Soma's mission is to design products for you, listen to your needs and share your stories. Today, we are sharing Elizabeth's story. She is a Director, Photographer, Mother and BRCA positive Previvor. Read on to learn about her journey and how she is helping other women going through similar experiences.
OCCUPATION: DIRECTOR & PHOTOGRAPHER
ABOUT HER: CREATIVE, AMBITIOUS, STORYTELLER, FEMINIST, BRCA PREVIVOR
Hi Elizabeth! How was your bra-fitting experience with Soma?
I was pleasantly surprised. When I put on the Enbliss Wireless bra it literally felt like I wasn’t wearing anything, which was fantastic. Everyone’s always trying to tell you, “Oh, the bra feels like you’re not wearing anything.” But that one really did, it was awesome.
What do you look for in a bra?
I need it to be smooth under my T-shirts because I wear a lot of soft, thin T-shirts so I need it to be something I can put on, feel good in and then forget about. And, like I said before, it used to be that you had to choose if you’re wearing a bra that looks good under your t-shirt, then you have to run and take it off before anyone sees it because it’s so ugly. So this new world is working for me.
Can you tell us a bit about your relationship with bras?
I think for a long time, women had to choose between having a “hot” bra or a comfortable bra. Being and feeling sexy, or being and feeling comfortable. And, there wasn’t that mixing of the two. Thankfully it’s a new world where women demand, I certainly demand, to not be uncomfortable and to feel sexy. I love finding something that you can live in all day AND feel good about.
What about your relationship with your boobs?
When I was in my early thirties, I found out that I’m BRCA positive. And, what that means is that I have a gene mutation that makes me incredibly likely to get breast cancer. I found this news out when I was single and I didn’t have kids yet. And, the recommended treatment is a preventative double mastectomy. Which they used to call them radical mastectomies. And, you know what? It IS radical. It’s a radical concept to talk about cutting off parts of your body that are perfectly healthy at the time because they will probably cause you to be ill. And, realizing that my own breasts could make me sick was a pretty scary notion. But, the flip side of that is I was confronted with this sort of empowering reality that I had the option to save my own life.
I knew that I wanted to have kids and I knew that I wanted to breastfeed my kids, I wanted to have that experience. So I made the decision to wait until I had kids and they were done with breastfeeding. Then I was finally ready and I went and did all the surgeries. It was awful, I don’t necessarily need to get into the details about that. But, I think for me, it became about leaning into the empowerment part of it. Leaning into the fact that I am being given the choice to take my health into my own hands.
I feel like my breasts have become a symbol of this journey starting with being young, my femininity, then my maturity and now a symbol of my survivorness.
What do you want women who are going through similar experiences to take from your experience with being BRCA positive?
I want people to know that you can come out of this feeling proud of yourself and strong and empowered and like, “I did this, and I got through this.” And, you can also look great. So, part of my journey has been talking to other women and telling them don’t let fear, anxiety, worry, and vanity stop you from doing this. If this is what you need to do, you can come out of this feeling great and looking great. I want to share that feeling of empowerment with other women. I like to take the stigma out of talking about it, I want other people to know I’m not hiding some traumatizing mess.
Where do you find your confidence to share everything about your journey?
Honestly the confidence to talk about my journey comes from seeing the response I get. People have shared that my willingness to talk to women and to be honest with them has made a difference in people’s lives and that gives me the confidence. If you are a woman who knows someone going through this and you’ve never met someone who will talk to you about it, I’m happy to talk to you about it. And, in that little tiny way, I’m paying it forward.