Thursday, April 7, 2011

Rapunzel post partum

About a month ago I noticed my hair line was receding and I panicked. It seemed like it happened over night and as the days progressed I realized most of the hair along my temples was thinning and falling out.  When I went to my loctician (a hair dresser who specializes in natural hair, in my case "dread"locs) and was received warmly by a chorus of "it's normal!" I at last felt some ease. 

Someone indicated that because I was nursing all the nutrients were going from me to Winnie and therefore if I just started taking my prenatal vitamins again (which I should have been doing all along) to replace the nutrients my hair would start to grow back.  Alas, I looked into this further and found that it’s not breastfeeding that causes hair loss but rather the rejuvenation of your hair loss/grow cycle to its normal levels post-partum.  During pregnancy your normal hair loss slows and once you are in the post-partum period as your body begins to transition back your head sheds all the hair that it otherwise would have normally during the period you were pregnant. Hence the scare mare of clogged shower drains, creative hair styles and fake outs women are reduced to as they weather the momentary "lightness".

Kelly Mom provides a great explanation here regarding hair loss and its non-relation to breastfeeding.  Also Baby Center enlightens us as to why hair starts shedding at the 4-6 month mark post-partum.

Once I realized what was actually happening I was able to calm down, regain my confidence and embrace it as another marker on the path to that place of wonders, Motherhood. While not the extreme that some experience due to cancer, alopecia etc. it's an opportunity to reflect on the idea, my idea of beauty and the attachment to hair.  In one of my prior posts I briefly mentioned that I am continuing to build my defintion of what it means to be a woman and hair is another feature on the list of what are now archaic defining markers of female from male.  Our society does put a great value mark on hair, all the commercials for hair loss treatments, volumizing shampoos, hair coloring and more is just the tip of the iceberg.  Hair for many is a security blanket, without it, many of us at least, would consider that an extreme transition to contemplate.  I've not lost all my hair but I lost enough to feel shaken and I am trying to reflect, see if there might be something to learn from it all and then move on the better for it.

It's not easy of course, to see yourself holding all hopes that the brink is no further away than the present and regrowth is soon to come but I say this as much to myself as to anyone out there also experiencing the will soon be over and we shall regain our full heads of hair (if you want) again!

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