No one really warns you about it when you are pregnant or after the birth of your bundle of joy. Your body has already gone through so much that this one kind of just falls through the cracks- from the morning sickness in the first trimester to the happy glow of the second to the swollen face and feet and achy everything in the third. The fact that your hair will probably fall after all that is just not that… newsworthy? I still wish someone would have given me a little head’s up about that not-so-little-thing called postpartum shedding.
Postpartum shedding refers to the hair loss after pregnancy. I noticed my hair line was retreating (going for a walk, as my one friend put it) about two weeks after giving birth. I was finally getting into a routine with my son and could sneak a little time to take care of myself (read: look at myself in the mirror/sprint to a shower).
Picture my bewilderment when I ran my fingers through my hair and clumps came off in my fingers. I was shocked! This had never happened to me, ever! I prided myself in my thick lush hair. Add to that the fact that I had amazing growth during my pregnancy with my hair reaching bra strap length. Why this, why now?! No no, I refused to accept it. But like it or not, my postpartum struggle was real.
Why does postpartum shedding happen? On a normal day, about 85 to 95 per cent of the hair on our heads is growing while 5 to 15 per cent is in a resting stage. After the resting period this hair falls out-often while washing or brushing. During pregnancy, increased levels of estrogen prolong the growing stage. After birth, the estrogen levels take a tumble and a lot more follicles enter the resting stage. I am finding my peace in the fact that this is supposed to end 6 to 12 months after birth.
What can be done about the shedding? The good news is that a lot can be done, time ( and baby) permitting. I have loaded up on my castor & avocado koili butter which I now use every day as opposed to twice or thrice a week. The castor and coconut oils in it help to thicken and promote hair growth. While I am yet to try this, garlic shampoos and conditioners are supposedly good in preventing shedding, strengthening hair and repairing damage. I have also gone back to doing my apple cider vinegar rinses which are also known to help. I will share my journey with these in another post.
If all else fails, just remember it should be over by the time your little baba hits his/her first birthday. Maybe you could even both be sporting your happy koili afros together by then.
Peace, love and fros