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“Hair doesn’t define you”…

…or so they say.

I fell pregnant November 2015; no words could describe how happy I was but I was also afraid, afraid of the unknown and the lack of control over my body.  I was always one of those people who liked having control but that totally changes when you are growing a human life form.

My pregnancy wasn’t the easiest; from severe morning sickness for 21 weeks, pre-term labour risks and sciatica. At around 30 weeks I noticed my skin itching all over, on my stomach the most so I assumed it was because my skin was stretching.  It was just after that my head started to itch.  I visited my general practitioner who said it was just due to my hormones and gave me some cream.

Around 32 weeks I noticed every time I washed and brushed my hair, strands and strands filled my brush.  As you do, I googled my symptoms (good ol’ Dr Google) and found that it was normal to some lose hair whilst pregnant so I didn’t worry too much.  As the weeks went on more and more fell out; my brush was full, my pillow and clothes were covered and it started to feel lighter on my head.  I was sitting at my parents house when I mentioned my hair loss so my mum had a look at my hair. To my horror, she discovered I had developed bald patches.  I remember getting into bed that night and just bawling my eyes out.  My hair was such a big part of me, it was what “defined” me.  I had thick blonde wavy hair which I took great care of.  “This can’t be happening to me” I thought, “why me?!”.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, the week before I gave birth I washed my hair (something I grew to hate doing).  I washed it as normal and went to brush it out and blow dry it, my hair wouldn’t budge.  It was in two huge mats on my head.  I took a deep breath and tried to calm down, “It will be ok, stop stressing” I said to myself.  I tried to brush again, my heart was pounding and I was getting more and more distressed.  I looked in the mirror and burst into tears, it was like I knew it was the end of my hair.  I rang my mum who came over and tried to brush it out.  We tried dousing it in conditioner to loosen the mats.  Mum rang my hairdresser desperate for advice.  I knew deep down it wouldn’t be what I wanted to hear.  She said “You’re going to have to shave it”.  I was in such denial that I kept brushing; you could hear each strand snap as I brushed.  I don’t know what hit me but at that moment I just cracked and said “just cut it!”.  Both mum and I cut the two mats off.  My once long hair dropped to the floor.  Now I know “it’s just hair” but that hair was my life, my identity.

The following night my hair dresser shaved what I had left.  I just stared into the mirror at this “thing” with no hair.  That’s not me I thought, how can I go from having thick hair to nearly nothing!  No words can describe the feeling I had.  I hated what I saw in that mirror, it’s still hard to look at my reflection.

 

 

Return of my body/loss of definition

2016, what can I say? It has been a rough year for many by the sounds of it; the passing of many celebrities, Trump’s life goal to be a total douchebag and the war against humanity.

My 2016 was an interesting one, you know when you have something fabulous happen but then something that is a total pain in the left buttock??!! Well yep, that’s my year.  Spent the start of it with my head down the toilet, and no not because I had had one to many vodka’s but because I was expecting a small human. I spent many mornings with the heave-ho feeling and the occasional puke, the um and ah of whether I could actually drag myself out of bed without heaving all the way to work and then the I’m so f*cking hungry I could eat a whole horse.

Let’s just say pregnancy is not a delightful experience for me. I spent the first 21 weeks heaving every day, then the scare of going into pre-term labour at 27 weeks then the occasional bleed. F*ucking wonderful…not!

I spent most of my pregnancy shitting myself that something bad was going to happen.  Is this normal or am I a total mental case?

One thing about being a woman and experiencing pregnancy is that you have to let go and stop trying to control something you will never be able to control. I love being in control of myself and my own body and it was terrifying allowing myself to be controlled by something so foreign. Pregnancy has its own path and sometimes we just have to let it be.

This is how I treat my alopecia.  There are so many people looking for answers and cures but as it’s known currently, there are no cures. There may be temporary fixes for some but I have accepted it as it is and want to let nature take its course.  Of course I am still bitter and twisted about the whole scenario but why fight something I can’t control? Why waste my energy on something that may never fix itself. My energy is put forward through being a mother now, my daughter requires my energy. Yeah there are still nights where I cry my little heart out and wonder why it happened to me.

It’s only been 5 months, more like 500 million years like it seems like but it is what it is and I can’t change it. Life is a total lemon sucking bitch but there’s more to life than hair. It may not seem like it sometimes but there is. So to all my fellow alopecians, let those bald/patchy heads shine! We got this!

Even though my beautiful daughter was born in 2016, it can happily eff off! Here’s to a new beginning as a new me (cliché I know but hey!)

 

mea

 

People and their filters…or lack of 

Some people have no filter…and boy have I experienced it in the last few weeks.  

An older lady was what it thought “admiring” my baby daughter as elderly people do to babies but nope! She said to me “you might want to do something with her ears or she’ll end up needing an operation because they stick out” oh hell lady!? What did you just say. Luckily I am somewhat of a polite person in public and what she said took me back so much that I didn’t say anything back. Now that I actually think about what she said…there is plenty I could have said.  Best not to make a scene in the supermarket cafe right? 

Oh today was a goodie for alopecians…I had just finished my grocery shopping and went to put my trolley away when this older man said he’d take it for me because “You are in need of some luck because I assume you have cancer”. Once again, I was so taken back by the comment I just said “ah no i have alopecia and thanks” 

Yes he may have been being kind but really? I may not have had either cancer or alopecia, I may just have shaved my head for shits and giggles! But yes I have alopecia. 

As a person who has no hair I do have to endure the long hard stares of people and the odd comments but I guess that is to be expected because society can’t handle “difference”. If a person is of the larger build – people state, if a person is covered in tattoos and piercings – people stare or if a person is something out of the ordinary – people stare.  I guess it’s human nature but sometimes it’s best to use your filter!  

Goodnight ya’ll and Merry Christmas  (two sleeps!!)

Wrapping up 2016

So it’s nearly the end of 2016, what a roller-coaster of a year! It has been one of the best years of my life but also one of the worst.  

The best because my daughter was born! I now have a gorgeous being to share my life with.  I’m so excited to bring her up and watch her learn.  She’s already doing so much.  She can roll (started at 15 weeks), she talks lots and she’s now teething!

And the worst…well it’s kind of obvious, I lost my hair; my most prized possession. I still miss it like crazy and only long to one day maybe brush my own hair again. 

Next year is a new year so who knows what may happen.  People keep asking what I want for Christmas…hair…hair would be great. 

I’m not usually one to be excited about Christmas but this year I am. It’s my daughters first Christmas so guess who’s getting spoilt? 

Opportunities for Development

As someone who has recently lost all of their hair, my self-esteem has plummeted.  I could sit at home like a hermit crab and dwell on my problems but I choose not to.  I am also a mum and I am responsible for my child’s opportunities.  It is not all about me anymore.  Many people say “you take your child out all of the time”, “how do you cope?”.  I cope just fine.  My daughter may only be four months old but the opportunities of the world are endless if you are introduced to different things.  For the first six weeks of her life I was a bit different, as many parents are because that is when they are the most vulnerable health wise, they haven’t had their immunisations yet (if this is what you choose for your child, each to their own, but we won’t start that argument). After that vulnerable period I started taking my daughter to different places eg, the mall, for walks in the pram, people’s houses etc.  I want her to become familiar with different things early so it isn’t hard for her as she gets older.

At 11 weeks old we started Mums and Bubs yoga and around the same time we started the Pepe course.  It gives my daughter an opportunity to meet other babies and experience new things.  Each new experience is a chance for her to learn and develop. Of course, it must be scary for her as she only knows inside the womb the best (as that was her home for 9 months) but I will be with her every step of the way.

Just because my self esteem has been affected by alopecia and my looks have changed, why should my daughter miss out? I believe having my daughter has helped me cope with my alopecia in a big way.  I am forever grateful for her.

Children and Books

Sticking with the theme of learning about the child brain, one thing I have learnt is how important reading is.  It is important to start reading to your child from day one.  I grew up surrounded by books and I was read to everyday.  My mum is an avid reader and so is my nana.

A wise primary school teacher I once had said that reading to your child is one of the most important things you can do with them.  They say you should read one thousand books to your child by the time they go to school; it sounds like a lot but it isn’t really.  The more words a child understands when they start school, the more likely they are going to succeed.

One of the things I took from the Pepe course was the only things a child needs to know about a book when they get to school is they need to be able to identify a book, they need to understand it goes from left to right and that it is full of information and fun.

From day one I have introduced reading and books to my child.  I believe it is important for her to become familiar with them at a young age.  So far, so good; she does show a strong interest in them.  I try to read her one or two books a day, sometimes more depending on what we are doing.

Reading aloud helps children acquire early language skills. I speak to my child all of the time; I even describe what I am doing eg, when I am changing her.  I say that I am going to change her clothes or her nappy.  Even though at a young age they cannot understand you but it is important to talk to them as much as you can to make them feel safe and give them an opportunity to learn. “Reading aloud to young children is not only one of the best activities to stimulate language and cognitive skills; it also builds motivation, curiosity, and memory” Bardige, B. Talk to Me, Baby!(2009), Paul H Brookes Pub Co.

I want my child to have the best opportunities in life and that starts with me and how I parent.

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Reading at 7 weeks old

Empathy and Parenting…

A change in subject this week.  This week I want to talk about becoming a mum and learning new things everyday about my daughter.

There is nothing more fascinating than watching a beautiful, tiny human being grow and learn.  My daughter is four months old tomorrow and in that short time there has been so many changes.  She didn’t stay a “young baby” for long; you know when babies just sleep, eat and poop? Well she did just that in the first couple of weeks but it didn’t take her long to show her own little personality and become quite independent.

Not only do you learn about your child, you learn so many things about yourself. You learn patience, responsibility and a love you never knew existed until you have a child.  I have honestly surprised myself during this time.

Before she was born we attended antenatal classes so we were aware of what to expect. Now that she is here I have attended Pepe which is a course run through Plunket here in NZ. Throughout learning different things during this course it has made me realize that I am really interested in the baby/child brain.  A child’s first three years is the most crucial time in their brain development.

I have just started reading this book called “Born for Love” by Maia Szalavitz and Dr Bruce D. Perry.  Maia Szalavitz is a neuroscience journalist and Dr Perry is an American psychiatrist specializing in child trauma.

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Empathy Empathy can be defined as a person’s ability to recognize and share the emotions of another person.  It involves, first, seeing someone else’s situation from his perspective, and, second, sharing his emotions, including, if any, his distress. 

Sympathy – Sympathy is a feeling of care and concern for someone, often someone close, accompanied by a wish to see him better off or happier. However, sympathy, unlike empathy, does not involve a shared perspective or shared emotions


Source – psychologytoday.com

I haven’t managed to read a lot of it (you’ll understand if you have children) but what I have read is beyond interesting.  This book is focused on empathy and why it is crucial in life and essential to learn at a young age.  So far I have learnt that it was published back in 2010 and even back then there was concern that an increase of screens such as TV/iPads/mobile phones etc were “robbing children of necessary human contact and deep relationships”. Now that we are nearly in 2017 we know that technology has changed so much in this time.  “Screen time” is everywhere; majority of people use mobile phones, almost every household has a TV and now schools are requesting the pupils have their own iPads. Psychiatrists and scientists are concerned that the increased amount of technology will have an effect of the ability to learn empathy at a young age.  If a child is sat in front of a screen and isn’t given the adequate amount of human contact they need, they are not going to learn empathy therefore their brains won’t allow them to bond with others.

I want to learn and become familiar with the brain of a child so that I can understand the needs and wants of my child.  I intend to learn as much as I can by attending courses and reading relevant books on the subject.  For those that are interested in psychology and the human brain I thoroughly recommend this book.

Alternative Beauty 

So after all the talk of me being so called depressed and having post natal depression related to my hair situation I decided to see my doctor just to make sure I wasn’t. Sure enough, I am NOT depressed and I DON’T have post natal depression. Glad we got that sorted! 

Last night was the first night since having alopecia that I had the opportunity to dress up.  I decided to wear fake lashes; it’s been over a year since I used them regularly whilst performing burlesque. Oh the joys of having lush lashes even if I have to fake it! 

I did wear my wig to the party I attended though, not confident enough to go bald and plus it’s too cold for that! 

I hope one day that I will be confident enough to go bald, saves fluffing around with my wigs etc.

Oh hail the false lash!