss the other day, and he told me that when he’d mentioned to my old colleagues that we were meeting, they had said: “Do you think she’ll get her boobs out like in the old days?” I always thought it was handy to have something to cheer up the boys…

    • keatsbabe says:

      Hee hee! I always like staring at yours, in an aesthetic sense you understand. . x

      I always felt that at least I only had little ones to start with. It must be much tougher to lose a double dd cup or something.

  3. Gappy says:

    I think that after everything you’ve been through, you deserve a beautiful bra or two. I’m glad your decision to have surgery has been such a positive one for you. x

    • keatsbabe says:

      Thank you! I am very glad I had it done, but I am full of respect for women who decide against it and still have a positive body image. Spoke to a fabulous woman the other day who had done a naked photo shoot after her mastectomy. Great stuff!

    • keatsbabe says:

      Hi there I have just read what you had written about your experiences, and left a comment. You have a lot to deal with, and I am full of admiration for where you are after just over a year. It took me longer than that, and the anxieties never go away completely. You are obviously a strong person, take care of yourself x

  4. Louise says:

    I must admit, I’ve always fancied bigger boobs but I was once told that ‘more than a handful is a waste’! I know though that having healthy ones is the most important thing.

  5. Phil Furneaux says:

    Tough one to comment on Suzie! I have 3 things to say:

    1. I have the utmost admiration for how you have handled the situation, especially given your mental state.
    2. Jamie who commented above needs to know that at some point in his life he is statistically highly likely to have the male equivalent of boobs – moobs! Maybe then he will feel more able to comment….
    3. Not to objectify her in any way, of course, but the world definitely needs more women like Lucy!

  6. keatsbabe says:

    Thank you! Jamie will one day have moobs, but he is a long way off that yet I am sure. He’s just hit 21…

  7. urbanvox says:

    wow… that was some awesome writing there and a very compelling story!
    How would you like to tell it to a camera? 🙂

  8. Strength to you Keatsbabe, you are an inspiration.
    I personally can’t stop looking at a fabulous pair, and i have no excuse.


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