As your Facebook news feed fills with baby announcements and pictures, it's easy to assume that getting pregnant naturally is simple. But achieving pregnancy with ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) is more common than we think. According to a 2015 report by the U.S. Society of Assisted Reproductive Technology, 1 million babies born in the U.S. between 1987 and 2015 were born through the use of IVF, an egg donor, or a sperm donor. A common misconception is that only women over a certain age use IVF, but women of all ages struggle with fertility challenges. Conditions such as PCOS, endometriosis, or fibroids can cause some women to be unable to get pregnant naturally or be unable to carry to term.
Egg freezing, while relatively new, has opened up avenues for women to explore prolonging their fertility, however, there is still limited knowledge about the process. A recent study conducted with a cross section of reproductive age women reported that "overall, 87.2% reported awareness of egg freezing, yet only 29.8% knew what it really entails." In addition, for many women, egg freezing can be a cost-prohibitive process, making it inaccessible to certain demographics. A recent report found that only 4% of respondents who froze their eggs were African American, 4% Hispanic and 1% Middle Eastern.
Our Biological Clock
A girl is born with all the eggs she will ever have, approximately two million of them. By the time she begins menstruating, she will have about 400,000 remaining, and from then, about 1,000 die each month. On average, she will have approximately 12% of her reserve at age 30 and only 3% at age 40. This decline continues until she reaches menopause at an average age of 51. Technically, a woman can naturally conceive until she reaches menopause, but it becomes harder with time.
From ages 30–34, a healthy woman trying to get pregnant naturally has about an 86% chance of conceiving in a year and those odds decrease slightly to 78% from ages 35–39. By the time she is well into her 40s, 90% of her eggs will be chromosomally abnormal, making it harder to conceive and increasing her risk of a miscarriage, a Down syndrome pregnancy, or an abnormal pregnancy.
What egg freezing attempts to do is freeze time — that is, keep a woman's eggs at a certain point in time, when they were of higher quality. For example, if a 45-year-old woman were trying to conceive, typically, she is better benefited using the higher quality eggs she froze while at age 35.
From a young age, having children has been one of my greatest life goals. While many girls dream of their wedding day, I'd fast forward to becoming a mother. I've even had the names of my future kids picked out since I was in high school. However, my dreams of motherhood juxtaposed traditional yet progressive ideals and that meant my dream would have to wait until I was in a great place in my career, had secured financial independence, and had a suitable partner to raise children with; a scenario familiar to many ambitious, family-oriented women.
At 28, it seemed I had it all. I had just graduated from a top MBA program, started my post-MBA career at a top management consulting firm, and was newly engaged to who I thought was the love of my life. Life was perfect, until it wasn't. Everything came crashing down when my relationship ended. Before that happened, the plan was to have my first kid at 30 shortly after we were married, the second at 32, and the third at 34. Instead, I was so devastated that I swore off relationships for the next three years to protect myself from another heartbreak. I spent the time focused on my career and traveling.
When I came out of my three-year dating hiatus, I had a moment of panic.
The societal pressures of getting married had started to get to me, and I could no longer ward off the not so gentle nudges from my family that I was getting older. Though I was thriving in other aspects, I felt like I was failing in life because I was nowhere close to being married and having children. During this time, I began to put a lot of pressure on myself to make it work with whomever I was seeing because "time was ticking". It became a roller coaster of finally liking someone, emotionally investing in them, then realizing we were not a great match and having to go back to the drawing board. I no longer enjoyed dating — it felt more like a draining task with a rabid sense of urgency. I'd wonder if every guy sitting across the table from me on a date could potentially become my husband/the father of my children.
But as strongly as I want to be a mother, I am also a hopeful romantic who believes in love and finding "the one" and I was not going to compromise on that.
I knew I had to reset and get back to my normal self. I wanted to date (and have fun doing so), take the time to properly get to know someone, let the relationship blossom, then proceed without the pressure of stressing about the future. Yet, knowing that my fertility doesn't depend on the pace I want to take things in my relationships, when my OB-GYN reminded me during my last annual that I needed to stop procrastinating on freezing my eggs. I recall her scolding me in her own endearing way, "If you're not going to get knocked up, you need to freeze your eggs," and I knew she was right so in July, I started the process.
What You Should Know About Egg Freezing
More than likely, you've heard of one freezing their eggs freezing being mentioned casually, but many do not know what it really entails. Having just completed my retrieval stage, here are some things I learned about the process:
Freezing your eggs does not guarantee a baby.
While the success rate has been improving, outcomes will vary depending on age, genetics, reproductive history, and other lifestyle factors.
Your initial tests help your doctor assess if you may be a good candidate for egg freezing. After the initial consultation, you will go through robust testing of your fertility factors, reproductive health, STI status and genetics (if selected). You will learn numbers such as your AMH, FSH, and thyroid levels, etc. The results of these tests will help the doctor assess if you should continue with the process, and if so, which medications you will need. I opted for the full panel of tests, including genetic testing and in doing so, I learned more about my body than I ever thought possible. I was tested for every disease and genetic condition imaginable, most I had never heard of.
Freezing your eggs does not deplete your egg supply.
Your normal reproductive cycle won't be affected because only the eggs that will be "lost" anyway through the natural process will be captured. You will continue to have your cycle as normal.
Start the process when you feel most comfortable, but 'the earlier the better'.
On average, 25-year-old eggs are better than 30-year-old eggs and 30-year-old eggs are better than 35-year-old eggs, etc. If you're wondering when is the best time to freeze your eggs, the general rule is now.
Egg retrieval is the first stage of IVF.
In a full IVF cycle, after the oocytes are retrieved, sperm is used to create an embryo in vitro, and then the embryo is implanted. If you successfully freeze your eggs, and when you are ready to use them, you will conclude the second half of the IVF process.
It is not a quick process.
Durations vary, but it took about three months from the time I had my initial tests to the time I had surgery for the retrieval stage. While the injections themselves last 10–12 days, some tests leading up to it can only be done at certain times of the month.
Injections, injections, injections.
I almost changed my mind when I realized how many needles were involved because I am terrified of them. Brace yourself, there's a lot. There are frequent to daily blood draws to test hormone levels and then every night, I injected myself three times in my abdomen between 8–10 PM for 11 days.
My counter was filled with syringes, swabs and more.
You cannot travel for a period of time.
Throughout the three months, I was only able to squeeze in a week of work travel. As someone who loves to travel, my inability to do so felt suffocating. You have to visit the clinic frequently for blood tests and ultrasounds, hence the travel restriction.
Not everyone in your life will understand your decision.
If you are looking for unanimous support from friends and family, you might not get it. Some people may question your decision or even advise you to just "focus on finding a man instead". Expending your energy on trying to convince someone it is a good idea to freeze your eggs might be the wrong thing. As long as you (and your doctor) know why you're doing it, that's good enough.
That said, you will need support.
If you're a single, independent woman, you might be inclined to think you can do this entirely on your own, but it helps to have a support system, no matter how small. I was blessed to have the support of a couple loved ones and having them to talk to was invaluable. A great example was my best friend FaceTiming with me as I administered the injections the first day. I had called her in tears seriously doubting if I could do it, but she calmly cheered me on.
Even with support, the process will often feel long, lonely and emotional.
There is loneliness in the mere act of pricking yourself with needles every night and clinic visits every morning before the rooster crows. But also, due to the hormone injections, my estrogen level was incredibly high and I was very emotional. I felt proud about freezing my eggs but I also felt some sadness about having to do it at all. I'd cry when I'd see a baby, and even stayed off social media to avoid it. My normal routine was also completely thrown off track; one particularly tough morning, I got up at 4:30 AM to get to the clinic by 6 AM, but it was so packed that I was not seen till 7:30 AM, and I had an important 8 AM meeting with a 1+ hour commute.
I was so overwhelmed that as soon as I stepped into my car, I burst into tears. My weight was also out of control and I lost all the definition in my abs as my ovaries expanded. I had no desire to be social — I wanted to just stay home all day. But don't worry: This part only lasts for a few mentally and physically exhausting weeks.
The egg retrieval is a surgical procedure.
On your retrieval day, you will arrive at the clinic, be hooked onto an IV, then proceed to the operating room. A propofol-based anesthesia will be used to knock you out. Then the surgeon uses an ultrasound probe through your vagina to retrieve the eggs. You don't feel a thing. The surgery takes less than 30 minutes, but plan to be there for three hours. You must have someone accompany you as you will not be able to drive yourself home.
Give yourself time to recover.
Bravo, you made it! But your body just went through a lot. Take time off work if you need to and rest. It takes about a month for you to feel fully back to normal again. After my surgery, I still felt very bloated and had days of painful cramping. I was also nine pounds heavier, due to both the IV fluids and not being able to work out for weeks. You are advised to refrain from working out (or sex) for another 1–2 weeks.
You may need multiple cycles. Doctors advise freezing 6–10 eggs per live birth desired because when you are ready to use your eggs, some eggs may not survive thawing and some will not successfully fertilize into an embryo. Multiply this range by the number of kids you may want to have to get your suggested amount (e.g. 12–20 eggs for two). You will likely be unable to know if you will need more than one cycle until your first cycle is complete.
As women continue to strive towards full equity in every regard, and as the average marrying age increases, the rate of women choosing to freeze their eggs also continues to increase. In the past, egg freezing was thought to be a thing that women did so they can focus on their careers, but that is changing. A recent study found that 85% of women surveyed who had frozen their eggs said they did it because they had not yet found a person with whom to raise a family.
When I'm ready to start a family, I hope to conceive naturally but having my frozen eggs just in case makes me feel relieved, empowered, and less pressured in my dating.
If you're also considering freezing your eggs, I commend you on making this important decision. What you are about to embark on won't be easy, but if all works well, it will be worth it. Though you might feel overwhelmed, you are not alone. You are strong and amazing — you can do it!
Article originally published on Medium.
Featured image by Shutterstock
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Amber Riley Is In Her Element
Amber Riley has the type of laugh that sticks with you long after the raspy, rhythmic sounds have ceased. It punctuates her sentences sometimes, whether she’s giving a chuckle to denote the serious nature of something she just said or throwing her head back in rip-roarious laughter after a joke. She laughs as if she understands the fragility of each minute. She chooses laughter often with the understanding that future joy is not guaranteed.
Credit: Ally Green
The sound of her laughter is rivaled only by her singing voice, an emblem of the past and the future resilience of Black women stretched over a few octaves. On Fox’s Glee, her character Mercedes Jones was portrayed, perhaps unfairly, as the vocal duel to Rachel Berry (Lea Michele), offering rough, full-throated belts behind her co-star’s smooth, pristine vocals. Riley’s always been more than the singer who could deliver a finishing note, though.
Portraying Effie White, she displayed the dynamic emotions of a song such as “And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going” in Dreamgirls on London’s West End without buckling under the historic weight of her predecessors. With her instrument, John Mayer’s “Gravity” became a religious experience, a belted hymnal full of growls and churchy riffs. In her voice, Nicole Scherzinger once said she heard “the power of God.”
Credit: Ally Green
Riley’s voice has been a staple throughout pop culture for nearly 15 years now. Her tone has become so distinguishable that most viewers of Fox’s The Masked Singer recognized the multihyphenate even before it was revealed that she was Harp, the competition-winning, gold-masked figure with an actual harp strapped to her back.
Still, it wasn’t until recently that Riley began to feel like she’d found her voice. This sounds unbelievable. But she’s not referring to the one she uses on stage. She’s referencing the voice that speaks to who she is at her core. “Therapy kind of gave me the training to speak my mind,” the 37-year-old says. “It’s not something we’re taught, especially as Black women. I got so comfortable in [doing so], and I really want other people, especially Black women, to get more comfortable in that space.”
“Therapy kind of gave me the training to speak my mind. It’s not something we’re taught, especially as Black women."
If you ask Riley’s manager, Myisha Brooks, she’ll tell you the foundation of who the multihyphenate is hasn’t changed much since she was a kid growing up in Compton. “She is who she is from when I met her back when she was singing in the front of the church to back when she landed major roles in film and TV,” Brooks says. Time has allowed Riley to grow more comfortable, giving fans a more intimate glimpse into her life, including her mental health journey and the ins and outs of show business.
The actress/singer has been in therapy since 2019, although she suffered from depression and anxiety way before that. In a recent interview with Jason Lee, she recalls having suicidal ideation as a kid. By the time she started seeing a psychologist and taking antidepressants in her thirties, her body had become jittery, a physical reminder of the trauma stacked high inside her. “I was shaking in [my therapist’s] office,” she tells xoNecole. “My fight or flight was on such a high level. I was constantly in survival mode. My heart was beating fast all the time. All I did was sweat.”
There wasn’t just childhood trauma to account for. After auditioning for American Idol and being turned away by producers, Riley began working for Ikea and nearly missed her Glee audition because her car broke down on the highway while en route. Thankfully, Riley had been cast to play Mercedes Jones. American Idol had temporarily convinced her she wasn’t cut out for the entertainment industry, but this was validation that she was right where she belonged. Glee launched in 2009 with the promise of becoming Riley’s big break.
In some ways, it was. The show introduced Riley to millions of fans and catapulted her into major Hollywood circles. But in other ways, it became a reminder of the types of roles Black women, especially those who are plus-sized, are relegated to. Behind the scenes, Riley says she fought for her character "to have a voice" but eventually realized her efforts were useless. "It finally got to a point where I was like, this is not my moment. I'm not who they're choosing, and this is just going to have to be a job for me for now," she says. "And, that's okay because it pays my bills, I still get to be on television, I'm doing more than any other Black plus-sized women that I'm seeing right now on screen."
The actress can recognize now that she was navigating issues associated with trauma and low self-esteem at the time. She now knows that she's long had anxiety and depression and can recognize the ways in which she was triggered by how the cult-like following of the show conflicted with her individual, isolated experiences behind the scenes. But she was in her early '20s back then. She didn't yet have the language or the tools to process how she was feeling.
Riley says she eventually sought out medical intervention. "When you're in Hollywood, and you go to a doctor, they give you pills," she says, sharing a part of her story that she'd never revealed publicly before now. "[I was] on medication and developing a habit of medicating to numb, not understanding I was developing an addiction to something that's not fixing my problem. If anything, it's making it worse."
“[I was] on medication and developing a habit of medicating to numb, not understanding I was developing an addiction to something that’s not fixing my problem. If anything it’s making it worse.”
Credit: Ally Green
At one point, while in her dressing room on set, she rested her arm on a curling iron without realizing it. It wasn't until her makeup artist alerted her that she even realized her skin was burning. Once she noticed, she says she was "so zonked out on pills" that she barely reacted. Speaking today, she holds up her arm and motions towards a scar that remains from the incident. She sought help for her reliance on the pills, but it would still be years before she finally attended therapy.
This stress was only compounded by the trauma of growing up in poverty and the realities of being a "contract worker." "Imagine going from literally one week having to borrow a car to get to set to the next week being on a private jet to New York City," she says. After Glee ended, so did the rides on private planes. The fury of opportunities she expected to follow her appearance on the show failed to materialize. She wasn't even 30 yet, and she was already forced to consider if she'd hit her career peak.
. . .
We’re only four minutes into our Zoom call before Riley delivers her new adage to me. “My new mantra is ‘humility does not serve me.’ Humility does not serve Black women. The world works so hard to humble us anyway,” she says.
On this Thursday afternoon in April, the LA-based entertainer is seated inside her closet/dressing room wearing a cerulean blue tank top with matching shorts and eating hot wings. This current phase of healing hinges on balance. It’s about having discipline and consistency, but not at the risk of inflexibility. She was planning to head to the gym, for instance, but she’s still tired from the “exhausting” day before. Instead, she’s spent her day receiving a massage, eating some chicken wings, and planning to spend quality time with friends. “I’m not going to beat myself up for it. I’m not going to talk down to myself. I’m going to eat my chicken wings, and then tomorrow I’m [back] in the gym,” she says.
“My new mantra is ‘humility does not serve me.’ Humility does not serve Black women. The world works so hard to humble us anyway."
This is the balance with which she's been approaching much of her life these days. It's why she's worried less about whether or not people see her as someone who is humble. She'd rather be respected. "I think you should be a person that's easy to work with, but in the moments where I have to ruffle feathers and make waves, I'm not shying away from that anymore. You can do it in love, you don't have to be nasty about it, but I had to finally be comfortable with the fact that setting boundaries around my life – in whatever aspect, whether that's personal or business – people are not going to like it. Some people are not going to have nice things to say about you, and you gotta be okay with it," she says.
When Amber talks about the constant humbling of Black women in Hollywood, I think of the entertainers before her who have suffered from this. The brilliant, consistent, overqualified Black women who have spoken of having to fight for opportunities and fair pay. Aretha Franklin. Viola Davis. Tracee Ellis Ross. There's a long list of stars whose success hasn't mirrored their experiences behind the scenes.
Credit: Ally Green
If Black women outside of Hollywood are struggling to decrease the pay gap, so, too, are their wealthier, more famous peers.
Riley says there’s been progress in recent years, but only in small ways and for a limited group of people. “This business is exhausting. The goalpost is constantly moving, and sometimes it’s unfair,” she says. But, I have to say it’s the love that keeps you going.”
“There’s no way you can continue to be in this business and not love it, especially being a plus-sized Black woman,” she continues. “We’re still niche. We’re still not main characters.”
"There’s no way you can continue to be in this business and not love it, especially being a plus-sized Black woman. We’re still niche. We’re still not main characters.”
Last year, Riley starred alongside Raven Goodwin in the Lifetime thriller Single Black Female (a modern, diversified take on 1992’s Single White Female). It was more than a leading role for the actress, it also served as proof that someone who looks like her can front a successful project without it hinging on her identity. It showcased that the characters she portrays don’t “have to be about being a big girl. It can just be a regular story.”
Riley sees her work in music as an extension of her efforts to push past the rigid stereotypes in entertainment. Take her appearance on The Masked Singer, for instance. Riley said she decided to perform Mayer’s “Gravity” after being told she couldn’t sing it years earlier. “I wanted to do ‘Gravity’ on Glee. [I] was told no, because that’s not a song that Mercedes would do,” she says. “That was a full circle moment for me, doing that on that show and to hear what it is they had to say.”
As Scherzinger praised the “anointed” performance, a masked Riley began to cry, her chest heaving as she stood on stage, her eyes shielded from view. “You have to understand, I have really big names – casting directors, producers, show creators – that constantly tell me ‘I’m such a big fan. Your talent is unmatched.’ Hire me, then,” she says, reflecting on the moment.
Recently, she’s been in the studio working on original music, the follow-up to her independently-released debut EP, 2020’s Riley. The sequel to songs such as the anthemic “Big Girl Energy” and the reflective ballad “A Moment” on Riley, this new project hones in on the singer’s R&B roots with sensual grooves such as the tentatively titled “All Night.” “You said I wasn’t shit, turns out that I’m the shit. Then you called me a bitch, turns out that I’m that bitch. You said no one would want me, well you should call your homies,” she sings on the tentatively titled “Lately,” a cut about reflecting on a past relationship. From the forthcoming project, xoNecole received five potential tracks. Fans likely already know the strengths and contours of Riley’s vocals, but these new songs are her strongest, most confident offerings as an artist.
“I am so much more comfortable as a writer, and I know who I am as an artist now. I’m evolving as a human being, in general, so I’m way more vulnerable in my music. I’m way more willing to talk about whatever is on my mind. I don’t stop myself from saying what it is I want to say,” she says.
Credit: Ally Green
“Every era and alliteration of Amber, the baseline is ‘Big Girl Energy.’ That’s the name of her company,” her manager Brooks says, referencing the imprint through which Riley releases her music after getting out of a label deal several years ago. “It’s just what she stands for. She’s not just talking about size, it’s in all things. Whether it’s putting your big girl pants on and having to face a boardroom full of executives or sell yourself in front of a casting agent. It’s her trying to achieve the things she wants to do in life.”
Riley says she has big dreams beyond releasing this new music, too. She’d love to star in a rom-com with Winston Duke. She hasn't starred in a biopic yet, but she’d revel in the opportunity to portray Rosetta Tharpe on screen. She’s determined that her previous setbacks won’t stop her from dreaming big.
“I think one of my superpowers is resilience because, at the end of the day, I’m going to kick, scream, cry, cuss, be mad and disappointed, but I’m going to get up and risk having to deal with it all again. It’s worth it for the happy moments,” she says.
If Riley seems more comfortable and confident professionally, it’s because of the work she’s been doing in her personal life.
She’d previously spoken to xoNecole about becoming engaged to a man she discovered in a post on the site, but she called things off last year. For Valentine’s Day, she revealed her new boyfriend publicly. “I decided to post him on Valentine’s Day, partially because I was in the dog house. I got in trouble with him,” she says, half-joking before turning serious. “The breakup was never going to stop me from finding love. Or at least trying. I don’t owe anybody a happily ever after. People break up. It happens. When it was good, it was good. When it was bad, it was terrible, hunny. I had to get the fuck up out of there. You find happiness, and you enjoy it and work through it.”
Credit: Ally Green
"I don’t owe anybody a happily ever after. People break up. It happens. When it was good, it was good. When it was bad, it was terrible, hunny. I had to get the fuck up out of there. You find happiness and you enjoy it and work through it.”
With her ex, Riley was pretty outspoken about her relationship, even appearing in content for Netflix with him. This time around is different. She’s not hiding her boyfriend of eight months, but she’s more protective of him, especially because he’s a father and isn’t interested in becoming a public figure.
She’s traveling more, too. It’s a deliberate effort on her part to enjoy her money and reject the trauma she’s developed after experiencing poverty in her childhood. “I live in constant fear of being broke. I don’t think you ever don’t remember that trauma or move past that. Now I travel and I’m like, listen, if it goes, it goes. I’m not saying [to] be reckless, but I deserve to enjoy my hard work.”
After everything she’s been through, she certainly deserves to finally let loose a bit. “I have to have a life to live,” she says. “I’ve got to have a life worth fighting for.”
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Better Off Braless: The Benefits Of Not Wearing A Bra More Often
Somewhere between the start of the pandemic and entering the late stages of my 20s, bras become less and less of a priority.
Within that span of time, I, like most of the world, spent my days inhabiting my small bubble, staying in the house with loose-fitting loungewear, and being on Zoom calls that only required me to be presentable from the neck up. So as the demand to have my breasts at their perkiest form, so did my commitment to wearing bras.
The relationship that most women have with their bras is… well, complicated. While society has led us to believe that they’re required for us to be deemed as “ladylike” and “neat,” many of us find the garment to be a bothersome (and optional) accessory at best.
From underwires that poke and dig at our sides to push-ups that spill over, the argument in support of bras has begun to wane over the last few decades, with women of all cup sizes asking themselves if it’s better to just go braless.
Courtesy of Harper Wilde
“Many years ago, I ditched wired bras and opted for going braless out of a desire for freedom and celebrating natural human form,” multi-hyphenate Alyson Stoner tells xoNecole. The movement activist best known for their fly dance moves with the likes of Missy Elliott and on Step Up 2: The Streets, shares that when it comes to their bra selection, comfort is key. “As someone who enjoys moving their body, I found that I do want an underlayer that provides some support without interfering with comfort and mobility.”
A source of concern when choosing to go braless is whether or not the lack of support from a bra will, in turn, affect the firmness of one’s breast, resulting in early sagging. However, Sabrina Sahni, M.D., an oncologist at Mayo Clinic in Florida, shares that breast sagging is a result of age, not whether you’ve ditched your bras.
“Sagging breasts – also called ptosis – generally occurs due to chronic aging,” she tells xoNecole. “The breast is made up of a combination of glandular and fibrous tissue and fat tissue. Over time, the glandular tissue may become replaced with fattier tissue, and that can lead to more sagging. Wearing a bra or not wearing a bra ultimately does not change that.”
"Wearing a bra or not wearing a bra ultimately does not change that."
Women with heavier breasts may find that going braless may have its set of drawbacks, but Dr. Sahni says that you should always pay attention to your comfort levels since bras are a garment designed to support your back and correct your posture. “Those with heavier or larger breasts who choose to go braless may actually have worsening back/neck/shoulder pain,” she says. “Wearing a bra may allow them to correct their posture and help alleviate tension on those muscle groups.”
“Women with larger breasts may benefit from wearing a well-fitted, supportive bra as it may alleviate things like upper back pain or neck pain,” she shares.
Listening to your body is key when choosing whether you want to toss out your bras forever or just for a day. The beauty in a woman’s body is that it will tell us what we need to know before we even have to ask. There are common misconceptions about tighter bras being linked to causing health issues like breast cancer.
And while studies do show that Black women are “twice as likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer early when compared with Caucasian women,” the manifestation of this disease is predetermined by other varying factors.
“There are a lot of myths out there about going braless being better for breast cancer risk. It is completely false,” Dr. Sahni explains. “Whether or not you wear a bra does not have any bearing on your overall breast cancer risk. Ultimately, your risk is dependent on a variety of factors, including family history, your breast density, your lifestyle, and your reproductive history.”
If you’re looking for classic, weightless comfort that’s close to going braless, Alyson Stoner recommends Harper Wilde, a body-inclusive intimates brand on a mission to create a more comfortable world for womankind. They currently have a capsule collection with the intimates brand in partnership with their company, Movement Genius.
“Harper Wilde has been my go-to for years now because the materials are truly soothing on my sensitive skin, the amount of support feels like you're being gently hugged (not squeezed), and the styles are flattering and beautiful enough to wear as shirts or visible layers,” they say.
Courtesy of Harper Wilde
The brand offers super soft, breathable cotton fabric in their Triangle and Scoop Bralettes ($40 each) that will put the bliss and comfort back in your bosom.
Dr. Sahni says that choosing to opt out of bras or keep them close to your chest “truly depends on the individual” but it should be understood that “wearing or not wearing a bra won't significantly impact your overall health.”
“Ultimately, it comes down to comfort. There are some women with chronic breast pain where perhaps changing their bras to something more supportive and well-fitted may help,” she says. “Alternatively, some women find that going bra-less will alleviate their breast pain. I tell women that they should choose a bra that is comfortable for them, feels supportive, and one that they can wear regularly.”
So whether you choose to free the tatas or wear a bra that feels like it’s barely there, remember to listen to your body because ultimately, the choice is yours.
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