Admittedly, I’ve never had the best hair in the world – good hair days are a rarity. Often described as “thine” (that’s both thin AND fine, folks), it’s a bit here nor there. Not a nice curly, and not a nice straight – just a nondescript wave that means I’m a slave to the hair straighteners most days.
A helpful byproduct of my preggo hormonal changes was a faint glossy sheen to my tresses, and a marked reduction in moulting. This meant that, for about ten months, I had hair that could ALMOST be described as voluminous. I mean, look at it TWO DAYS after giving birth – the shine on it! I wasn’t even on Instagram then so this isn’t filtered, fancy that.
Then, while I was busy being up all night milking the beast and busy being up all day maintaining a house, the inevitable shedding phase took hold. Mainly in the hairline around my face, where it’s most obvious. Cheers nature. You giveth with one hand…
It’s a bit of a catch 22. If I don’t straighten my hair, the waves in it naturally reveal a hideously sparse hairline where my locks seem to actually curl AWAY from the point of recession, as if they’re trying to scarper back to safer shores lest they fall out too. If I straighten it, I can kind of style it all to conceal the thin patches, but straightening causes heat damage which is worse for my already dry hair and so….urgh.
Then, at the same point that one side of my head was shedding hairs, the other side started to regrow. Which is lovely, yes, but I’m actually not sure which is worse – hair on the wane, or tufty delicate baby hairs that just sprout on out and do their own thing. It seems as if this is a standard byproduct of the post-partum phase – quite simply, the body doesn’t know what the hell it’s doing from one day to the next.
So now, I have spartan sides but tiny strands of regrowth. Hence, all my selfies are slightly cropped and highly stylised, but if you look at the top left corner of this photo you’ll see my point.
Now, I’ve written before about how my husband has Alopecia, and not only that, he has the really shitty kind that has left him entirely hairless from top to toe. It’s been almost six years now since it all fell out, and we’ve been told by specialists that the longer “it” goes on for, the less likely it is that it’ll grow back. So, when I’m holding up fistfuls of my hair and demanding that he agrees with how dreadful it looks, I do have to swallow back some self-deprecation and remember that actually, my hair is ok. It just needs a bit of TLC and patience.
The good news is, I know I can actually improve the condition and look of my hair. I can smush avocados on it and dip the ends in almond oil, I can have it trimmed every 6 weeks to keep the ends from being all splitty, and I can invest in some better products for the “bed head” tousled look while it’s summer and I can get away with not wearing it poker straight. I can rub caffeinated lotions and potions into it, drink lots of water, and take Vitamin E supplements.
If I REALLY wanted to, I could look into surgical procedures such as a hair transplant. This new one, called Follicular Unit Extraction, takes hair follicles from a donor area and transplants them into the recipient area. We’re not talking a huge strip that resembles a mown lawn: hairs are extracted and inserted in groups of one to four strands, which mimics a natural growing pattern. The donor area is typically the back of the neck, which would be perfect for me as my hair there is remarkably lustrous! It reminds me of when I had a four month dalliance with hair extensions as a student, and when they all came out my hair was in incredible condition underneath. Who knew.
So yeah, we have options. In the meantime, I’m perfecting a strong eyebrow game and cultivating cute children to naturally detract attention away from my barnet. And whacking a colour on every two months because, in addition to everything else, it turns out that I have some super stealthy greys that want to gatecrash all the parties.
How about you, have babies and pregnancy changed your hair?
-SJW July 2017
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