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Hormones & My Hair: A Reproductive Retrospective

Okay. We need to talk about something important. For once! We need to talk about my hair.

This topic is so intensely important, I felt compelled to create some illustrations. You know I'm serious when I bust out the stick figures and paintbrush tool, yo.

First, this was me (and my hair) back before I ever decided to have babies:

Hair-1

I mean, not that thin or out of proportion, but you get the idea. Stick-straight, fine hair that did very little besides sit there. It was very good at sitting. Also: hanging, limping, and flopping. I found it incredibly boring, and spent every other year wondering if "bangs would help," and then every other year in between THAT attempting to grow out my stupid bangs.

Then, I went on Clomid, fertility pill of the devil himself:

Hair-2

That shit made my hair curly. Suddenly, I had tons of natural wave and body.

Hair-3
Of course, I also had NO BABY and a raging case of major depression, panic disorder and OCD. So I had to stop taking the Clomid.

I still kind of miss That Hair, though.

A few months later, though, huzzah! I was pregnant. And sometime around the second trimester, I realized I stopped shedding hair, and even though it was still fine and stick-straight, I had a freaking shitload of it:

Hair-4

Our tub drains rejoiced as well.

Until I was about five or six weeks postpartum, when suddenly every non-shed-over-the-previous-nine-months hair decided to fall off my head simultaneously in giant-ass chunks.

The exact same thing happened when I got pregnant the second time. Lots and lots of hair.  Lots and lots of hair that saw no reason to stay confined to my head

Hair-5

Postpartum hairballs and a five o'clock shadow on your LEGS. I'd like to see MTV bring those topics up on a very special episode of 16 and Pregnant

Baby is born, hair falls the fuck out, everything once again returns to normal, which is boring, so I decided to dye my hair red:

Hair-6
Despite looking absolutely terrible in web-only color format, I like it. The semi-permanent dye agrees with my hair much better than the permanent blond highlights I used to get, so I sometimes even see a return to the days of the awesome Clomid waves. So when I got pregnant AGAIN, I was genuinely looking forward to how COMPLETELY AWESOME MY HAIR WAS GOING TO LOOK THIS TIME YAY.

Hair-7

But...this time, it's different. I still shed hair at my usual pre-pregnancy drain-clogging rate. 

Instead, my head has simply decided to grow more hair from scratch. This sounds good, right? Except do you know how long it takes to grow more hair from scratch?

Have you ever seen a Chia Pet?

Hair-8

Yes. That. Right there, is EXACTLY how I look right now. Six months' worth of new hair growth means I have a thick coat of three-inch freakazoid hairs sticking straight up and out all over my head. They will not lie flat, they will be tamed, they will NOT just sit there and stand by while The Man attempts to suppress their attempts to unionize. 

(On the plus side, my leg hair has all but stopped growing. I can shave about once every three weeks or so.)

(Don't be jealous, though, my eyebrows have decided to pick up the slack. If I stop paying attention to them, they quickly start creeping upwards towards my forehead, Donald-Trump-combover style.)

(Whatever. You can totally be jealous. Me and my bushy old-man eyebrows are totally used to it by now.)

But what I'm REALLY starting to wonder, though, is what will happen this time at that six-week postpartum hair-fall-out-ing point. Will the Chia Pet hair fall out? Or will I lose nothing but chunks of my PRE-EXISTING HAIR, and thus look something like this in about four or five months:

Hair-11
 

Moral of the story: I think I'm going to buy a wig. 

Comments

Kate

Good wigs are expensive. Hats are much cheaper and can be coordinated with outfits. Many many hats. I speak from experience.

Mo

Awesome. Hoping for more appearances of the stick Amy. She's a keeper.

Mo

Awesome. Hoping for more appearances of the stick Amy. She's a keeper.

Brandy

I get the 6-8 week fallout post-partum and the second time, I had my mother-in-law knit me a couple cute beanie hats. Otherwise...I just combed my 5 hairs and pretended like everything was fine while I died inside for the next 5 or 6 months.

Dawn K.

I hear turban wraps are popular for this coming year. I'm thinking about investing in some. I'm 10 months postpartum, and still haven't figured out what is happening on the top of my head.

Life of a Doctor's Wife

I think you should go bald. To show your solidarity with the baby. And Bruce Willis.

Suzanne

I got those crazy little hairs too, although mostly just right around my face. They showed up during my first pregnancy, grew about 2 1/2 inches, and have NEVER GROWN AGAIN. During my second pregnancy I just grew MORE of them. My hairline is growing towards my eyebrows at an alarming rate.

Suzanne

The visual aids are awesome!

I really hope it's the chia pet hair that decides to jump ship, because I wish I had hair like yours is in the non-pregnant state.

Kirsty

I'm with Suzanne on this one - I have naturally red hair and got the Chia pet hair thing after my first daughter was born (on 27 December (that's your birthday, right?) 2001). AND I STILL HAVE THEM. I have been going through a rough time in the last, oh, eternity (since my husband and his mental illness walked out on me last year) and haven't taken good care of myself in a while, so I now look like a redheaded witch with funny curly hairlets sticking out of my head at all kinds of angles. Totally untamable, never growing any longer, just there. All the time. Sorry if this depresses you - I have to say I only really bother about it when it's windy out (they stand out more)...

Stacie

I am 16 weeks pregnant and I have suddenly started to notice the chia pet hairs. At first I was concerned that they were broken hairs...but they are everywhere!
However, the slow growing leg hairs, they don't suck. :)

Carolyn

Oh my goodness, I just laughed so hard I cried a bit! I love the visual aids as well, but more than anything else, I love that (once again!) you seem to be the only place on the web where I go, "hey, that sounds like my experience, too!" I'm 9 months pregnant now with my first baby, and I had been eagerly anticipating the hair growth during pregnancy (even if I knew it would all fall out later, I was hoping it would at least be long enough for a ponytail by the time I went into labor!) Instead, my head hair has done NOTHING, but the hair on the rest of my body has just gone nuts! (Right now it's the fine hairs on my belly that are out of control. I am the epitome of sexy, what can I say?) Thank you for making me feel like I'm not alone in all of this craziness ;)

Smitty

Bless you for saying they won't "lie" flat. Seriously. The lay/lie thing makes me crazy, and this is the first time in a looooooong time that I've seen someone online get it right.

Also: what, no chin hairs? That you don't notice until they're so long that they could perhaps touch your lower lip? Just me, then? Crap.

Cora D

Thank you for addressing this very real pregnancy. My first pregnancy - stopped shedding completely, which was awesome. Second pregnancy - still shedding quite a bit and getting the little hairs of which you lament. Getting it cut today, worried what my pregnancy hormones will instruct my stylist to do.

Amanda

I'm 37 weeks pregnant with my second child and having hair issues too. Except it's my pubes. I've only ever had a normal thatch of hair there that required some lite maintenance. Now, I've got a bush from hell. I mean that shit is 5 inches long. What's more is that I CAN'T FRICKEN' REACH IT!! Meanwhile, my DH is like "hey babe, do you think you need to trim it?" like it's a damn poodle.

Dawn

Too. Freakin'. Funny. Mine didn't grow while pregnant it just hung around. Until the post-partum mass exodus. Why did it have to be my natural color hair that fled in terror? Why did only the grey hang around? CURSE YOU HAIR OF STEEL!

Chrissy

Amy,

I'm going to be one of those annoying people who it also happened to BUT alas I am still without a baby. HOWEVER!!! Last summer, I went through a really stressful period and my hair started falling out in clumps. I started taking a prenatal vitamin and all of my hair came back but I too was faced with all the new growth and lo my hair was frizzy. Two months ago, I went into my salon and my stylist asked if I'd ever had a Brazilian Blowout. It's only new on the market for about 6 months. I invested the money and MAN the frizz is gone and it lasts about the same time as a perm. I cannot tell you how happy I am and it's been about 8 weeks post and my hair still looks sleek, thick, and more importantly, FRIZZ FREE!!! Seriously, so worth the money. (P.S. It is NOT a perm)

Kate

Is it possible you're dealing with breakage, rather than new growth?

Also, Paint stick figures are awesome.

Chrissy

Oh and keep taking prenatal vitamins, if they don't make you sick you can take them even when you're not pregnant/trying to get pregnant.

Alicia

I really find that stick figures and diagrams help to convey stories that normally end with me saying "maybe you had to be there", and this yet again proves my theory. I feel like I went through that hair roller coaster with you thanks to Stick Figure Amy.

Kimm

This is so cute! Love the pictures! Everybody said I would have amazing hair when preg.- but not exactly- it grows long fast, but falls out just the same as before. I have kept up the highlights since the 1st trimester, just to have one part of me that I don't get depressed about when I look in a mirror.

Parsing Nonsense

Oh, postpartum parting gifts are so strange. My hair has a whole new part way over on the very side of my head and I can no longer wear a ponytail without a clump sticking up, which is tragic since I wear a ponytail every single day.

I can't wait to see what fun new terrors postpartum has for you this time around!

cindy w

Yeah, I also have the halo of new-growth hairs all over my head, and I hate them with a burning passion. Particularly the ones that stick out right around my hairline. You're not bangs, you stupid little rebel hairs! Lie down with your longer comrades!

Stacia

I read your blog every single day and you are beyond hilarious. I never commented before for no other reason than laziness. I read you in Google reader, which means I have to click the link to comment and well... I'm already side tracked cause the internet does that to me. Anyways I'm 20wks today with bebe no 2 and it's kinda fun to read your stuff and me following along. and OMG THE HAIR!!! The hair on my body grows at a shocking rate. It's disturbing really.

Also this is totally not to skeeve you out but I totally had a dream about you the other night. Fucking weird ass pregnancy dreams I tell you! It wasn't anything pervy just that you were talking to me about blogging. Random. I don't even know you!

Nicki

Yep I too am suffering the weird halo hair. It drives me crazy and just plain looks bad all the time. The one time it looked good I attacked my BF and made her take 100 photos of me just so I could stare at the one day my hair looked nice. Anyways, I am so scared because I am 30 weeks pregnant and lost so much of my hair between the postpartum hairloss and the stupid Mirena for BC, that I have nightmares about waking up bald.

AmyB

Hyperbole and a Half... eat your heart out! This was so funny!

Barbara

I have a bag of hair from when I got all of mine chopped of when my son turned 1.

I think it is approx 3 lbs of 1 1/2 foot long hanks of curly brown.

Jessica

Stick Amy is a keeper, that's for sure.

I have Chia-pet hair. I did not while pregnant (the first time) and at about 6 months pregnant I got the Chia-Pet hair. I'm pregnant again, and I still have Chia-Pet hair so I HOPE it goes back to what it was BEFORE (curly/wavy and perfect, honestly).

Angela

I call mine baby bangs. I hate them. love my babies though!

Erin

I have the weird chia pet hair too! I'm seriously hoping the rest doesn't all fall out after I pop out this kid. It's my first baby so I have NO IDEA what to expect on that front.

Erin

I have the weird chia pet hair too! I'm seriously hoping the rest doesn't all fall out after I pop out this kid. It's my first baby so I have NO IDEA what to expect on that front.

Erin

I have the weird chia pet hair too! I'm seriously hoping the rest doesn't all fall out after I pop out this kid. It's my first baby so I have NO IDEA what to expect on that front.

HolyMama!

ditto on the Brazilian blowout idea. AMAZING.

I was fascinated, because i bypassed all this hair drama with my pregnancies and had no idea. Incidentally, I always think of you as a blond and am surprised when i see current pics you post and there's the red. Pretty, it's just my brain that is years behind.

Leah

Pregnant with #2 at age 36 and I have no idea what to blame hair issues on--age, wintertime, what? About half my hair fell out when I was 30 or 31 (before baby #1), which sucked. A lot grew back with pregnancy #1, and some fell out again afterwards, although I experienced a net gain. Nowadays I have these long, hideous wisps at the back when I put my hair up. Not darling little curls but fine, limp hanks that won't stay put. With this pregnancy to get through, the post-preg fallout, and of course menopause on the far horizon (maybe I'll go bald at that point?), I don't think hair issues will be over until I die. So, needless to say, you're not alone.

lisa

When I was pregnant with my third I was more afraid of the hair falling out followed by sprigs sticking up all over the place cycle than I was of childbirth and sleeplessness combined. And then it never happened. I believe this is nature's way of making up for the fact that I will never, ever sleep a full night again. Maybe nature loves a third-time mother and you'll get to keep all of your hair too!

Katie

I totally got the chia pet hair too! The pseudo bangs were especially charming.

On one hand, it helped to have my hairstylist confirm that it wasn't breakage, and was a normal pregnancy thing.

I'm 9 months postpartum now, and reading this made me realize that I haven't had to do the "run hairspray coated hands over my hair thing" in a while. Not sure if they fell out or grew out--but I can provide this surefire ancedotal evidence that it goes away :)

Lauren

LOL. OK that was hilarious. You need way more MSPaint illustrations on your blog :D

I'm 4 months post partum and I'm STILL shedding hair like a dog. Gross.

Lawyerish

UGH. Around four months after my daughter was born, my hair started coming out in clumps. Now she's almost one and I have the horrid Chia pet regrowth. It looks RIDICULOUS. I have these crazy wispies all over my head and there is not a thing I can do to tame them. Thanks a lot, Mother Nature!

Angie

You make me laugh out loud. Really loud.
Love the illustrations.

~

Cindy

HAHAHAHAHAAAAAA! Thanks! I needed this after the day I just had!

Cindy

HAHAHAHAHAAAAAA! Thanks! I needed this after the day I just had!

Kate

A HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!

[sound of laughter crossing Atlantic from French Pyrenees]

Please, please, more of the stick Amy .... : )

sarah

Freaking hilarious! Great post!

Marilyn @ A Lot of Loves

Those little tiny 3-inch hairs are what I had with both pregnancies. And in my case they NEVER fell out. They are just growing all on their own but veerrrry slowly.

Starbuck

I'm too busy LMAO-ing to be concerned about your post-partum hair. not because I don't care but because the chia pet thing was just the best ever!

Marnie

When I was pregnant, my hair grew faster than normal, and didn't fall out at the same rate. And that went for my hair . . . everywhere. EVERYWHERE. I could have had braids down there.

E's Mommy

My kids are adopted so I've never been pregnant but I also have the chia hair problem. It started in high school and has been that way ever since. I use TIGI Bed Head Stick to smooth them down and it doesn't make them all stay down but it helps a lot. And it lasts forever. I've been using the same stick for a few years now.

jenn

this is now my third pregnancy but im hoping it results in a baby this time unlike the first 2 pregnancies. im only 26 and am noticing the grey hairs grow in fiercely. seriously i coloured my roots 2 wks ago and voila more greys about a couple inches long seem to be sprouting over night, lucky me :S

Chelsie

I've got enough hair for three people when I'm not pregnant. When I am, birds could nest in the stuff and not bother me. It's that damn thick. After I had my son, it started falling out in godforsaken HANDFULS. The shower floor constantly looked like I was farming pomeranians or something.

Madeline

Love stick figure Amy!

Suzy Q

Too fucking funny! The hairy legs? Bwah! Reminded me of a spider.

Katie

my legs look like that normally! maybe when I get pregnant they will slow down like yours? Something to look forward to, at any rate. :)

Tina

HAHAHAHAHA, omg, this is awesome.

I have had three babies. After each baby, I vow to grow out my bangs. They grow out nicely, only to have MAJOR spiky breakage in the front. Thus, having to cut the bangs again. Don't get me wrong, I am a big fan of bangs (if done right), but my husband hates 'em. Even if they look good. So, I do it for him.

jackie

I like the natural roots on the last stick figure. Great attention to detail :) My hair got progressivly (and seriously) darker with each pregnancy, but also thicker (don't hate me, there is also grey).

JDW

The chia-pet thing is what happened to me after shedding my first pregnancy's extra hair--it all fell out and then grew back at the same time. I had a little fringe right at my hairline in front that insisted on sticking STRAIGHT UP until it got over an inch long.

eva

My hair is also falling out like the "farming pomeranians" commenter above, and my baby (#2) is 4.5 months old. And I have chia pet hairs liek crazy. And dandruff. And a crazy amount of serious curl. ALL OF THESE ARE NEW THIS PREGNANCY. Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get.

Treeling

Oh, Amalah, I feel your pain. My baby is 9 months old, I've been breastfeeding that whole time, and as a result, I have a head of hair that is like a hormone ice core sample. The ends are straight, the middle is wavy, the roots are super curled. It's falling out in handfuls now that my repro system has kicked back in and at the same time, I have insane new growth (like you describe) all over. My favorite part? A toss up between all my brand new GREY hairs (never saw a single one prior to this pregnancy) and the new growth in the corners of my hairline that stick up so that I look like a great horned owl.

Hormones FTW.

Treeling

Oh, Amalah, I feel your pain. My baby is 9 months old, I've been breastfeeding that whole time, and as a result, I have a head of hair that is like a hormone ice core sample. The ends are straight, the middle is wavy, the roots are super curled. It's falling out in handfuls now that my repro system has kicked back in and at the same time, I have insane new growth (like you describe) all over. My favorite part? A toss up between all my brand new GREY hairs (never saw a single one prior to this pregnancy) and the new growth in the corners of my hairline that stick up so that I look like a great horned owl.

Hormones FTW.

Caroline in Hawai`i

When I was born I had orange Ronald McDonald hair. It calmed to a lovely strawberry blonde by my teens. I got pregnant in 1986 and went on maternity leave for six weeks. When I went back to work, everybody asked me if I'd dyed my hair. IN SIX WEEKS IT HAD TURNED MOUSE FUCKING BROWN.

True story. My condolences on your own pregnancy-induced hairanormal activity.

Meike

I'm 4 months postpartum and shedding like crazy. I don't really mind that much, it'll grow back in a few months like it did after my first pregnancy...
I'm just REALLY tired of that stupid ponytail by now! I don't really have a choice though; if I let my hair down, I will leave a fricking TRAIL. And picking hair out of the baby's mouth every 5 minutes is rather disgusting, too.
How come nobody tells you about that before getting pregnant? Right, because babies are so damn cute!

From Belgium

Since we appear to be 'hair-twins' I can safely predict that you will keep the crazy hair, it will keep on growing and that your hair will eventually go back to its normal boring self.

Christy S.

I never believed people who said their hair changed dramatically during pregnancy. Then I got pregnant. I used to have smooth, bright blonde hair. Now I have coarse (seriously, like a horse's tail), oily mousy brown hair that I force to stay blonde. I feel your hair pain.

Lauren

Maybe only the newest, chia pet hair will fall out this time?

ndcndc

After my first baby, my hair started to fall out en mass after about 4-5 months. I was sure I was super sick (a la cancer). But, now wiser after my second baby, I'm right there with ya on the baby hairs doing their own stand up comedy act. they laugh in the face of my hairspray! muwhahahah!

BB

Your description of how, postpartum, all your extra hair fell out at once reminded of how every year after Christmas, the needles all fall off the Christmas tree at once with seemingly no provocation whatsoever leaving only a bald tree and a mountain of pine needles underneath. GAAAAH!

Alison

Hahaha! I love the visuals particularly the hairy legs one!

I grew a chia pet fringe post-baby (it's now long enough to no longer qualify as chia pet thank God) and my normally super straight hair went funny wavy AND ONLY ON THE SIDES. This combined with said chia pet fringe did not make a yummy mummy. 13 months on and I'm starting to look somewhat normal finally! But wtf is with the white hair that appeared 6 months ago??

Kate

I miss pregnancy hair. My hairdresser refuses to cut someones hair when they're pregnant (it's bad luck in her culture) so the post baby hair loss of super long hair killed my vacuum. My hair also got darker for about 4 months starting about when I delivered before returning to its normal lighter shade so I have a weird 2 inch stripe. I've also gone from having stick straight hair to wavy hair which I'm starting to get used to but trying not to get attached to since we're currently trying for baby #2 and who knows what will happen next :)

Susan

I never noticed any change in my hair with baby #1, but I also have supershort hair - pretty much required by my tiny head and incredibly fine, limp hair. However, 5 months postpartum with baby #2, there is a snowstorm of loose hairs every time I blow dry - and I mean storm - the drier sends little hairs all over the bathroom and into the hallway. I'm just crossing my fingers that it will stop soon...

Oh, BTW - the Brazilian Blowout solutions have formaldehyde in them and the FDA suggests that might be bad for people and other living things...

Michele

Very informative. I dealt with the whole "new growth" thing, only mine came in mostly around my hairline, so if I pulled my hair back, all the little hairs would stick straight out at whomever I was talking to. Very disconcerting.

And while I've hit my mid-40's with hardly any gray hair on my head, I get silvery-white hairs in my eyebrows. What's up with that?

Sarah

My hair became wavy after my first pregnancy and stayed that way. It's not the "you're hair is so pretty all wavy like that". It's more like "WTF did you do to your hair"? It's like someone thought it would be cool to curl only one side of my head. I was hoping my second pregnancy (17 weeks now) would even my hair out. NOPE! still awkward half curled hair with the same hair frizzies you have. Lovely, isn't it?

Karen

Rusk Str8 straightening lotion. I have the same little hairs (right at my crown) and this stuff, lightly patted and smoothed on my dried, styled hair, helps a lot.

Meegan

Do NOT cut bangs while you are pregnant or anywhere NEAR your hair is in its falling-out stage. I did this. My stylist had to cut them from, like, the back of my freaking head to cover the fivehead that appeared while all the hair around the front of my face broke off at a length of about 1 inch. Do you have a visual? All the gorgeous, thick, wavy hair fell out. Then half my regular hair fell out. My normally fine hair that was "meh" became "omgwtf". I wore a lot of those thick fabric headbands. I prefer to pretend this period of my life never happened.

You're gonna be fine. And you know, you have the perfect hair for blogging. ;)

Paula/adhocmom

My hair got wavy and amazing . . .I allowed myself to think it would last. Baby came and could no longer tend to my amazing hair. I put it up every day after getting out of shower. One day something smelled mildwey. It was MY HAIR. Um, yeah, got it cut short after that.

Paula/adhocmom

My hair got wavy and amazing . . .I allowed myself to think it would last. Baby came and could no longer tend to my amazing hair. I put it up every day after getting out of shower. One day something smelled mildwey. It was MY HAIR. Um, yeah, got it cut short after that.

Kori Grumboski

I loved your post! My hair is in the Chia Pet phase right now and I'm nine and half months postpartum. Your post was so funny I laughed out loud when I read it. I also showed it to my mom and we were laughing so hard I cried. Thanks so much for the good laugh, I needed it!

Kori Grumboski

I loved your post! My hair is in the Chia Pet phase right now and I'm nine and half months postpartum. Your post was so funny I laughed out loud when I read it. I also showed it to my mom and we were laughing so hard I cried. Thanks so much for the good laugh, I needed it!

espy jane

Holy shit, I think this is one of the funniest things I've ever read!!!! And please believe the illustrations definitely aided. They rocked the story. Wow. Awesome sauce.

Della

You know what's the worst part about those new tiny hairs? That they are so absolutely spectacular, meaning "it's a spectacle", in person, but when you try and take a picture of it, people just go "....."
I finally went back and looked at some pictures of my own flyaways, which were located just in front of my ears (flyaway elf sideburns ftw!), and they even look boring to me now. But they were so WEIRD!

Ah well.

I think the WTF picture is totally me.

Rachael

You made me pee in my pants a little. I'm blaming the 6 months-pregnant-ness, but it's totally because I'm wondering the same thing this pregnancy. I'm going to rock the Chia-pet look here in another 3 months! LMAO!!!

cw

I especially love the first stick drawing w/ the roots.
CREATIVE!

cw

I especially love the first stick drawing w/ the roots.
CREATIVE!

TayMay

Commonly through pregnancy or when trying to get pregnant, women take special vitamins and stop during or after breast feeding. Folic acid, a B-vitamin in most if not all prenatal vitamins, along with the other stuff can definitely affect your hair. B-vitamins are good for hair/nails and stress. And yes, the hormones naturally affect your body. I have not had children yet. But when I started taking B-vitamins, my hair got fuller and got nice waves to it.

TayMay

Commonly through pregnancy or when trying to get pregnant, women take special vitamins and stop during or after breast feeding. Folic acid, a B-vitamin in most if not all prenatal vitamins, along with the other stuff can definitely affect your hair. B-vitamins are good for hair/nails and stress. And yes, the hormones naturally affect your body. I have not had children yet. But when I started taking B-vitamins, my hair got fuller and got nice waves to it.

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