Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

There are certain things about pregnancy and childbirth that you are aware of on a certain level, but that you cannot truly comprehend until you experience them. Some are profound, like the incredible serenity of nursing, or that magical bond you feel the first time you set eyes on your baby. Some are humbling, like the weird changes your body undergoes after you deliver or the out-of-control pre- and post-pregnancy hormones. And some are just odd and funny, like hair loss.

I was totally prepared for some postpartum hair loss. I'd read so much about women whose hair thinned drastically after they gave birth. I had steeled myself against freaking out over hair clogging my hairbrush and had planned out ways to wear my hair so any thin spots would be less obvious. What I wasn't prepared for was that my hair would look like its usual full self, and yet I would be leaving trails of hair everywhere I went.

Every time I wash my hair, I pull out clumps of hair as I scrub. And when I'm done, I clean out more clumps from the drain. Then when I comb it through, I rescue still more clumps from the comb. I end up throwing away a ball of hair roughly the size of a small gerbil every time I shower!

And yet, I still seem to travel in a small cloud of loose hair. I am constantly plucking hairs off my shoulders, detangling them from Ryan's fingers, brushing them off burp rags, pulling them out of Ryan's clothes. When I take a load of laundry out of the dryer, the lint trap is filled with auburn strands - and there are still long red hairs woven into every piece of clothing I take out.

If I could figure out how to save all these hairs, I could make myself a lovely wig. Or knit a sweater or two. I could make a diorama about gerbils in the desert and realistically represent an entire gerbil tribe. (Flock? Warren? Herd? Whatever a whole bunch of gerbils is called.) I could provide nesting materials for every robin in the county. I could weave it into rope. I even read an article about an idea that NASA was testing using human hair to absorb oil spills. (No, seriously. Check it out: NASA Tests Hair-Raising Technique to Clean Up Oil Spills)

But I think I'll settle for remembering to pull it out of the drain most of the time.

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