'Bald Is Beautiful'

Last month was all about breast cancer... Posters and pink ribbons everywhere. Messages on Facebook.

Five years ago, one of my very young friends was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was just getting out from cancer #2... I mean, getting out of chemo #2. We talked a lot. She was very brave and recovered well.

A few months ago, she had great news to tell. She was pregnant. We all rejoiced. A new beginning after such a scare.

In September, she called me from Paris. Cancer was striking back and she was pregnant. Too early to give birth. Her oncologist decided to start chemo anyway. (This is how I learnt that far too many expectant mothers go through cancer and chemo during their pregnancy. So there are «special» chemos for them.)

I was worried of course. But my friend is a true fighter. She started chemo in France while her husband was working in a faraway country. Brave girl.

She called me not too long ago.

«Guess what? My hair has totally fallen out,» she said.

We had a good chuckle about it. Yes, I know it may sound strange... But this is the way we are. (And the topic of my post.)

«This means that your daughter will be more hairy than you when she’s born!» Now I feel really stupid of course... because I should have known better.

«Well, not really. She’s having chemo too, remember?» (Yes. For the past three months.)

My friend is a very pretty young woman with a beautiful and curly mane of hair. But I know she never felt bad when she lost her hair during chemo #1. She wanted so much to survive to care about it!

When they are told that cancer has struck (or worse - has struck back), most people kind of fall apart when they realize they may loose their hair, I know. And they should not. The problem is not theirs. It is in the eyes of the people they will meet.

Loosing your hair does not mean that you are sick. It means that you are fighting cancer with a treatment that is hopefully unkind towards cancer cells. Meanwhile your daily life and your physical appearance are quite disrupted. I’ve been through all this in one of my posts.

Today, I know that my friend’s daughter is about to be born. One hairless baby from one hairless mother. I also know that she will be one of the most beautiful babies I have ever seen.

Because you see, ‘Bald is beautiful.’ It may not be obvious to you but it can turn to be very beautiful when you fight such a dubious fight with all your strength, with all your heart.

I know that in our modern society, we tend to wish for perfection, physical perfection meaning for a lot of women having beautiful hair... besides long and thin legs! (By the way, do men really love to be bald?)

My friend’s baby will be unaturally hairless but so beautiful, I know.

Let me tell you a little story to help you understand how the problem of baldness from chemo or because of other health problems that cause alopecia only exists in your mind.

A while ago, French teenagers were asked to write a screenplay. It was a national competition. Its aim was to change the way we look at people with cancer.

The winners were 13 yrs old kids from the Junior High School of a very small town.

Here is a summary of their screenplay which became a one-reeler by Luc Besson.

It is quite cold and windy. Several mothers are watching their kids play in the public garden.

A young mother is holding a baby in her arms. She is wearing a silky scarf on her head.
The baby drops her pacifier. The mother bends down to pick it up. A gust of wind. Her scarf flies away.
She looks stricken but she cannot stand up to go get her scarf because the baby is crying now and she wants to calm her down.

The other women look away. They are obviously shocked and embarrassed.

A young girl is going down the slide. As soon as she is back on her feet, she runs to pick up the scarf.
She walks to the young mother.

«I found your hair,» she says with a huge smile on her face.

The young woman is hairless and looks deathly pale.

But she smiles at the little girl.
«Thank you so much, sweetie,» she says.
«You’re welcome,» the girl answers while she runs back to the slide.

All of a sudden, the other women start smiling too, looking relieved.

We then hear a voice: «Their hope lies in the way we look at them.»

This is the story that won first prize at the competition.

Do we need to wait until children set the example of what to do for us to change?

Yes, ‘Bald’ can be beautiful, my friends.

Welcome, welcome, dear baby girl to be born any second now! Your bald mother loves you so much and your father loves both of you, you hairless girls.

*Good Luck, and Good Night*

1 comment:

Patrick Layton said...

This is so great! Tell your friend that she is beautiful and her daughter will look even better!!!! (but that's because babies are really cute) You're both so brave and an example for all who know you. Thank you for everything Auntie Marie!