I felt the need to write this for all the first timers out there.
You’ve survived the puking and general exhaustion of the first trimester; you’ve carried the (physical and emotional) weight of the third. You pushed a baby out of your vag; you survived the dark days of newborndom, and you’ve emerged on the other side as a mother.
Yas Queen. You did it. And now… your hair is fucking falling out and you’re about to lose your shit because HAVEN’T YOU BEEN THROUGH ENOUGH ALREADY GOD DAMMIT????
Fear not, sister-friend. You are not alone, and this is not permanent. Trust me, I’ve been there. Twice. In 2 years. And I’m actually going through it as we speak, which is why I felt inspired to write this for you… As a pledge of camaraderie. So here it is: THE SEVEN UNIVERSAL STAGES OF POSTPARTUM HAIR-LOSS.
STAGE ONE: PREGNANCY HAIR
Maybe you felt like Shamu. Perhaps you developed some crazy varicose veins or carpel tunnel syndrome. But my heavens, your hair flow was E-P-I-C. Thick, shiny, long. Everyone commented on it. Some told you it was the most luscious mane they’d ever seen; others tagged on a secondary comment about how you should really enjoy it now because it’s all going to fall out once the baby comes.
You said a silent prayer that a bird would shit on the head of anyone who would dare spray negativity all over your gorge tresses and then you went home to Google “Postpartum Hair Loss” (if that search led you here, then, Welcome!). And that brings us to stage 2…
STAGE TWO: RESEARCH
You thought this new and improved head of hair was the one perk of all this pregnancy bullshit (well, except for the precious baby you get once the 10 months is up, of course), but now you know that this blessing will be short lived… Your research will basically teach you this:
“Normally, about 85 to 95 percent of the hair on your head is growing and the other 5 to 15 percent is in a resting stage. After the resting period, this hair falls out — often while you’re brushing or shampooing it — and is replaced by new growth. An average woman sheds about 100 hairs a day.
During pregnancy, increased levels of estrogen prolong the growing stage. There are fewer hairs in the resting stage and fewer falling out each day, so you have thicker, more luxuriant tresses.
After you give birth, your estrogen levels take a tumble and a lot more hair follicles enter the resting stage. Soon you’ll have more hair coming out in the shower or on the brush. This unusual shedding will taper off and your hair will be back to its pre-pregnancy thickness about six to 12 months after you give birth.” – Babycenter
STAGE 3: DENIAL
Apparently some women’s hair does not get effected by fluctuating hormone levels. You convince yourself that you will be one of those women. Your thick, amazing hair is STAYING FOREVER and you don’t care what anyone says. Once your baby is 2 months old, you’ll see that your mane remains in tact and you’ll actually think you’ve escaped the massacre… enter STAGE 4…
STAGE 4: HORROR
One day, you’ll be taking a shower, washing your hair for the first time in maybe a week and as you’re rinsing out your conditioner, it will happen. Entire locks of hair will appear to just detach themselves from your scalp.
Your first thought will be “OMG the drain” (because you’re an adult now) so you’ll try to catch them as they swirl about the tub – scooping them up and plastering them on the wall, creating some crazy ass abstract hair art. You’ll cry because you’ll realize that the asshole who told you to enjoy it while it lasted was right. You are not the 1%. This is happening.
STAGE 5: BALD
Well, bald may be a bit of an overstatement.. But balding is pretty accurate. This is where I currently stand in my postpartum hair journey. In my case, the look du jour is a receding hairline, rivaling that of the Rebel Papa’s. Goodbye baby hairs, Goodbye normal hairs that lived adjacent to baby hairs.
If you’re like me, you’ll start slicking your hair down in ways you never did before (ahem, toothbrush and hairspray), you’ll experiment with new styles (exceptionally messy top knot), and you’ll bitch to your partner who will look you in the eye and tell you he honestly doesn’t see any difference in your hair whatsoever. You will cry. Because he’s either the dumbest guy in the world or the nicest guy in the world… and the idea that he’s either one of those 2 things (well, that combined with out-of-whack hormones) will cause you to burst into tears.
STAGE 6: REGROWTH
Just as you make peace with the baldness, you’ll look in the mirror one day and find that those hairs that fell out last month are now being replaced by their tiny, spiky counterparts! REGROWTH!! On one hand, you’re glad to see it, on the other, you’ve realized that the only thing worse than looking like you’re prematurely balding is looking like you’re wearing a frizz hairband.
STAGE 7: CHANGE
A change will do you good, mama. You’ll come to the realization that your hair isn’t the hair it once was, but you’re not the woman you once were, either. And why try to relive the glory days when you can embrace the present day?
Off to the hairdresser you’ll go. If your hairdresser knows you well, it’s more than likely that he’ll have been expecting you. Now is the time for fun – what’s it going to be? Blunt bangs? A bob? A “lob”? A pixie cut? The world is your oyster now and no matter what happens in that chair, know 2 things:
- Whether you are loving what’s happening North of your neck now or not, you just scored at least an hour of solo, self-love time. Cheers to that.
- It’s hair. It really is temporary. Soon the nightmare will be over – and once it’s all a far away memory, then YOU’LL be the asshole telling the full-haired preggo to enjoy that shit while it lasts.
Side note: I’m actually going to the hairdresser TODAY!! They called me yesterday to say they had a cancellation (unfortunately, good hairdressers tend to be busy hairdressers!), my mom agreed to babysit (Hallelujah!), and I’m finally going to get my hair sorted for the first time in (eek!) 7 months… For updates, follow the fun on @therebelmama Instagram and may the hair gods forever be on your side. x