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Friday, May 11, 2012

New Mother Hair

Perhaps like me, you've noticed that a lot of new moms get a short "mom" haircut. Many have speculated that it's just that the moms don't have time to fuss with their hairdo the way they did before having a kid or that they baby is busy grabbing the hair or something like that. I'm here to say that I only wish it were so simple.

What lots of folks don't know is that pregnancy and childbirth has a huge impact on your head of hair. First, during pregnancy, the hormone bath you're generating basically tells the hair on your head to stay put. So that daily set of strands you usually find in the hairbrush or the shower drain just isn't there. This leads to an utterly fabulous mane of thick, luxurious hair while you're pregnant. I for one was feeling unsexy and whale-like, and folks would say, "But your hair looks FABULOUS!" Yeah, great. Somehow it won't go with the little pinup girl outfit I wish I could wear right now, but thanks anyway. Also, at the time, all I could think was how I'd pay for these luscious locks later.

Payback is a bitch. About 3 months after giving birth, that long interrupted signal is turned back on and all those hairs that stayed extra long are now way overdue to commit suicide by leaping from your head, so they start doing it en masse like buffalo running off a cliff. Suddenly, there's hair EVERYWHERE. The bathroom floor is covered soon after it's swept. Erik has made adding Drano to the tub part of the weekly routine. Cleaning out the brush is now a near daily activity rather than a once in a while need. Those little hairs falling down your back and tickling under your shirt? Yeah, now it's several times a day, every day. My sweaters are constantly covered in strands of hair. I combat that by putting my hair up frequently, but it gets tiresome to have it strapped down all the time. The jab and pull of clips and pins haunts my scalp.

But the worst part is the fear of the hair tourniquet. One of the things new parents are warned about is that if you've checked everything else and your baby is still screaming and seems to be in pain, then check their fingers and toes for a piece of hair wrapped tightly round and cutting off the circulation. It hurts, and it's awfully hard to spot. So there you are nursing for say 20 minutes, and during that time, you've dropped maybe a dozen hairs. Athena routinely directs nursing with her hands like a conductor to the orchestra, waving her hand across my chest, over her head, and swooping around for big crescendos and slapping it down to her side before bringing it back up to gently press the breast and out again for the big finale. So those dozen hairs may well be wrapped around her hand. Or skittered down my back. Or in a pile on the floor. Or tucked amongst the folds of her clothes. No matter what, she has to be checked and checked to make sure it doesn't get around her hands or feet, or sucked down her throat for that matter. But sure enough, an hour later when it's time for a diaper change and I carry her off from her playmat or swing or whatnot, as often as not, I'll find one more hair lurking on her clothes or next to her or something. It's relentless. There's always an insidious hair waiting to ruin your day. And the longer the hair, the greater the risk.

I, like many new moms, have started contemplating whether it would just be better to shave my head. Or at least trim back to a little pixie cut. Or give up and go pony tail every day, all day for the next year or so.

I don't know what the answer is. Right now I just wish I could hurry up the whole process. After 3 weeks or so of extreme hair loss, my hair is getting pretty thin and my patience is even thinner. If I could just get back to the normal level of hair loss, it would be fine, but I'm just so very tired of living in a sea of my own shedding.

4 Comments:

  • Short hair rulez. As a lifelong practitioner, I can attest to how easy this is. I don't even use a comb anymore with my current haircut, and I've *never* needed to Draino the tub. When else will you have such a great excuse to try a radically new 'do?

    By Blogger Bandana Bob, at 12:49 PM  

  • Being a very long haired mother can be painful and I went through the shedding phase but promised myself I'd not cut it all off. That is the one thing that I hold onto as "me" and not mom. So for me, personally cutting my hair wasn't an option. Wish you luck :) If you aren't super attached to your hair, get a nice cut.

    By Blogger Laurie, at 1:25 PM  

  • My hair lives in a braid, but I know that's not your style.

    On the hair around the baby thing I wouldn't worry unless she's frequently upset without cause. From what I've heard it can cause discomfort, but not lasting harm, so I'd keep it on the check if she's fussing list, but wouldnt worry about de-hairing her all the time.

    By Blogger SarahJoshMom, at 10:04 PM  

  • My hair lives in a braid, but I know that's not your style.

    On the hair around the baby thing I wouldn't worry unless she's frequently upset without cause. From what I've heard it can cause discomfort, but not lasting harm, so I'd keep it on the check if she's fussing list, but wouldnt worry about de-hairing her all the time.

    By Blogger SarahJoshMom, at 10:04 PM  

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