The Ugly Truth About Postpartum Hair Loss (And How to Fix It With This Best Kept Beauty Secret)
This guest post brought to you by Sophie Schillaci and can be found in its original form here.
It's a beautiful early morning in Los Angeles. I've just finished nursing my seven-month-old baby and am getting dressed and ready for work, where I'm already in the swing of things after three months back in the office post-maternity leave. I have a fresh haircut.
It's barely 8 a.m. on March 19, 2019 -- and I collapse into a sobbing puddle on my bathroom floor. This isn't postpartum depression, but something else that I was entirely unprepared for.
When my husband finds me there, he urges me to call in sick. But I don't call my direct boss. Instead, I dial another team manager... and one of the only other mothers in the office. She can hear my tears through the phone and asks if I'm OK.
This makes me blubber even more. "It's so dumb," I say, over and over. It's the only thing I can muster, with full self-awareness of how crazy I sound.
Postpartum hair loss wrecked me.
As a first time mother, I was prepared for weight gain, sagging breasts, and I knew the signs to watch for with postpartum depression. I wasn't particularly worried about "bouncing back" physically and happily bought myself a new wardrobe of staples in a size L instead of M. I went up two sizes in my jeans and celebrated because, hey, they weren't a maternity brand and they made me feel good! This new body continued to nourish my baby girl and I was determined to be kind to myself as I slowly healed and shrunk back down to my usual size.
But what in the world did my HAIR have to do with my BABY?!
I know the answer is hormones, but it felt wildly unjust. As my strands fell out by the fist full, all day long, I began to see a white, bald pattern emerge on my hairline. I asked my doctor whether my thyroid could be to blame, because SURELY this was not normal. In all the wisdom passed down from new mother to new mother, hair loss was just a minor mention. They never told me it would be LIKE THIS.
The one shred of vanity I had left came crumbling down and, you know what? Sometimes the only cure is a good old fashioned pity party.
So I cried and I cried. I allowed myself to feel really bad for a while... and then I moved on.
In the midst of my meltdown, knowing how painfully easy it is to write off our big feelings as moments of "crazy" or "overreaction," I had the thought to record myself.
I was determined to hold myself accountable for the very real emotions coursing through my body and to give myself permission to say, "You felt really bad. That's an OK thing to feel."
Having a daughter has been a beautiful gift in self reflection. She’s almost two now, and I tell her regularly that it’s OK to feel sad or mad or lost or scared. I am here to help her learn how to cope with these big feelings.
And for better it worse, I'm also here to be her first example of how we, as women, treat ourselves. Are we loving and gentle or harsh and critical?
In the months following Everly’s birth, I began making a conscious effort to be more kind to myself. To never speak negatively about my appearance, or anyone else’s. If I’m feeling down about myself, I won’t let her hear a word about it.
I'm not perfect. It’s a work in progress. But I’m trying every day.
To me, Everly is the most beautiful girl in the entire world. I want her to believe that, too. And not only on the outside, but also with the beauty of strength and kindness in her heart.
I'm speaking from my heart in a new video just posted to YouTube, sharing a portion of my meltdown but also the super easy beauty secret that increased my confidence so I could stop worrying about my bald spots and move on with motherhood.
Seriously, this hair hack is a GAME CHANGER and uses products you may already have in your makeup kit!
And when all else fails... wine helps. That manager I mentioned earlier? The mama in my office? Her response to my big feelings about hair loss was simple: "Ohhh, BEEN THERE!!! Do you need some wine?" It cut through the clutter in my mind and was just what I needed to hear.
Watch the video and please like and subscribe to my channel while you’re here!
I want to know what your biggest postpartum shock was?! Let’s chat in the comments.
This article contributed by Sophie Schillaci. Sophie is a seasoned entertainment journalist with a decade of experience in Hollywood across prestigious broadcast, digital and print platforms, including Entertainment Tonight, the Hollywood Reporter and more. After welcoming a daughter in 2018, Sophie created the motherhood lifestyle blog, Mom Needs Merlot, as a creative outlet and place of support for fellow new mamas. She welcomed a son in late March, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and is currently raising two under three. Follow the madness on Instagram.