Have you been following along with our #boobyluv interview series? Today we chat with Jessica Carter and hear her take on our breast questions. In case you’re behind on our interview series, we’ve linked to all of the interviews at the bottom of the post. Let’s meet Jessica!
Jessica Susan Carter is a board certified holistic health and life coach, massage therapist and women’s health advocate. She studied over one hundred dietary theories at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, holds a BFA from NYU and has been a reverent student of human behaviour all her life. She lost her mother to breast cancer when she was just 21 years old and for many years ran from the painful memories and her own fear of contracting the disease. But, several years ago she began to lean into it and is now dedicating her life to learning and sharing all she can about breast cancer prevention and healing. Her mission is to educate and inspire women, to break the cycle of fear and ignorance and to cause a chain reaction of empowered women taking a stand for their health. To learn more amazing tips and tools for breast cancer prevention and healing please visit www.BreastHealthWorldSummit.com.
It seems like everyone is aware of the pink ribbon campaign and breast cancer awareness activities that take place in October. The messages that proliferate are about coping with a diagnosis, finding a cure. We share a common interest in shifting that conversation to “prevention.” What does prevention mean to you?
Prevention, to me, means taking full responsibility for your health and your life. It means facing your fears and leaning into them. I used to be terrified of a breast cancer diagnosis and let my fear dictate my actions. I was so afraid of getting breast cancer that I couldn’t even look at it. I did nothing for prevention and took no responsibility for my own part. But when I finally began to face my fears, do my own research, and even find a doctor I trusted to partner with, my fears began to dissipate and I felt empowered and hopeful about the future. The truth is, I have no way of predicting the future and unfortunately, in the world we live in today, the odds seem to be stacked against us. But, at least now I have the knowledge and resources for conscious prevention and am doing everything in my power to stay healthy and strong.
And why are you passionate about breast health, and women living healthy vibrant lives?
For the last 9 months of her life, I was her primary caregiver. So, I watched, first hand, as breast cancer ate away at her life and took her from me. It was the most devastating experience of my life and also the most impactful. It shaped who I am today and how I view the world.
What’s interesting to me is that my mom was a total health nut. She ate fruits and veggies and exercised daily. But, I do believe that emotionally she fractured. She was often stressed out and suffered from insomnia. She didn’t have a solid community around her to support her through life.
So, what that’s shown me, as I look back almost 20 years now, is that it’s imperative to look at our lives as a whole. It is not enough to eat well and exercise, we have to be just as diligent about our emotional and spiritual lives. We cannot allow ourselves to suppress our dreams and desires. If we truly want to live vibrant, healthy lives, we must be brave and continuously express ourselves, love deeply, and cultivate true connections.
Too often we talk about breasts only in two (maybe three) contexts: female sexuality, usually as it is contained by male sexuality; and when something goes wrong with breast health – namely breast cancer (maybe we talk about breastfeeding, usually when it has been shunned publicly). Why do you think there is a silence around talking about breasts outside of these topics/angles?
The safest way to control the dangerous, foreign feminine is to label it and put it in a simple package. This is how we lose all of the nuance and complexity of femininity and get left with lingerie or nursing bras.
We believe that women are unsure of their breasts, and that for many women, their breasts are a source of fear. Perhaps pink ribbon campaigns are in part responsible for this fear, perhaps there is a fear of the sexuality of breasts, or of the power women can hold. Many women are not used to touching their breasts even. What is your opinion of our culture of breast fear?
I do think that the pink ribbon campaigns are a huge part of this problem because they do impart fear into the hearts of women everywhere. And what happens when we experience fear is that we want to fight or run away. For many women, our natural instinct is not to fight, but rather, to run. So we are in this cycle of fear and avoidance. Instead of inspiring women to wake up, take responsibility and really develop a loving relationship and awareness of their own body, these pink ribbon campaigns are scaring women away from their bodies and deeper into denial. Honestly, it breaks my heart.
Imagine yourself talking with a young girl about body image, body health and growing into a conscientious woman. What would you impart to the conversation of breasts?
How has breast health touched your life. In what personal ways are you invested in projects that raise awareness of breast health?
I am very devoted to sharing everything that I’ve learned about breast health with as many women as I can. Last year, I hosted the first annual Breast Health World Summit. In the summit I interviewed 18 of the most influential breast health experts in my life. They taught about the real dangers of mammograms, the real causes of breast cancer, how genes really play a role in breast cancer, natural prevention techniques and world-famous alternative cancer treatments. It was an incredible experience for me to be able to share their message with thousands of women around the world and also to hear how it literally changed hundreds of lives.
Leave us with a final word. When we say “breasts” you say:
Life! Let us all allow for our greatest fears and weaknesses to become our greatest strengths.
Read our past #boobyluv interviews:
Join us here in the coming weeks for more #boobyluv interviews.
I’m learning how to release the fear and love my breasts with the #boobyluv interview series.