Fourth Trimester Baldness Blues – or Browns
It’s happened before and it freaked me out then but I swore that in the aftermath of future pregnancies I would not be worried by the fact that I seem to be going bald. During pregnancy my hair grows thick and lush and beautiful and I feel great pride, as though I have anything to do with it. It’s like when your child sleeps through the night for the first time or your husband cleans up after your latest cooking fiasco without being asked. You feel proud of them but in a strange way proud of yourself for your connection to them. I feel proud of myself for my ability to grow such long strong and beautiful hair while I’m pregnant. I brush it a lot and let it sway behind me as I walk – that is when it’s not pulled back in a greasy ponytail because I feel like total hud. Anyway, at about 3 months post partum, it all starts falling out.
At first, it’s just a piece here and there and after a couple of weeks, handfuls of hair come out every time I wash it, brush it or run my fingers through it. I imagine it getting amazingly thin and I totally freak out. Really it’s just going back to normal but I become paranoid that it won’t stop falling out. This time for sure I must be going bald.
In a fit of drama two nights ago, I told my husband I was going to cut it all short. Men who are going bald should shave their heads rather than trying to comb it over or leave it clinging to their heads in long thin scraggly patches. I decided to do the same, not shave it exactly but not let it keep growing long and thin so that there were only three hairs together for the last couple of inches of my formerly glorious mane. He told me he’d support me if I wanted to cut it but also reminded me that we both like it better when I leave it long. I started to get all mad, “What is it with guys and long hair? It seems that most would rather have a girl with scraggly, nappy, split-ended long hair, than a healthy well-maintained short cut.”
This has always been a pet-peeve of mine. But I know he’s right about me in particular. My face is so round that I always regret it when I cut my hair short and immediately start growing it out again. The summer of “melon-head” comes to mind. It’s too painful so I won’t post a picture here. Anyway, I decide not to cut off what few piece remain on my head. Instead, following the advice of the latest beauty section of Parenting Magazine, I decide that because its fall I should dye my hair 2 shades darker than my natural color. I do not understand the reasoning behind this advice but do not question it, partly because these people are “experts” of some kind and say I should do it and partly because how fun is it to dye your hair in your bathtub every once in a while? Um…very…especially if you’re a freshman in college. And besides, it should be pretty cheap because I won’t need to buy much dye since I hardly have any hair left.
So I go to the grocery store and stand in front of rows of temporary same-ish looking brown dye (okay I’m a wimp who can’t commit to any beauty item long term. Don’t expect to see me with tattooed lipstick anytime soon.) The colors all look pretty much the same to me and since I’m much prettier than any of the models on the boxes, I figure I can make any of them work. As I’m about to pick up one of the “nut” series of browns, a store employee with the aforementioned 3 strands of remaining hair comes up to me and says, “Oh no. That shade’s too dark for you. I use -----nut. It’s much nicer.” Her hairs are sort of a non-descript brownish color and she looks nothing like the girls on the boxes so I’m skeptical about whether or not I can trust her opinion but she does work at the QFC so I pick the ---nut color in between her ---nut and my original ---nut choice. I take it home. I dye my hair, my bathtub, my sink, my hands and part of a bar of face soap a too dark color of brown. I don’t actually know if it’s too dark (What do they mean, two shades? What constitutes a shade? They should include a chart or something) but it’s all totally one color, no highlights or variations which I conclude makes me look like a witch.
It’s a month until Halloween and the dye is supposed to wash out after 28 washings so I’ve calculated that if I only shower every 3 or 4 days for the next month it will still be a witchy enough color to work well for my costume if there’s any of it left. If it continues to thin out at this rate, I can always go for the relief-society-one-inch-perm a half a century earlier than I had originally planned and dress up for Halloween as a grandma. Or maybe I should just get pregnant again and let my chia-pet hormones take over. So many options, so little hair.