What Losing All My Hair Taught Me About The Beauty Of Pregnancy
I was one of those women who had a blissful first trimester—no morning sickness and no fatigue, nothing but excitement for my first baby. But life as I knew it changed once I hit my second trimester, when I was diagnosed with a condition that has left me completely bald.
It started when I was about 14 weeks pregnant. After shampooing, I started to find huge clumps of hair clogging the shower drain. I’ve always had long, naturally curly hair, so losing strands wasn’t unusual and I initially brushed it off as no big deal. While curl-wanding my hair one day, my sister discovered two big bald spots—but still, I thought, “I can deal with this.” But when the thinning picked up speed, I started to worry. I was losing so much hair, it would fall onto the shower floor with a slap, like I had dropped a wet washcloth.
After a friend of mine confirmed this wasn’t simply “ a pregnancy thing” (in fact, they say hair gets thicker during pregnancy, not thinner), I made an appointment to see a dermatologist. The doctor diagnosed me with alopecia, a rare type of hair loss—affecting 1.7 percent of people in the US, according to the North American Hair Research Society—that occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks your hair follicles. It’s not caused by pregnancy but is sometimes triggered by it—and can be permanent. I left the doctor’s office with a prescription oil for my head and instructions to come back after I delivered so we could talk about how to encourage hair regrowth. In the meantime, I had to find a way to deal with losing my long, curly locks.
My husband and I had dated for 10 years, but we hadn’t even been married a year when this ordeal began. I worried that people would judge him for the way I looked. I started wrapping the fallen hair strands in toilet paper before putting them in the trash, because I didn’t want him to know how bad it was.
He knew, of course. Anyone could see that I was losing massive amounts of hair. I broke down one night and had a good cry on his shoulder. Together we decided we weren’t going to let this ruin my pregnancy experience. I was healthy. Our baby was healthy. I was simply losing my hair, and I had to accept it.
Of course, that’s easier said than done. By my third trimester, I realized I was going to lose…