After giving birth to my third and final child by cesarean section; I finally went home from the hospital after being there for seven days. I was so happy to be home so that I could finally sit in the shower and give my body and my hair a deep cleansing. I don’t know if I saw a ghost from hairs past but what I do know is a significant amount of my hair was falling from my scalp onto my shoulders and eventually on to the shower floor. I was horrified; I honestly could not believe my eyes but I figured maybe it was just a little shedding of dead hair that needed to make its exit from the beautiful and luxurious head of hair that I had grown accustomed to during pregnancy. After I eventually made my way out of the shower; towel dried my hair and began to comb through; there were hand-fulls of hair falling out with each stroke. “OMG, what is going on!!!” All I could do was cry. I looked at the amount of hair that was laying in my bathroom sink in complete disbelief. Still in pain from my c-section, I twisted my hair in two plaits, threw a silk bonnet on and laid down.
A few weeks had passed, my hair was still long but it was thinning dramatically. Strands of hair in my hand with each stroke and a back full of hair on my shirts when I undressed for the day. It wasn’t until a month postpartum that I was standing in the mirror brushing my teeth and noticed that my edges were completely gone. Gone; bald; baby bottom clean. The back of my hair had fallen out as well. The tears began to flow again. What is happening to me? No matter the supplements I took or the diet I ate, my hair was falling out at a rapid rate. I would move my hair to the front of my head so that people would not notice my bald sides. I was completely embarrassed and had no answers of how to fix this problem. When asked doctors what could I do to stop my hair loss the responses were “it could be the medication, it could be everything your body went through, or it could just be postpartum hair loss.” What ever the reason I just wanted my hair back. I just wanted somebody, anybody to help me, but I did not know where to get help for my situation.
It took some time but my edges finally began to grow back so I thought that if I had gotten a protective style and kept my hands out of my hair then maybe that would help all of my hair grow back. I decided to go and get crochet braids done by a professional. It was beautiful and it almost made me feel like myself again. I had never had crochet before, so I asked how long I could safely keep them in and I was told a month of more. I figured a month would be long enough and I would reduce the risk of damage by taking them out the earlier.
As I began to remove the crochet hair I could feel the texture of my hair was different, but I didn’t think too much of it. I just figured it was because of the oil she used on my hair. When I began to take the cornrows down my hair was falling out again. There were pieces that were matted together like dread locks. “You’ve got to be kidding me” is was I thought to myself. I stood in the mirror as I took them down, but I could not get the matted pieces to separate. No product I used would help with the separation. I called to talk to the braider to see if she could help me through this process, but she could offer no help.
When I got no help or answers from anyone as to how to stop this hair loss or to get my hair unmatted, I called and made
an appointment for a professional stylist to consult with and to unlock my hair but there was no hope. She told me that she had to cut it out. I sat in this woman’s salon and cried puddles of tears. I was completely beside myself; emotional and distraught. I eventually told her to just go ahead and do it. I closed my eyes and cried until it was all done. I could not believe what was happening.
The cut was finally complete, and I hated it. I hated it with a passion. Not because it looked bad but because I wasn’t ready to let it go. I know some may say its only hair, but it was my hair. I had lost so much giving birth it just seemed like I was losing something else. Your body changes, your life changes, all things I was prepared for but losing my hair never crossed my mind.
What had I done??? Did I really need to cut all of my hair off? I questioned myself and I questioned the stylist. Did she really know what she was doing, or did she just feel like cutting some hair that day? Why did I get those braids? I was all over the place. I had long hair for most of my life and I became accustomed to it. I had a short cut before but that was on my terms, by choice and not by force. I think when it was finally gone, I second guessed if another option was available to me. Could my hair have been saved? I will never know the answer to that question but what I do know is there are a number of products on the market to help with hair loss. As I grow my hair back, I will be more cautious with its care. I have begun to educate myself about hair care, vitamins, and diet. If I waited one more day, I probably could have figured something out. I was not ready to part ways with my hair, but I learned from it.
Contributing Mommi Bri