Three months into my life with my now-toddler, I was starting to feel like I had found my mama groove. We'd been nursing successfully for weeks, I'd mastered wearing him in our ring slings, and I was even managing to get a decent amount of sleep (thanks to co-sleeping and dream feeding). Then, after hosting a group of friends to meet the baby, someone tagged me in a photo and I noticed something weird. My hairline looked different: sparse and somewhat of an unusual shape than what I was used to. Instantly, thoughts every mom has when suffering postpartum hair loss began to flood my mind.
In hindsight, I suppose I should have seen it coming. I knew that pregnancy makes your hair grow faster and thicker, plus you lose less of it. So it makes sense that once you're not pregnant any longer, that extra hair would have to go somewhere. Still, since postpartum hair loss typically happens around three to six months after you give birth, it's easy to get lulled into thinking that maybe your lush pregnancy mane might just be your new normal. That's what happened to me, at least, and I felt so misled.
Fortunately, a few members of my long-distance and digital mom squad quickly filled me in on how to deal with it, and a fellow Black mama introduced me to the magic that is Jamaican black castor oil. I don't know if it works for folks without African hair textures, but it definitely helped us stem some of our breakage issues while our hair got back to its normal, non-pregnant state.
Because yes: things do get back to normal eventually. A few weeks later, at a friend's wedding, I was tagged in another photo. While the rest of me looked a little silly (I blame the cupcakes and sangria), my hairline looked intact. Phew. Fear not, new mamas: while some things in your life may never be the same again, your hair probably will be. However, until that day comes, you're totally normal if you find yourself thinking the following things:
At first you wonder if you're imagining things. You question if your edges really looking more sparse and if you're really seeing more hair in your comb/brush/after showering, or if you're just being your own worst critic (once again).
“This Can’t Be Happening”
Once the evidence starts piling up — literally, usually in your bathroom drains -— you feel rising denial mixed with indignation. “No way. This cannot be a thing.”
“Nobody Told Me About This”
In the hail of unsolicited advice, horror stories, and all the other nonsense people saw fit to share throughout my pregnancy, somehow everyone managed to leave this glorious bit out. What gives?
“This Is So Unfair”
"I guess we can add 'random hair loss' to the list of things that are super unfair about this whole postpartum period, right after 'everything.'”
“Cause I Wasn't Feeling Crummy Enough Already…”
"Dammit, motherhood. It wasn't bad enough that you took my tummy, now you're coming for my edges, too? Heartless."
“When Will It Come Back?”
"'Cause this has to be temporary, right? Or are all the other moms I know secretly wearing wigs?"
“Am I Some Kind Of Alien?”
If you gave me nothing but unnamed internet users' partial Google searches, I could probably identify which came from the new moms based on the frequency of questions beginning with, “Am I the only one who” and, "Is [thing] normal?"
“OMG, If This Baby Pulls My Hair One More Time…”
"I swear, it's like this kid is actively trying to snatch the few strands of hair my hormones left behind. What is even happening in my life right now?"
“Look How Cute I Used To Be!”
Timehop and Facebook memories seem to taunt you when you're dealing with postpartum hair loss (and postpartum body image blues, in general). Every time you see an old photo of yourself, you can't help but feel a little wistful.
“Fine. Whatever. Camouflage Styles, Here I Come.”
Acceptance. You start looking for headbands or wraps that match your favorite leggings (because of course), and Pinning hairdos that maximize what you have left. Cause ain't nobody got time to wallow in hair grief; baby is making sure if that.
“Where Were You, Fellow Mom, Months Ago?”
Finally, you meet moms who bless you with the best words in the English language: “Me, too.” You're simultaneously mad you didn't know this sooner, and relieved you're not alone and that there are people who will share their own postpartum hair loss stories, because #solidarity.
“I Guess That's Worth A Try”
Hands down, the best part of meeting the “Been There, Done That” moms is definitely all the tips, tricks, and warnings they have to share. You're willing to try anything at this point, so you soak up all the knowledge they generously offer.