When Laura Berman was diagnosed with HE2 breast cancer, she was more than a little worried about the prospect of walking around bald, until her family showed how supportive they could be during her time of distress.
Berman used to have long blonde hair, but with the introduction of chemotherapy, Berman writes in Everyday Health, she was forced to face the loss of her hair–something she considered to be part of her identity and professional image.
She wrote of the prospect that:
“I have never had my hair shorter than my shoulders, and I realized that my hair was partially a security blanket, offering me a wall of protection from the rest of the world. Without my hair, I would be stripped free of more than just hair: I would be more vulnerable and open than ever before.”
The Sun Times reports that, while Berman was more than a little bit nervous about the prospect of losing her hair, her husband, Sam, told her that he would shave his head in solidarity, a show of support for his wife. When her two youngest boys found out, they joined in, and the three held a shaving party two weeks before her hair fell out. As her husband stated, this way they would be able to welcome her to the bald club when it came time.
While Laura Berman was initially nervous about the loss of her hair, she writes:
“I didn’t want to be treated differently or to lose my identity just because I lost my hair; or be perceived as unattractive or offensive. I simply wanted to continue doing the job I love while being a mom and wife and enjoying my family. And, I am happy to report, that’s what happened. The world didn’t end because I went out without a wig or because I ‘dared’ go scarf-free on a hot day. People were not offended or rude about my baldness, and while some might have treated me with a little more tenderness and consideration, none of it came from a negative place.”
She noticed soon, however, that the more she “rocked” her bald look with “confidence and ease,” the more the people she interacted with recognized and accepted it. She wrote that:
“By choosing not to be a victim and by refusing to live in a place of fear, I have been empowered to take control of my treatment, my body, and yes, even my appearance.”
Although she does not complete her chemotherapy treatments until July 27th, Laura Berman hopes that, if she continues to share her story, as well as show off her confident baldness, she will be able to empower other women who are suffering from breast cancer, or another disease that takes away their hair, to be confident as well. Berman writes that:
“I wish more women could enjoy such simple pleasures, and more importantly, that they would be free of the constant burden of trying to fit a certain mold of femininity. There are so many different forms of beauty, but the truest one of all is confidence, and when that shines through, it doesn’t matter how long your hair is…or if you have any hair at all.
“I’m only proposing that cancer is a badge of honor, not of shame. It’s a struggle, but also a gift if you let it be. And as for the baldness? Remember that we are so much more than our appearance, and our value goes far beyond what people see on the outside every day.”
[Images courtesy of The Sun Times]