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Bare-breasted Mama

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At the close of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we're pleased to debut a new column called Bare-breasted Mama. Actually, we're more than pleased -- we're totally psyched. Written by Gail Konop Baker, it's a raw, intimate, and powerful look at her journey as a mother with breast cancer.

Personally, I have mixed feelings about National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. On the one hand, breast cancer has touched several women in my life. And who can argue with the need for more awareness? Research dollars? Treatment options? On the other hand, I have issues with corporations that wrap themselves in a pink ribbon and then giggle all the way to the bank. If buying a pink can of chicken soup makes you feel better, then go for it. But if you really want to learn more, feel more, and think more about what it's like to have breast cancer, check out Bare-breasted Mama.

In her first entry, Gail writes:

I'm sitting topless in the oncologist's office on Valentine's Day. Cancer is a bitch. It doesn't give a shit about holidays. Doesn't give a shit when the oncologist gently presses his thick hairy fingers near the wound above my nipple. Tears well, burn the raw edges of my puffy eyes, dribble down my cheeks and roll past blood-caked stitches, landing in a puddle in the space between the oncologist's cold wedding band and my warm flesh. "Still swollen," he says and I hate him, hate that I'm swollen, hate that I'm here on Valentine's Day instead of at Victoria's Secret buying the cleavage enhancing Miracle Bra that Redbook recommended for guaranteed flawless shape.

You can read more of Gail's writing at her Web site.


Marjorie Osterhout is a writer, editor, and storyteller. Her essays and articles have appeared in anthologies like It’s A Boy (Seal Press) and magazines including Parents, Parenting, and ePregnancy. She also spent a whirlwind three years travel writing for Disney. She is a former managing editor, columns editor, and columnist (“Dear Marjo”) for Literary Mama.


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