More about preparing for your mastectomy with aesthetic flat closure at the Preparing for Surgery page.
Memorializing Your Breasts: Options to Consider
You may want to consider memorializing your breasts before your surgery. Then after your mastectomy, you will have something tangible with which to remember and honor your previous breasted body. Here are a few ideas, sourced from breast cancer survivor-created lingerie company AnaOno and life coach and breast cancer survivor Melissa Eppard:
- Photos. Photos of your breasts can help you remember them after they’re gone and play a role in supporting you through your grief and healing process. You can take intimate photos either by yourself or with a partner. Or, you can have professional photos taken – there are many photographers who specialize in boudoir, with options for all different styles and preferences. Peruse Instagram or Pinterest to gather some “inspiration” photos that you like to show to your photographer.
- Write a letter or journal/poetry about your breasts. Or, address your letter TO your breasts – some people find a sense of peace in thanking their breasts for what they’ve done for them and “letting them go.”
- Hold a farewell ceremony or celebration with friends and/or family. It can be as lighthearted as making a silly cake and enjoying the company and support of loved ones, or as solemn as you prefer. Some people have a special spiritual or religious practice, or meditation routine, that helps them process their feelings.
- Make a paper mâché or plaster cast of your breasts or torso, or have one professionally made, that can be turned into a sculpture you can keep.
Some women don’t feel inclined to do any of these things, and that’s ok too – preparing emotionally for your mastectomy is a very individual process and you know what’s right for you.
Some articles and inspiration:
- Pre-Mastectomy Self Love Tips (AnaOno)
- How One Woman Celebrated Her Breasts Before A Mastectomy (SELF, 2015)
- Cancer patient has plaster cast of her chest made before having mastectomy (DailyMail UK, 2014)
- Keep a Breast’s Treasured Chest (KeepaBreast.org)
- The Unique Way I Chose to Honor My Breasts Before My Double Mastectomy (HuffPost, 2017)
- Breast Cancer Boudoir (CBC News, 2020)
- A Conversation with Boudoir Photographer and Breast Cancer Survivor Jen Rozenbaum (Westcott University)
- Breast cancer survivors’ unique art therapy (AP News, 2016)
- Beyond Pink: Pre and Post Mastectomy Photos (Becky Yee Photography)
- Why Boudoir Changes Lives (Queensberry)
- A Young Woman Poses for Tasteful Boudoir Photos Days Before Double Mastectomy (Smithsonian Magazine, 2016)
- Woman documents breast cancer journey through boudoir photography (ABC7NY, 2019)
- My pre-mastectomy boudoir photo shoot (Fit is a Feminist Issue, 2015)
- Pre Mastectomy Boudoir Session San Diego (Debra Alison Photography)
- Thanks for the Mammaries! 27-Year-Old has Surprise Leaving Party to Say “Bye-Bye Boobs” Before Double Mastectomy (StoryTrender)
- Woman fighting cancer throws goodbye party for breasts before double mastectomy (ABC News, 2017)
- My boobs had to go – so I gave them a farewell party (BBC News, Scotland, 2020)
- Bye Bye, Boobies… a farewell on the eve of my double mastectomy (Medium, 2017)