Honestly, My Postpartum Hair Loss Made Me Feel Ugly
I feel like I got shafted a lot when it came to experiencing some of the magical moments that were supposedly going to happen during my pregnancy. People told me I'd be “glowing,” but mine wasn’t much of a glow — rather a constant sheen of sweat. People made it seem like I'd have "cute, funny little cravings," and maybe, from time to time, I'd be a bit nauseous. They were wrong. After inhaling entire sub sandwiches, not even five minutes later they'd be staring back at me from, well wherever I could run to fast enough: a bush, a tree, maybe the toilet. But the one thing about my pregnancy that did seem to have its perks, however, was the fact that I ended up with more hair than I could've ever imagined.
Although my hair wasn’t longer, it was thicker and shinier than it'd ever been before. I prematurely planned my “after-pregnancy” hair, thinking I’d grow it down to my butt, until the cruel reality that is hormone loss shut that idea down quick. A friend of mine looked at me funny as I told her my future hair plans and said, “Yeah, but you know your hair is going to fall out after you have the baby, don’t you?”
I've always been self conscious of my thin, straight hair. I remember back in high school when I cut off 12 inches off on a whim to donate it, and then promptly spent the next six months downing Biotin pills trying to get it to grow back. Much to my dismay, my friend was right about my hair falling out after I gave birth to my son. I looked at my hands in horror, chunks of hair coating my hands after a shower. I felt terrible because every time I’d change my baby's diaper I’d notice pieces of my hair had fallen out around him. There was hair on my bed, on my clothes, on my baby, in the shower, in the sink. It felt as if it would never stop falling out.
I noticed my hair falling out almost immediately, probably within the first week after I'd given birth. As it was happening, I had to keep reminding myself that my body was causing my hair to return to the state it was before I was pregnant. Losing my hair wasn't my fault or even the result of something I'd done. Truthfully, I didn’t even start thinking about how it was making me look because I'd been huddled up inside of my house for three months — until I went back to work.
So many things have happened to my body after giving birth to my son. I’m still not at a weight I feel comfortable with, I have stretch marks on my stomach, my legs, and my butt, and I have excess skin around my mid-section. My body just isn’t familiar to me and my postpartum hair loss was one more thing for me to contend with. One more thing about this body that makes me feel ugly and so unlike myself.
I've worked in restaurants for more than seven years, and the dress code has typically always been to wear your hair back. So when I returned to work after giving birth to my son, I'd get ready and notice that when I put my hair up into my beloved bun, I had all-new baby hairs growing out of huge, missing chunks on my hair line. I have a pretty pronounced widow's peak, which I've always felt gave the illusion of a receding hair line, so when I noticed these bald patches all over, I started to panic.
I felt like I should cover my hair up at all times. So I started wearing hats, beanies, and thick head bands to hide what was happening. I bought ridiculously expensive shampoos and conditioners, but the only thing they did was make my hair smell fantastic. When I got a haircut a few months after I gave birth, I apologized to my hair dresser for all of the hair that was falling out. She noted she saw it a lot with new moms, so I asked her if she had any advice, but she assured me it would stop, just like it had with her own hair. So many things have happened to my body after giving birth to my son. I’m still not at a weight I feel comfortable with, I have stretch marks on my stomach, my legs, and my butt, and I have excess skin around my mid-section. My body just isn’t familiar to me and my postpartum hair loss was one more thing for me to contend with. One more thing about this body that makes me feel ugly and so unlike myself.
Becoming a mom gave me newfound confidence in who I am as a person, but that newfound confidence doesn't take away from the fact I still worry about the bald patches and baby hairs around my face. As much as I don't want to, I do care about the way I look.
My friends and family were so polite about what was happening on top of my head. I made a comment about all of my bald spots and they said they hadn't noticed, but now that they were looking, they could see I'd definitely lost some hair around my natural hairline. One coworker mentioned my baby hairs, and even asked if I'd lost a lot of hair after the baby. I almost crawled away in embarrassment after telling her that I had. I tried to deflect away from the hair loss, dying it darker and styling it with a lot of side braids, but I still noticed. Becoming a mom gave me newfound confidence in who I am as a person, but that newfound confidence doesn't take away from the fact I still worry about the bald patches and baby hairs around my face. As much as I don't want to, I do care about the way I look.
I haven’t found a solution for my postpartum hair loss but thankfully I’ve noticed a definite decrease in my hair falling out in the last two months. The baby hairs on my hair line grow longer everyday, and on top of that I'm working on bettering myself and my body a little more each day. Being OK with the fact that my hair has significantly changed after giving birth is hard, but I've realized it's not impossible. I try not to freak out if my son yanks a good chunk of hair out of my head. I take daily vitamins, condition, and don’t shampoo too often. I do what I can to not feel so ugly when I look at my thinning hair. Putting things into perspective helps, and prioritizing my overall health and my son’s health is extremely important.