Growing up I was late to develop. All the girls in school had boobs, and periods and I when I was 17, I had still barely started to change. I was bullied. I used to beg my mum to buy me a bra, but she’d laugh and say I should be grateful and that my boobs would come. I would steal crop tops from Target just so I would have something under my shirt in the sports change rooms. I remember stuffing my bra with tissues, wearing baggy T-shirts and hunching my shoulders. I clearly remember my biggest crush telling my best friend “if she put some footy socks down her bra, then I’d think about going out with her”. I remember all the girls wearing triangle bikinis to the beach and me taking up surfing so I could wear a wetsuit instead. I remember bulling the bikini girls, because I was so jealous that I couldn’t wear the clothes that they did.
Having no boobs defined so much of who I was during my teenage years. In my early twenties I developed disordered eating behaviours because I wanted to do anything to remain ‘skinny’, just so my boobs would not look out of proportion. When I was only 23 I decided to change that. I saved up $12,000 and I had a breast augmentation. I wanted a really natural look, and I just wanted the confidence to be able to wear feminine clothes, and to go to the beach without feeling like a little boy. To this day, most people don’t realise I’ve had implants as they look very natural and in proportion.
I had no regrets. I used to tell people that my only regret was not having them done sooner. I was instantly more confident. I was instantly more appealing to men and I instantly felt sexier and more feminine.
When my first baby was born when I was 29, I had a horrible time breastfeeding. I tried so hard and just couldn’t do it, there was complication after complication. When my daughter was born the following year, I didn’t even try to breastfeed.
After the birth of my daughter, my mother passed away. I went through a divorce and found myself at a really low point in my life. I began drinking and partying to numb the pain. The pain that maybe I’d f*&ked up my life and was now a single mum. I began injecting botox into my forehead and eye area religiously in an attempt to slow down the aging process, because deep down I was scared that I could never be loved. I was worried that my looks were fading, and that that’s all I had (and they weren’t even that good anyway).
That’s when it hit me. The unexpected passing of my beautiful mum, whose own life had been plagued with alcoholism, depression and disordered eating helped me realise that her legacy was so much more than how she looked or these things which she thought defined her. It was her smile that I remember, her laugh, her selflessness and genuine care for others that are left with me. I started to realise that who I am is so much more than how I look and that I wish my mum had known that too.
I built a business, founded on this principal. My business WTribe was created to empower women who don’t feel like they are good enough. Who don’t realise how amazing they are and who spend all their time trying to change themselves- whether that’s through surgery, diets, fitness crazes or whatever else is the latest beauty craze. My business boomed, I helped thousands of women to start to love themselves for who they are. I used my breast surgery story as a way of empathizing with them, relating to them and showing them that I understand their feelings.
But underneath…. I felt like a little fake. I was promoting ‘love your body’ but my own body wasn’t all mine. I started to not even like to look of my implants. I started to crave a natural, healthy thriving body and I want to show my children how to love their own bodies. Last year I gave birth to my third baby, another daughter. I fought hard to breastfeed her and did so successfully for 7 months. This process of breastfeeding her really highlighted to me that our breasts are here for a purpose, not as an ornament.
It was about this time that I also discovered a group of women advocating a condition called breast implant illness. Symptoms vary dramatically amongst these women but overall- the belief is that by placing foreign “toxic” breast implants in our bodies, it has a detrimental impact on our health. A significant impact. There is also significant evidence to suggest that some implants cause a rare form of cancer. Whilst I can relate to a lot of the symptoms over the 13 years I’ve had implants, I can’t say that I have any ongoing health issues that I’d wholeheartedly attribute to BII, but I can say that if there’s any chance these implants are causing harm to my body then I want them out. I have been so inspired by the stories, the photos and the journeys these women have been on. I look at them and see so much courage and I have this reoccurring vision of me laying on my death bed saying to my children “ I’m sorry mummy is dying but I really wanted to look hot in a bikini.”
So, I stared to think about removal. To be honest, I’m scared. I’m not so scared of the operation itself, but I’m scared of how my body will look. I even hate admitting that. I’m scared that I will feel all those feels of inadequacy again, and maybe I will. But the main difference is that I know I’m doing it for the right reasons, I know my health is my priority and I know that with the right mindset and the right support I know this 100% the right decision.
The surgery is going to cost $11,000, which I can’t afford at the moment and we will be going into debt to cover. When I told my partner we couldn’t afford it, he asked if I can afford to die or get sick? When I’m doubting my decision he also tells me that my breasts are not important and that he will still love me and think I’m beautiful. I ask him regularly (like I’m trying to trick him into saying what he actually thinks….but he hasn’t faltered, which has helped) Recovery will take at least 6 weeks, depending on how it goes.
So I’ve just booked my surgery, July 2019. I hope my story has helped just one other woman. Helped her to either understand my story, to understand a little about why so many women are undergoing this procedure to or to consider their own story and not getting them in the first place.
I’m really looking forward to falling in love with my natural body.