8 Ways To Defend Your Postpartum Haircut When People Judge

by Alexis Barad-Cutler

The first postpartum haircut can be a rite of passage for many women. It’s the first time a new mom might give herself permission to tend to herself, and it can be an opportunity for her to claim the new "mom version" of herself. Sometimes the cut takes a more drastic turn than originally expected, or doesn't go as planned. Even if it is exactly what you wanted, people have a hard time accepting change. In the case that it is necessary, you'll need some ways to defend your drastic postpartum haircut, so I've got you covered with a few go-to responses.

By the time I got my first postpartum haircut, my hair was the longest it had ever been. Like a lot of new moms, I had a lot of hair growth throughout my pregnancy and I was totally loving life with my lustrous and long hair. I also had hoped that my long hair would balance out my enormous belly, and lend my rotund frame some "length" (OK, whatever, it made sense to me at the time).

After my baby was born, however, I was overwhelmed with this impulse to make some kind of drastic aesthetic change. I wanted to pierce something and I wanted another tattoo (but couldn't do either because I was breastfeeding). Next best thing? A brand new haircut. My dream was to have curl-free, beach-ready, wavy, platinum-blonde hair. I had no clue how this would be attained since I was born a curly brunette, but in a world where almost anything could be bought, from bigger lips to a rounder butt, I figured we could give it a go. When, instead, I became the not-so-proud owner of a dyed-red, lopsided curly mullet, I had to come to terms with the "new me" being different from what I had expected. And once I'd gotten over it, more or less, I had to face the next challenge: explaining my new haircut to everyone else.

You Thought It Might Help Distract People From Your Boobs

If you've been breastfeeding nonstop since your baby came into your life, your ample bosom may have become the (spoken or unspoken) focus of many a conversation. Sometimes, whether you like it or not, your boobs just start leaking apropos of nothing (OK fine, you heard a noise that sounded like a baby crying, even if it wasn't even yours or wasn't even a real baby) and again, people can't help but notice.

However, now there's a brand new, drastic haircut to come save the day and keep people's eyes locked on the situation happening from your neck up. See folks? Nothing to look at down there.

It's Important Your Hair Reflect The "New You"

Tell anyone who inquires about your new look, that you wanted to create a visual marker to the world that shows everyone that you have gone through some major changes and that you have survived, no, scratch that, have gotten even better from them.

(Even if that is completely not true and you feel slightly dead inside and haven't slept in so long that you've developed what you suspect is a permanent eye twitch from all those night feedings, you wants to look fierce. And different from the old you.)

You Needed To Show The World That Just Because You Are A Mom, Doesn't Mean You've Lost Your Cool Factor

But wait, did you just say "cool factor?" Let's pretend that was just some postpartum gas. Moving on. Just because you're a mom does not mean you cannot make spontaneous life decisions, like chopping off all of your hair into a bob, or dying your brown locks platinum, or going red, or doing as I did and getting your curls styled into an asymmetrical mullet-type cut then, a few weeks later, bleaching them beyond repair. Anything goes! The rules are there are no rules!

When I decided to go for a whole new look with my postpartum haircut, I had visions of walking out of my salon and being approached by multiple people asking me if I had considered modeling. To which I had planned on replying, "Oh me? Of course not. I'm so old. I mean, I'm a mom now." Then they'd look at me, jaws on the floor and be all, "You? A mom? How is that possible? I mean, look at your hair? It has such a cool factor!"

Insist That Your New Look Is Punk Rock, In A Lactating Woman Who Doesn't Give AF Kind Of Way

If anyone asks you, "Just what is this new look about?" you can tell them that, for one thing, it is not about pleasing anyone else but yourself. If they look at you strangely, trying to put your drastic haircut that defies all logic into the context of current celebrity culture tell them to just stop trying. You are an original. You don't follow trends. In fact, you start them.

If all that fails, you can warm them that you are about to start spurting a tiny stream of milk across the room if you don't stop standing here talking about your hair and start nursing your baby.

Confess That This Wasn't The Look You'd Originally Presented In Your Pinterest Board But You're Still Down With It

Eventually, you might get so worn down from all this explaining that you might have to confess that this drastic haircut may not have been the look you were originally going for when you first sat down in your stylist's chair. You may have come in with a slew of screen shots of your desired look, plus a whole Pinterest board, but with nary a glance your stylist may have informed you that while all of those styles were beautiful, the women in the pictures had stick-straight, mermaid-length platinum blonde hair. You, by contrast, have curly brown hair that unless the weather is zero humidity, hovers somewhere between Krusty The Clown and Curly Sue. And when your stylist saw your dejected face, he or she may have come up with a radical idea: a "couture" haircut, designed just for you. Something "edgy" and "fun."

I did not intend to look like a bass player in a forgotten '80s hair band. No, this was not my plan. But once the deed was done, I decided I needed to own it. "Oh, did you ask your guy to do that?" people asked, forcing smiles when they saw my big reveal. "Not exactly," I'd say. "But I think he did a fantastic job, don't you?"

Explain That, Hey, It's Just Hair

A bad postpartum haircut could be just the thing a mama needs to redirect her attention to someone who could use it: herself.

My drastic haircut wasn't the most fun to live through (ugh, every time I looked in the mirror I missed my long, symmetrical hair), but it made me look at myself in the mirror again and for that I am grateful. For a while after having my baby, I avoided my reflection and did as little as possible to focus on my body or my face or my hair. There was too much to do, and I didn't have time for that crap (or so I thought). And while I don't think it is vital that we get all "mirror, mirror" on ourselves post-baby, I think that some level of self-awareness is healthy. When I started looking at my face and my hair, I started making little changes (wearing mascara, putting a little more effort into styling my hair) that made me feel better about myself overall. What mama couldn't use good feels in those postpartum days?

Ask Why They Aren't Focusing On Your Baby Instead

If people are still bugging out about your stupid postpartum haircut tell them that there are far bigger things to be talking about. Like your insanely cute baby. Can we talk about the cute baby?

Even If The Results Weren't Ideal, You Actually Enjoyed The Thrilling Process Of It All

So maybe you had yourself a few good cries at night in the bathroom, over the end result of your drastic haircut, and the fact that you did not emerge from the salon with the fierce hair you'd been hoping to be. The decision to undergo a bold hair change was supposed to have a positive outcome and it feels unfair that the one thing you were supposed to have control over might have gone awry.

But then you think about how exciting it was, sitting in that chair watching the chunks of hair you hadn't had much time for anyway lately, fall to the ground around you. You liked waiting with anticipation as the color stung your scalp as you went from redhead to blonde. For a wondrous couple of hours, it had just been about you and your own beautiful transformation. It wasn't about your (gorgeous) baby, or your (wondrous) feminine body, or any of that jazz. It was just about the way you look, independent of your child, and that was pretty awesome.