Caroline's Story (Part 2)
I’ve always loved lingerie. Before cancer I was that girl that wore matching sets even under a tracksuit (my lingerie was, and always will be, only for me!). It has the power to help me feel good about myself, gave me a secret confidence, was my armour, got me ready for my day, that was all BBC (before breast cancer).
I am not going to focus on treatment here there are lots of informative blogs for that. I want to focus on recovery and specifically the mental health aspect of my recovery. Post-surgery my scars were healed but my head wasn’t. I certainly never shared openly about the emotional rawness I felt, my mood, or my sense of loss. I felt I couldn’t talk openly about my emotional recovery because I was ashamed to have those feelings. I felt I should be grateful I no longer had cancer- everything else was vain and superficial, right?!
…wrong, what I know now is emotional recovery is as important as the physical recovery.
Getting back to life is so hard. I had spent my life training my body in the gym and I felt it had let me down. A good friend said I should try Bikram yoga and to go along with her one Saturday, I had no clue what that meant, yoga is yoga right? Well no- Bikram yoga is 90 minutes open eyed meditation where it’s you and the mirror. You have no choice but to face yourself in that mirror. It’s not a pretty sight let me tell you when you are sweating buckets in the 40-degree heat and humidity, listening to the dialogue, following instruction while leaving your brain outside the door. But it gave me a ninety minute holiday every time I entered that room. It worked. It still does. What I found in this little community at B.E Bikram studio on Easter Road was another family. It helped me so much I am beyond grateful to Emma the owner of the studio. She told me I’d heal from the inside out and all I had to do was face myself in the mirror and the yoga would do the rest. It really helped me accept me, my strength and flexibility, my mind quietning. The room is filled with all shapes and sizes, men and women all ages with their own story no doubt. I learned we are capable of anything if we put our mind to it. We are all amazing humans and we all deserve to love ourselves, So I am forever grateful to my friend who dragged me along that fateful Saturday. It made me stronger mentally and physically and I learnt to accept me.
After breast cancer, dressing can be stressful due to the lack of choice on the market. I couldn’t find underwear that made me feel good or look good. On the outside I looked put-together but I knew that I was wearing a bra made from some poly, nylon, yuck fabric that wasn’t breathable and had industrial size straps that on my frame of 5ft3 felt like another top under my top. I decided to find out how other women who had gone through breast surgery felt and realised I wasn’t alone in feeling that I was somehow forgotten about by the lingerie market. How dare they considering pre cancer I dedicated lots of paychecks to them! It’s ironic really as the lingerie market is worth billions and yet our ever growing sector is being catered for primarily by medical brands.
I felt compelled to try to change this. All of the negative experiences helped when designing the initial collection. It’s a small collection trying to cover as many outcomes of surgery as possible. LoveRose centres around beautiful soft bras made using luxury sustainable fabrics. In the first collection we are using recycled lace and beautiful silks. The first collection will be a mixture of bras, briefs, suspenders and robes which can be ‘mixed and matched’, whether straight from surgery, returning to work or going out with friends and returning to life. There are two pocketed bras for women who have prosthesis, and three others for women have had reconstruction or lumpectomies. They are all soft bras with hidden support. We also have matching briefs, again there are several options to suit your preference, alongside a suspender belt and silk robes all in matching colours. I love wearing all the bras and it’s hard to choose my favourite between them as they all have different design features, including a great night time bra and pant in breathable tencel jersey called “Honey I’m Home” that is like a hug (you’ll be dreaming of putting it on after a long day!). But my favourite has got to be the front fastening bra we call “Lights Down Low” it’s beautiful, sexy and super comfy.
The LoveRose team is Sarah Bell Jones and I and we work with a wider team spread over the UK and Portugal. Sarah is from London but a graduate from Edinburgh and I’m lucky to have found her as we make a great team. We are often getting very interesting glances in coffee shops across the city when we’re checking out fabric samples and drawings, and we’ve yet to have a meeting when one of us isn’t air-drawing boobs! All part of a day’s work! Our models are ordinary women who have had different breast surgeries that are part of our community. If you want to join us as a model we are planning all sorts of shenanigans over the next few months, sign up to our website www.loveroselingerie.com and get in touch!
We are working hard to launch our crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter in October where you can get an early bird discount for you and friends on pre order. A percentage of sales will also go back to our chosen charities Maggie’s and Coppafeel. Spread the word let’s get LoveRose Lingerie crowdfund to go viral. Us ladies have to stick together and show the lingerie market that we deserve to have a choice too. Stand with us to make change. We matter.
LoveRose, Love yourself, xoxo