“It’s just hair. It’ll grow back”.
I’ve always hated that phrase. Yes, it’s true. Yet, I hate it.
Growing up, I never fit the stereotypical depiction of pretty. I was chubby. Boys always categorized me as the friend, but never the girlfriend.
I struggled with self-confidence, especially in middle school, but there was one physical feature I had that I found to be beautiful: my hair. I’ve always had long, thick, wavy hair. Our relationship was a tad rocky before I was introduced to a hair straightener, but it always made me feel comfortable. I used it as a crutch, probably.
I still have an odd relationship with it, in the sense that when it gets too long, I’m ready to chop it off, but as soon as I’m sitting in the salon chair, I’m begging to only cut a teeny, tiny bit off. I don’t want to go so far as to say my hair was my identity, but I definitely identified with it, in a way.
Throughout my pregnancy, my hair flourished. It was shiny, thick, gorgeous. I had heard that pregnancy could do that, and thought that it would last even after giving birth.
I was wrong.
So, so wrong.
I had always shed a ton of hair, even before becoming pregnant, but this was a completely different animal altogether. I would brush my hair, and I removed Cousin It from the hairbrush. I had mild balding on the crown of my head. I even had to switch up my regular hairstyle, just to cover up the bald spots.
“What’s happening here”? I would ask myself.
I knew I signed up for a lot, but I wasn’t prepared for this. Naturally, I googled postpartum hair loss, just to find some small glimmer of hope that this would end soon.
I’m nearly 10 months postpartum and while the shedding has decreased slightly, it’s still hanging around.
Some of the bald spots have grown in again, but I have awkward, short hairs in the front of my head. I am fortunate that my hair is still thick, but I feel so much fear to brush my hair, knowing what will come out.
No two postpartum experiences look the same.
Some women get stretch marks, some women get diastasis recti, some have a permanently “squishy” tummy, some have a permanent smile on their bellies from a c-section, and some experience postpartum hair loss.
No one walks away from pregnancy unscathed.
While all of it is worth it in the end, it still can be quite difficult.
While pregnancy, labor and delivery play the lead roles, we cannot, and should not, neglect talking about postpartum. Sometimes, it’s a struggle.
We must stop putting postpartum in the corner. Our bodies go through immense changes throughout pregnancy. Just by talking about it, we are reducing the stigma. Nothing you experience is your fault. You are no less of a woman if your postpartum experience is far from easy.
Sure, our bodies heal. Our stitches dissolve. Our scars fade.
But, the healing process becomes so much easier if you share your experiences with others.
So please, check on your friends. Just check in with them. It may not be physical struggles they are dealing with, but mental or emotional.
Just a quick text can make a world of difference.
I am sharing my experience simply because I do not want women to think they are alone. You are never alone.
Yes, it is hair and it will grow back. I know I won’t experience this forever, but I am experiencing it now and it’s hard. Regardless of your postpartum experience, you are strong.
You will survive.
You are not alone.