Many people don’t talk about the aftermath of childbirth, and hair loss is not a popular postpartum topic. The medical term for post partum hair loss is called Telogen Effluvium, and according to Blackdoctors.org, 50 percent of women lose their hair after giving birth. As a young Black mother, I thought I had enough knowledge about pregnancy, childbirth and losing hair in a postpartum hair. I was wrong. After the birth of my child, I went through a period called the fourth trimester, which was characterized by severe loss of hair. The fourth trimester is not discussed, but it is a crucial period in a mother’s life after the birth of her baby. Here is the impact that the experience had on me.

After my Edges Were Gone, I Thought Something Was Wrong With Me

After giving birth, the edges of my hair started falling off, and in a matter of weeks, I was bald at the edges. The loss of hair immediately made me feel as though I was out of my element. Growing up in a culture that idolizes a woman’s hair as a big part of her beauty made me develop a peculiar relationship with my hair, and so when it started to randomly fall off, I panicked and began to feel as though there was something wrong with me. I spent the next few weeks trying to get every hair growth product to no avail.

Photo Credit: Ntsikelelo Radebe

I Realized That I Had To Look Out For Myself

My child birth journey made me realize that the medical system had failed me in many ways. For the majority of my pregnancy, I had to scramble for information relating to side effects of my pregnancy and what I needed to expect. After I complained about my hair loss to my medical team, my concerns were dismissed and the doctor told me that nothing was wrong with my hair. In that moment, I finally came around to the fact that medically, I would have to seek out knowledge and resources for myself and also reach out to other black women who had been in similar situations.

Photo Credit: Anna Shvets

I Felt Ugly

As women, a lot of our identity is often tied to how our hair looks. In many ways, our hair is seen as our crowning glory and defines us in society’s eyes. When my hair began to shed, the texture of my hair also became brittle and dry. It changed the way that I viewed myself, and made me feel visually unattractive.

Here’s How I Overcame It

I have come a long way since my hair loss days, and I was able to heal my edges and grow out my hair again. If you are in the same situation, here are some things that helped me:

  • I wore my hair in edge-friendly protective styles and twists.
  • I used a lot of moisture-preserving oils and products from brands like PATTERN.
  • I avoided hair products with paraben and alcohol in them.
  • I used a high-quality, silk bonnet every night to lock in the castor oil and shea butter that I had put in my hair overnight.
  • I invested in high-quality hair supplements and took them religiously.
  • I trusted the process, and tried to give it time. Hair regrowth is a long process, but it is worth the wait.
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