Jen Patten is a TIALS BB who underwent a breast reduction in November 2017. One year later, Jen is still recovering from the surgery, but feeling a million times better than ever before. She joins TIALS to talk about her experience, body positivity, and more.
Last summer, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, and it was one of the hardest moments in our lives. Just like me, my mom always had larger breasts and had a hard time with them as well. They not only caused her to be super insecure, but also caused a great deal of physical pain in her back. Breast cancer is also known to be genetic, so my mom was scared for me. I found out that some breast reductions reduce your risk of getting breast cancer because the tissue they are removing could one day develop into breast cancer. I knew I wanted to do this the minute my mom started her battle against cancer, after our surgeries and treatment, we were able to heal side by side.
How did your breast size impact your body image and self-worth?
Freshman year of college, the students there remembered me as “Jen with the big boobs” and it made me sick. I couldn't wear anything without a man staring, and I felt like other people’s eyes were always undressing me because of my breast size. I would cry at night from the discomfort when I tried to sleep or workout. It was beyond frustrating.
Why do you think people don’t really talk about breast reductions? Where does that stigma come from?
People don't talk about breast reductions because the part of society that doesn’t know about breast reductions automatically think it's plastic surgery, or “fake.” There are so many judgments surrounding breasts ‒ so much stigma around, for example, exposing the female nipple or breastfeeding in public ‒ that we are judged on what we do with them, whether we show them for ourselves, make them bigger, make the smaller, hide them up, etcetera. We should be proud of our bodies whether we choose to change them or not. I’m very open about my breast reduction, and I’ve never realized how many women have considered getting one until I talked about my own. I met at least ten girls I've spoken to about my experience that have either wanted a breast reduction or have had one - you would have never known. It’s something someone should never be ashamed of, whether or not we share it for our own reasons.
Are there certain types of bras that are better or more comfortable for women recovering from breast reductions?
Sports bras are perfect, along with most wireless bras. I got my surgery just over a year ago, and my scars are still healing. I wish I knew about THIS IS A LOVE SONG when I first got my breast reduction. TIALS bras are so beautiful and make you feel proud and sexy, while at the same time being so breasts comfortable. There's not a lot of brands out there that have the sexy and the comfort, but TIALS does.
Did your breast reduction impact how others treated you? Were they supportive? Was anyone not?
My family and friends were very supportive of me throughout the whole process—before surgery, during surgery, and after surgery. I told my friends about the decision before I told my parents because I had insecurities towards what they might think; I was afraid my parents would say, “Why? You’re beautiful just the way you are.” Instead, when I told them, they hugged me and assured me of their support. I’m lucky to have supportive people surrounding me through a journey like this.
Do you have any regrets? Or anything you wish you had known ahead of time?
There is not one regret I have after my experience, I am still so thankful and so happy to this day about my decision. It was the best decision I have ever made in my entire life.
What advice do you have for other women who are deciding or have decided to get a breast reduction?
Love yourself more than you ever had. Don’t be scared, and if you are scared, that's okay. Do it for yourself and do away with any outside opinions that are unsupportive towards what you want. Remember that this decision is for you and only you. Your breasts will always be yours whether you change them or not. Your body belongs to only you, so it’s important to love it.
Thank you, Jen, for being open and honest with us and for supporting TIALS!