Soul Food: Mastectomy Bras and John Edwards

Every now and then I come across something on the internet that puts back together the pieces of my soul that shattered when Heidi Klum and Seal broke up or when Oprah Winfrey cancelled the Rosie O’Donnell Show.  And, today, after reviewing the legal highlights of John Edwards’ criminal trial that is drawing to a close, I had just such a “making my soul whole” moment while buying a sports bra on-line.

In my mind I was still cursing that D-bag John Edwards for being interminably tanned (is that a spray tan? what’s his “tan plan” for prison?) and expertly coifed, not to mention the way that he cheated on Elizabeth and lied about it while she was occupied fighting for her life against breast cancer. (I try not to judge other people’s marriages.  Except for John Edwards’.  I judge the sh*t out of his marriage. I want to pin his shitty character (next to a certain oxycontin-addicted radio host) on my Pinterest board that is labeled “People Who Make The Idiots On Cops Look Like Model Citizens.”)

So, I was taking my time reviewing the bras at Athleta (because I had convinced myself that scrolling through the bras burned as many calories as actually running in the bras), and I saw this:

Tender Support "Mastectomy" Bra from

Tender Care Support “Mastectomy” Bra (by Anita Active) from

When I saw there was a special section of bras designed for women who have undergone mastectomies, I forgot all about former Senator What’s-His-Name. I started thinking about the women who would wear this bra.  I was getting teary contemplating that (1) such a bra exists at all; (2) that after all the trauma of a mastectomy, a woman who wants to resume physical activity can log on and buy the Tender Care Support bra; and (3) there was no shame attached to this bra.  The “mastectomy bra” section is sandwiched right between the “seamless bras” and the “racerback bras.”  (Someone at Athleta is a little fuzzy on how to alphabetize, but I will let that slide.)  It’s not hidden away on some hard-to-find corner of the website.

For some reason, this bra makes me feel like there is plenty more compassion in this world than I could have imagined.  It feels like a victory for some reason–over cancer and invisiblity and infirmity and the view that our society is harsh and relentlessly uninterested in issues that afflict women.

I hope to God I never need this bra. I hope no one I love or that follows this blog ever needs this bra.  But if one of us does have a mastectomy, I hope we live to see the other side, and the day when we’re ready to hit the trails or the gym or the trampoline in a bra that was designed for life after breast cancer.


10 thoughts on “Soul Food: Mastectomy Bras and John Edwards

  1. Funny, I just had a meeting today with two survivor friends who had mastectomies because I am interested in becoming certified to fit prostheses and M. bras — to add to my bra fitting business. They suggested finding someone who could sew a prosthesis pocket into regular bras so they could shop off the racks for their bras, among all the pretty styles other women get to choose from. Makes sense to me. It is a whole new world for survivors, and I was grateful for their willingness to tutor me up!

    I heard Elizabeth Edwards speak at the 2008 Blogher conference in Chicago. Very strong, inspiring woman, she was… She played a tough hand well.

  2. Oddly, this might be my favorite post ever (do I say that every time? I mean it this time). I share your hatred (and I never use that word) of Summer’s Eve Edwards. I hate his tan almost has much as his ‘I’m such a down home boy’ accent.

    But the bra really got me. I have a friend who just had reconstructive surgery after her double mastectomy and I must forward this link to her. I can imagine it makes life just a little better to not have to hunt down something as simple and basic as a good bra. Good looking out for us Athleta — and Outlaw Mama.

  3. I have missed you WELCOMETOTHEMOTHERHOOD and I forgive you for taking a wonderful vacation without me. What does it mean that I like your comment as much as my own damn post? I didn’t even touch his accent because it is an outrage to all true southern people. What an asshat.
    I can’t believe you have a friend who has had a double mastectomy. I feel grief about that and I don’t even know her. When you read the statistics it seems inevitable that someone I cherish will face this.

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