Hair loss. The sneaky post birth side effect you didn’t see coming.
Four months after squeezing a watermelon sized being out of my vagina, I naively believed my body was out of the woods from the ravaging effects of birth.
Stretch marks, bleeding, piles, rock hard painful boobs, stubbornly saggy tummy skin, exhaustion, to name just a few of the post birth joys I’ve learned to either overcome or embrace. Surprisingly, I wasn’t prepared for how much one of the least painful side effects would hit me. Hair loss.
I’ve had a lot of time to dwell on how much my body has changed since giving birth. I’ve wasted hours researching how to combat these post birth niggles. And what’s made it worse is that there’s never been anyone around to jolt me out of this vicious ‘Googling’ cycle when I’ve really needed it apart from my giggling, gurgling baby who doesn’t really give two hoots as to what I look like.
Most mornings I dread catching a glimpse of my naked body in the mirror. Throwing on any old clothes I try to focus on the wee sprog in his cot to distract myself from how down I feel about most of my body.
All isn’t lost. There’s at least one part of my body that I don’t feel down about. My hair. Long, brown and straight, admittedly it’s nothing special, but what it is, is predictable. Easily styled, it can pick me up when my clothes still don’t fit and my eyes are puffy from all those sleepless nights. My hair has remained a trusted friend throughout my blooming pregnancy and post birth ups and downs.
It’s true, after a while, the piles do heal, your tummy does show signs of abating and you realise that your stretch marks should proudly be worn as a badge of honour. As you hit this even keel – around the 4 month mark for me – BAM, I got hit hard with hair loss.
Imagine my horror, when one day in the shower, as I ran conditioner through the ends of my hair, it got tangled in my fingers and started falling out in clumps *SHIT*.
For fucks sake, I really don’t ask for much, to poo in peace and to have one long shower a week to shave and wash my hair and basically make myself feel human again while hubby looks after the sprog. The rest are snatched showers while listening to said sprog crying his eyes out. Anything but relaxing.
You quickly realise as a mum, that your alone time is special. Included in that are these sacred showers. How gutting then that my only real, relaxing alone time has became tainted with hair loss. Going from a real luxury, to something I dread is gutting. Another notch added to that ever increasing feeling of loss of identity post birth.
Admittedly, it’s not that noticeable to others, you wouldn’t look at me and think ‘fuck, she’s balding.’ No. Not at all. But, it’s like when you put on a little weight. You notice it and your close friends agree when asked (in that way only best friends can). It hits you hard and you get strange comfort in others saying “yes, I notice it, but you’ll be ok”. Husband only agreed when I shoved it under his nose, pulling back the parting to reveal a patch of regrowing wispy baby hair.
Putting aside that gurgling, giggling bundle of joy, the aftermath of birth is one big continuous adjustment. Each new day brings with it experiences and circumstances that are so far removed from your old life it’s hard to keep up.
And just when you think you’ve got it nailed, you’ve learned to cope with what birth and your new life throws at you, you get treated to the present of hair loss. Cheers.
Thankfully, one of the many joys of motherhood is the bond established with other new mums. Over a slice of cake (great to help plump out that pesky saggy tummy skin) I blurted out about the hair predicament and low and behold, every other woman on the table lifted their hair above the temples to reveal what can only be described as a semi buzz cut. Cue sighs of relief and yet another thing for us new mums to bond over.
So, pray tell, what other side effects will I suddenly encounter in a couple of months? Just so I can steel myself to what’s around the corner, while luxuriating in that ever-so-relaxing shower.