I really hadn’t thought all that much about my breasts until I knew that I had to have mastectomies. While pondering my impending loss, I realized that I hadn’t honored my body’s ability to sustain my two sons through my breast feeding.
My husband was invited by his corporation to move us to Mexico City in 1983 when our first child, Josh, was 5 months old. I had a lot of doubts about living in Mexico; I was especially concerned about clean, safe water and baby formula. Because I was nursing, I knew that I could nourish my son well regardless of the water situation. I gave birth to my son, Andrew, in Mexico, and when he was three months old, we relocated to Brazil. Once again my confidence in my breast milk allowed me to go on a new adventure.
How do you thank your body for that?

As a fiber artist, I especially appreciate fine lace work and delicate fabrics. My bras were beautiful, full of subtle detail and workmanship. The plastic surgeon told me that my new breasts would have a different profile from my natural breasts and that it was unlikely that I would be able to use the same bras after reconstruction was finished. The idea of losing these lovely, personal items only added to my sadness.
I had not been making art for the months following my breast cancer diagnosis. When the idea came to me to make something honoring my breasts using my old bras, it resonated deeply within me. I started this piece before my mastectomies and I finished it after a subsequent surgery completed my reconstruction. I cried often while making this. Sometimes I cried with grief and other times I cried out of gratefulness that surgery would prolong my life. Sewing this piece allowed me to produce a new self out of old bras. I am and have always been more than my breasts but my breasts gave me great gifts and I will always be grateful. Honoring them with this work is the least I can do.
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