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Regaining Confidence in a Swimsuit After a Life-Altering Mastectomy

Regaining Confidence in a Swimsuit After a Life-Altering Mastectomy

A mastectomy can save your life, but it also permanently changes your body. Accepting your new appearance can be difficult, and the thought of wearing a swimsuit might sound scary. However, regaining your confidence – and enjoying that well-deserved beach vacation – is possible.

Getting Started

When shopping for mastectomy swimwear, look for something you would've wanted to wear before surgery; there's no need to abandon your sense of style. Consider whether you'd feel better in a suit with pockets for breast prostheses, or if you'd rather skip them and go natural. Either way is totally fine.

If you're feeling self-conscious about scars, try a swimsuit with a high neckline and smaller openings for your arms. A rash guard, which looks like a T-shirt but feels like swimwear, is another great option. Of course, if you feel like wearing something more revealing, go right ahead – you have nothing to hide.

At the end of the day, remember to go easy on yourself. Adapting to change takes time, just like restoring your confidence and learning to feel good in a swimsuit. Don't rush the journey and never forget the strength that's gotten you this far. A mastectomy can save your life, but it also permanently changes your body and often how you view yourself. Accepting all of the changes you are going through can be difficult--not the least of which is how to dress your post-mastectomy body. Regaining your confidence with everyday clothing can be tough, but since buying women’s swimwear has probably never been one of your favorite things to do, let’s get that one out of the way.

Unlike days gone by, post-mastectomy swimwear is more accessible than ever. Regardless of the type of surgery you had, both unilateral mastectomy swimwear and bilateral mastectomy swimwear are available to you. If you previously wore plus-size swimwear or if you need petite swimwear or long torso swimwear, there is swimwear for your post-mastectomy body that will work just right for you.

What to Look For

One of the first things to determine is what kind of mastectomy swimwear is for you. First, know what type of suit you will be looking for:

  • Have you had reconstruction?
  • A typical swimsuit will work but mastectomy tankini tops or a one-piece mastectomy swimsuit would probably be more comfortable.
  • Do you use a prosthesis(es)?
  • Look for mastectomy swimsuits to quickly narrow down suits with prosthesis pockets.
  • Are you breast-free and living flat?
  • Look for suits that have a shelf bra or no bra at all like a lined swimsuit.

Not only does mastectomy swimwear have pockets for prostheses, they typically have a higher neckline and specially designed armholes that are also higher cut and include extra comfort features. They can also have feature UPF 50 sun protection and chlorine-resistant properties.

Make sure to look for swimwear that not only meets your needs after your mastectomy (or your lumpectomy) surgery but look for women’s swimwear you would've wanted to wear before surgery; there's no need to abandon your sense of style--one-piece swimsuits or two-piece swimsuits, active swimwear or shaping swimwear, even a long sleeve swimsuit top and swim shorts are all available to choose from! You are still you and you can find post-mastectomy swimwear that fits your style and personality.

There is nothing like a just-right outfit – or in this case, a just-right swimsuit – to help regain your confidence. When you feel good about what you are wearing and how you look in it, it shows! You carry yourself differently and react and interact with people differently. Imagine all the new adventures still awaiting you...the possibilities are endless.

It's All About the Features

Taking the time to do your research and follow the general swimming suit buying guidelines will help you find that just right post-mastectomy surgery swimwear:

  • Determine how often you swim & under what conditions
  • Make sure the fit is right by taking your measurements
  • Consider fabric content-chlorine resistant, UPF sun protection, slenderizing (or not!)
  • Review care instructions and be sure to follow them
  • Consider your budget and what quality you can expect
  • Check out the return policies of the company you are shopping
  • Ask for help, from family and friends for measuring and styling
  • Contact the company for help with fabric, fit and other product questions

Then, when you are getting ready to hit the beach, the local lap pool, or the neighbor’s backyard hot tub or pool, grab the bare necessities like your beach towel, sunscreen, eyewear protection, and a bottle of water and throw them in a canvas tote bag. Next, slip on a swimsuit cover-up, a pair of women's sandals and you are ready to head out.

You are now ready to face the world, confident, in your new mastectomy swimwear. You have taken the time, care and thoughtfulness needed to help you face the world of swimwear shopping again. Now, enjoy the water!

 
 

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