A heart of gold and incredible strength: that's Bénédicte!

Un cœur en or et une force incroyable : c'est Bénédicte !

Bénédicte is 31, soon to be 32, the mother of 3-year-old Théodore, and the person behind the Instagram account @be.n.family.

But Bénédicte is also one of our customers, and not only! She was selected among others to be an Elia lingerie model for a photo shoot. Indeed, we wanted to highlight the stories of our customers, with the idea that THEY are the best representatives of the brand and its values. We felt it was our duty to highlight all bodies, all morphologies, all these singular journeys and all these magnificent women.

So today, Bénédicte takes a look back, with a great deal of humor and perspective, at her journey as a woman, her illness, her motherhood, and what Elia lingerie has changed for her. Elia lingerie menstrual panties. But she also gives us a beautiful lesson in life.

What do you talk about on your Instagram account?

"I talk about my life in my words, with lots of words. I talk about things that are close to my heart, including my son's education, my relationship with illness, my son's relationship with illness, because it's important. About what we can bring to each other in our family, in fact."

What disease do you suffer from?

"I have psoriasis, so I have all forms. Myskin isaffected , so that's the most visible. My nails areaffected . My scalp is affected, as well as my tongue and joints."

How did it start?

"Following an emotional shock when I was 10, I started to get small patches on my chest and hands. We tried to make them go away, but maybe not in the right way. So it got worse, and the most difficult part was the scalp, because psoriasis produces a lot of scales. So it's true that it can be a bit off-putting to think "she's got dandruff, she's dirty", or things like that. Then, at the age of 25 or so, I had the most severe form, the one that attacks the joints. Knees to start with, then little by little the wrists, hands, ankles, toes, elbows, hips, cervicals."

Is it possible to cure Psoriasis?

"No, it's an incurable disease. It's an autoimmune disease: it's your cells that attack you. So we started with creams. So creams are applied to the skin, things like that. The problem was that I had so many plaques that I ended up being poisoned by cortisone. So after that we did UV. There are several types of UV: UV A, UV B, I did both. Both didn't work, I was losing my hair. And then I was given oral medication which didn't help at all, in fact it made things worse. So that's the normal course for someone who has cutaneous psoriasis at the beginning. And then for any joint psoriasis, you go and see a rheumatologist, who generally does cortisone infiltrations and punctures, as if there were synovial effusions or things like that, as in my case. After that it's biotherapies."

How are you feeling?

"It's true that the treatment has helped me a lot to accept my body, at least as far as the skin is concerned. After that, I think that the birth of my son was quite a saving grace, because he has, let's say, the eyes of love. He has the eyes of pure benevolence, there's no other word for it, because when he sees me, when he sees "my boo-boos", he says "oh Mum, I'm going to give you kisses, it's going to be all right".

I'm kissing you, it's going to be okay", or "Mom, I've kissed you, there's no more, it's gone". People who've seen him, who've been around him, have been able to feel: he's had a relationship with the body and beauty that's really...in fact the word "pure" is exactly that. He loves everyone, whether they're different or "normal". And for him, everyone's just love, and well, I'm a bit afraid of what's to come, but for the moment he's really just love for everything. And it's true that it's also enabled me to say to myself that, in fact, if I saw the world a little more like he does, it might be easier. Instagram has also enabled me to meet and talk to people who have suffered like me, who are hurting like I am. To realize that in the end, the hardest thing is the way we look at ourselves, more than other people, in fact."

Why break the psoriasis taboo?

"Someone once told me to 'talk about it', because it's something that affects me and is part of my daily life. And one day I just tried to show a bit of my daily life away from my son. A friend of mine said to me, "But listen, Bénédicte, your daily life is also your illness", and I said, "But my illness isn't Instagrammable, it's not beautiful, my illness hurts me and I don't want everyone to see that I'm in pain". The first time I posted, I got an outpouring of love from people I didn't know. And more than that, I've had people talk to me privately and say "Look, I'm sick like you, and I'm having a hard time with it". And I've had a lot of them, well a lot more than I thought I would. I remember when I was 15, I texted my best friend and said "Hey Caro, you've seen Britney Spears has psoriasis". And for me that day, I was a resta (star) in my own right. I told her I had the same disease as my idol. And it's true that I would have liked to know that it's a disease that a lot of people have, and I find that people actually talk about it in their everyday lives, but we don't see it. It's not something you're going to see. And when people talk about psoriasis, they all say "yes, you've got a little eczema there, a little patch there". I was 80% covered in eczema and I didn't feel very good about myself, but I've had a lot of nasty remarks and things that really hurt me. And it's true that, at that time, I would have liked to have seen people who actually said "There, I'm sick, it's not just a small plaque, or two or three things. Yes, it can take a huge toll on your life. It can be very debilitating in everyday life, but we get through it. We'll get through it, I promise.

How does your illness affect your work?

"Professionally, it's very difficult for me to get a job. I used to have a job I loved in a print shop. I'm an art director, but it's true that I haven't said that. When I do something, I give it my all and in my job it's been the same. The problem is that with my illness, I'm often tired. With the treatments, you have to be able to say you're not there for one or two days every 3 weeks. Or when you're in too much pain, not being at your best. Being a bit tired, things like that. So I think that in this day and age, finding a permanent job for a boss who can understand that illness - I'm still considered handicapped, even though it's not a word we like very much in France - is complicated."

And how did it affect your pregnancy?

"To have a child, there were things that were very difficult. The birth in particular. It's true that with the inflammations in the joints: for example, the epidural was placed on an inflammation, which normally isn't authorized, and it had the opposite effect, i.e. it put my upper back to sleep and not my lower back. So to give birth without an epidural, with a caesarean section, and without anaesthetic, that's it, I'm not drawing any pictures. After that, unfortunately, it's another illness that makes it difficult for me to have a child. I'm waiting for PCOSwhich is polycystic ovarian syndrome, which is also an inflammation of the ovaries.

Tell us about your periods

"So I don't live my periods, I suffer my periods, in the sense that the first symptom of polycystic ovaries is to have anarchic periods. I can have no period for 3 months, no period for 6 months, and then have my period for 3 consecutive months. I either look forward to them or dread them. I remember that the first time I had my period - so I had it young, I was in 5th grade - it was my aunt who explained to me about sanitary pads, tampons, things like that. And me, even now, I'm scared to death of tampons, and pads are nice, but you always have to carry some with you, and in the long run they're quite expensive. And finding pads that aren't full of chemicals or other nasty stuff is complicated. So menstrual pants were the perfect alternative for me. To have something clean, something that doesn't pollute the planet a billion percent. I also think Elia Lingerie's approach is really interesting and important. As someone with PCOS, we also talk aboutendometriosisIt's something I'm familiar with, and it's bound to touch me.

Any final words?

"My mantra is 'be beautiful and love yourself'. Be beautiful by being you, and learn about yourself as you are, and I think I say that to myself every day. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, we all have our ups and downs, but it's true that it's a phrase I like to hear myself say and that I repeat to my son every day: that he's beautiful and that loving yourself is the start of growing up well, in fact."

"My mantra to myself is 'be beautiful and love yourself'. Be beautiful by being yourself and learn to be yourself as you are, and I think I say that to myself every day. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, we all have our ups and downs, but it's true that it's a phrase I like to hear myself say and that I repeat to my son every day: that he's beautiful and that loving yourself is the start of growing up well, in fact."

"My mantra to myself is 'be beautiful and love yourself'. Be beautiful by being yourself and learn to be yourself as you are, and I think I say that to myself every day. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, we all have our ups and downs, but it's true that it's a phrase I like to hear myself say and that I repeat to my son every day: that he's beautiful and that loving yourself is the start of growing up well, in fact."

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The information contained in the articles on www-elia-lingerie.com is general information only. Although reviewed by health professionals, this information is not error-free, does not constitute health advice or consultation, and is not intended to provide a diagnosis or suggest a course of treatment. Under no circumstances may this information be used as a substitute for medical advice or consultation with a healthcare professional. If you have any questions, please consult your doctor.