Truth or Hair: Finding Time for Self-Care After Postpartum Hair Loss
Patrice Sosoo, mom of two, shares her story and lessons.
The postpartum period brings plenty of changes for new moms, especially in the case of postpartum hair loss and the realization that something as simple as thinning hair can affect such a core part of our identities. As a society, we tend to associate the postpartum period with sleepless nights, baby cuddles, and plenty of time and energy acclimating to our ever-changing bodies. For many women, the reality of postpartum hair loss is a surprise and it often affects their entrance into motherhood more than they expected. According to Penn Medicine, about half of all new moms experience postpartum hair loss, but those statistics don’t make this particular change any easier.
Postpartum Hair Loss: An Opportunity for Self Care
For Patrice Sosoo, mom of two, Senior Vice President of Brand & Innovation at Dotdash Meredith, and founder of women’s social club Little Gems, postpartum hair loss came as a surprise. While she had heard about the possibility of hair loss in the postpartum period, she says she was so busy getting everything ready for her babies that she didn’t prioritize her hair care or wellness.
Keeping up with all the changes pregnancy brings is challenging enough. By the time most moms begin to recover from birth and adjust to motherhood, postpartum hair loss has set in. Many moms begin to notice hair loss a few months after giving birth, often just as they are beginning to find their footing. And while many moms have spent their entire pregnancy preparing themselves for postpartum recovery and the changes their bodies will go through, hair loss is often the last thing they expect to deal with.
Dealing with hair loss while adjusting to motherhood was emotionally rough. I already had this monumental change in my life and now my hair, something that I’ve always was proud of was shedding.
“Dealing with hair loss while adjusting to motherhood was emotionally rough,” Sosoo shares. “I already had this monumental change in my life, and now my hair, something that I’ve always been proud of, was shedding. I completely lost my edges and, as a result, drove myself crazy trying to find hairstyles that wouldn’t call attention to my hairline. Additionally, the texture of my hair completely changed and never went back. I used to have tight coily hair, and now it’s a looser curl that doesn’t hold styles as well as before.”
I’ve turned taking better care of my hair into a weekly ritual that I look forward to because it’s me time.
Making time for the ritual of self-care as a new mother can feel almost impossible. For Sosoo, prioritizing hair care as self-care has become that weekly time she looks forward to.
“I used to take my hair for granted prior to having children. It was really thick and healthy, so I would try all sorts of hairstyles, cut it off, dye it different colors, and it would bounce right back,” Sosoo says. “Now, I have to be a lot more gentle with it and thoughtful about what I do. It’s more work, but I’ve turned taking better care of my hair into a weekly ritual that I look forward to because it’s my time.”
During this period of hair loss, Sosoo says she turned to braids, a low-maintenance hairstyle that kept her hands out of her hair and gave it a break from constant styling that led to breakage.
Sosoo also swears by the regular use of a deep conditioner, crediting high-moisture formulas with turning her hair around and helping to thicken it up again. Specifically “a reconstructive deep conditioner that helps repair and restore damaged hair.” Sosoo also says she has become diligent about getting trims every 3-4 months, as blunt cuts help her hair appear thicker.
Discovering Self-Care as a New Mom
Sosoo shares that she had no clue what self-care was until she had children. “For the first time in my life,” she says, “I had to thoughtfully divide up my time between my husband, my children, my job and my friends and family. Pre-kids, if I felt burnt out, all I had to do was sleep in late on the weekend, drag myself out of bed for a late brunch and then recharge with my friends for the rest of the day.
“After kids, there’s no sleeping in, there’s no bottomless mimosas unless you’ve secured a babysitter in advance, you’re just not as free. Therefore, I quickly learned that self-care was the only way I could be the best mother and wife and employee I wanted to be. My self-care was me setting enough boundaries that I was able to refill my cup whenever it got dangerously low.”
When asked what advice she would give to women struggling with self-care during the postpartum period, Sosoo suggests starting small. A 10-minute walk around the block or calling a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while can make a world of a difference. “You can build up to bigger and more time consuming self-care moments,” she says. “The goal is to just start. Start stealing back little moments of time just for you.
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