11 Emotional Stages Of Going Through Severe Postpartum Hair Loss
Pregnancy and childbirth wreak havoc on a person’s body. Hormones can cause extreme mood fluctuations, and contribute to pre- or post-natal depression. You might endure vaginal tearing or an episiotomy during birth. Your breasts might fill up with milk, or they might not produce milk at all. Your belly might jiggle more or develop stretch marks, and your ab muscles might disappear entirely. Then, of course, there’s the hair loss. Months after baby is born, you’ll likely experience these emotional stages while going through postpartum hair loss.
Of course, you’ll also be dealing with all the emotions that come with pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum life and the overwhelming responsibility that is taking care of another human being. Add the fact that you won't be sleeping ever again and, well, you're dealing with a lot. Postpartum life is certainly a time filled with a rollercoaster of emotions, and it gets worse when your hair loss is severe. No one wants to lose their hair, and when you’re (probably) already feeling less than dazzling — because what new mom, short of a celebrity, feels shiny and new in spit up-stained sweatpants? — it just makes the whole situation worse.
The goods news is, of course, you're not alone. Many of us have been there and we’re here to let you know that no matter what, you’ll be OK. Follow along and see if this more or less describes what your postpartum hair loss experience has been like as well. #Solidarity
Unless you’ve read all the baby books or are a medical professional, your first reaction to this sudden hair loss will be complete confusion.
"Why is this happening?" you'll wonder as you pull large chunks of hair out of the shower drain or off your brush. You won’t know how to make heads or tails of it.
Next up: panic. You will instantly start to freak out about this recent turn of events. How much hair loss is too much? Will it stop soon? Can I make it stop? What if I go bald? What should I do?
Your brain will become inundated with an endless number of questions while your heart races every time you go to touch your head.
At this point, you might try to simply ignore your postpartum hair loss. After all, if no one else is mentioning it, maybe it’s not that bad? Or maybe it is. Either way, you’ve got enough to deal with and there’s just no time to add this to the mix. It’ll go away, right?
Scouring The Internet
Let’s face it: denial in the era of Google is tough. You want to ignore your problems, but then the urge to look up all your symptoms rears it's merciless head and you're powerless to fight against it. So you search, and research, and research some more.
Now is the time when you begin to purchase items to help your hair grow. Regrowing hair is incredibly difficult no matter what the cause of your hair loss, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t going to give it your all.
Vitamins, supplements, hair masks, special shampoos, and other treatments will slowly become part of your daily routine.
When you start trying to re-grow your hair, you’ll feel motivated. However, after a few days or weeks or even months, you'll undoubtedly become frustrated at the entire situation.
For one, you’re spending (possibly tons of) money on products that may or may not work — money that could be used for diapers, butt cream, or even a nanny. Even if you do begin seeing some results, no one will ever feel like it’s fast enough, or enough in general.
You will no doubt get depressed about your hair loss at some point. After all, it isn’t an easy thing to deal with. You will look at someone else's full head of hair with envy every time you step outside of your home, at the park, the supermarket, the mall, in traffic, and everywhere else. It will dig away at you, and it totally sucks.
After you’ve moped around enough, you’ll begin to learn to accept your current status in life. Maybe your hair is falling out in large clumps, or maybe it’s not as bad as you think. Regardless, you'll make (temporary) peace with your situation and try to stay positive, because that’s really all one can do.
Reaching Out For Help
While you may have begun to learn to accept your hair loss, you're probably (still) a little hesitant to discuss it with anyone else.
The thing is, though, depending on the amount and severity and length of the loss, it may be in your best interest to speak with a doctor about your situation. While the hair loss is most likely related to giving birth, it might also be indicative of another condition, like PCOS, and you’ll only find out if you take the time to speak with a medical professional.
During this time, you’ve gone from anger and confusion and sadness to acceptance and now, patience.
In this phase, you’ll finally understand that all those methods to potentially help strengthen your hair are not going to happen over night. You’ll stop obsessively checking your hair every three seconds and learn to let go.
Finally, you will learn to love your hair and yourself again. Dealing with hair loss can put anyone into a severely negative tailspin of thoughts and doubt. However, it doesn’t mean you have to stay in that downward spiral.
In fact, rather than continuously treating your hair for the loss, almost like an enemy, it might behoove you to spend a day pampering yourself and your scalp. Even if it isn’t a special hair re-growth product, you can just treat yourself in any way (maybe get a well-deserved scalp massage) in order to reconnect and remember once more that while hair loss can be a scary thing, your hair does not and will never define who you are.