My Experience With Hair Loss After Pregnancy (Photo Included)

Confession time, y’all.

About four months after Isla was born, I started losing my hair. I know, I know. Some of you out there are thinking – so did I! It was coming out in clumps! I wondered how I still had hair!

BUT YOU GUYS – I had some bald patches and majorly thinning hair. And here is the photo to prove it:

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Let’s rewind a bit. When I was about eight-months pregnant I went to my most amazing hair dresser Khirsten. She was raving about my pregnancy hair, and I’ll be honest, I was raving about it, too. My pre-pregnancy hair was very fine and a frizz-disaster. My pregnancy hair was lush, like a horses mane. While sitting in Khirsten’s chair she said, “I don’t want you to be alarmed, so I’m going to prep you now. You’re going to lose a lot of hair after pregnancy. A lot. And you might have some bald spots here, and here.” (pointing to the area right above both temples). The hairline above my temples isn’t the greatest. There is about a 2 inch span back to the crown of my head that is basically just baby hair. It’s been like that my whole life. Khirsten warned me that the baby hair would most likely grow more than it ever has (see below) and then probably fall out – but don’t worry, she said. It will come back!

Me and Khirsten the day she predicted my future.

Khirsten and me the day she predicted my future.

Well, I brushed that off (see what I did there). And after Isla arrived my hair was EVEN MORE AMAZING THAN PREGNANCY HAIR. I thought I had escaped the dreaded post-pregnancy hair loss. Instead of wrapping my ponytail holder around my hair four times, I was only wrapping it twice. I wasn’t seeing any signs of hair falling out. I figured I was golden. I even sent Khirsten a photo of my previous above the temple hair in all it’s glory.

Check out my amazing temple hair!

Hey Khirsten, look at my LONG baby hair! It’s so long that I can BRAID it!

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Here I am taking selfies with my baby. And my lush hair.

And just like that. It was all a dream. One day while showering I ran my fingers through my hair and about a handful of hair came out. I hadn’t washed my hair in a week – because you know – I had a four month old and finding time to wash my hair wasn’t easy. Since it had been a week and I had been wearing a luscious two wrapped ponytail the whole time, I figured the clump of hair was due to everything being trapped – no brushing. No nothing. But then another handful. And another. And so on. It got bad. REALLY BAD.

The hair loss got so bad that a few weeks later our super had to come and snake the shower drain. And snaking it wasn’t good enough. He had to use some sort of crazy vacuum to get all the hair out. I made sure that I collected all the loose hair, splashed it up against the shower wall, and then cleared it out later (and sometimes wrote love notes in hair on the wall to my husband), but alas. Hair was just constantly falling out. Hair was everywhere, all the time. There was nothing I could do about it.

Shower wall hair.

Shower wall hair.

And then one day when I went to pull my hair back in a ponytail I noticed two large almost-completely bald spots. Right above my temples. Right where Khirsten had said it would happen. Oh, and I was back to wrapping my ponytail holder around my hair 4 times.

For about a two month period I had to blow dry my hair and style it because I had to hide the bald spots for work (see my thoughts on this below). However, with my friends, I owned it. I would flip my head to the side and show them what was up. Because hey, this is shit no one tells you will most likely happen after you have a baby. Yea, we talk about hair shedding, but I didn’t hear about people actually having bald spots and majorly thinning hair.

Once the hair started growing back, there was a period of time it looked like I had that trendy hairdo where you shave the sides of your head – someone in the subway even complimented me on being bold and having that haircut.

This is not a trendy-partially-shaved hairdo. This is me about a month after hair loss.

This is not a trendy-partially-shaved hairdo. This is me about two months after hair loss.

I’m now about three months post-bald spots and I have a fuzzy coat of downy hair. And guess what – I’m owning it. Because here’s the deal – I don’t want any women out there to be dumbfounded, surprised, embarrassed, anxious or upset if this happens to them. It’s time we start talking about what really happens after you have a baby so women stop feeling so alone as they go through their experiences. Pregnancy does things to your body and your hormones and your sanity, y’all. It changes you. We shouldn’t be fighting to get back to our “pre-baby body” – because WE BIRTHED BABIES. We literally carried babies and delivered them via our birth canal, pushing them out of our vaginas, or by having a major surgery that cuts open our abdomen and uterus. We should be embracing these changes and celebrating what happens to our bodies. While my bald spots weren’t the most attractive, instead of being something I felt like I had to hide at work, couldn’t they be badges of honor?

Anyway…visit me again next week for my post on my experience with delayed postpartum depression. It’s a real thing. I’ll also have a recipe post. Here’s the schedule. Fridays will be dedicated to “Shit No One Tells You About AFTER Your Baby Arrives” and Mondays will be dedicated to recipes. Let’s start our week and end our week together!

In the mean time to keep yourselves busy, take a look at this WikiHow on how to deliver a baby at home. Please be sure to pay close attention to drawing in Part 2 of 5 – because  sure, that’s really what it looks like when a baby comes out the birth canal. I mean, if there’s going to be a WikiHow on how to deliver a baby they could at least provide realistic photos. Right? (Please note this is not a promotion for delivering babies at home via directions on WikiHow. This is a note on how ridiculous the photo is.)

Click here for more information about post-pregnancy hair loss…and pregnancy hair amazingness.

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Top 10 Things I didn’t Fully Understand (or understand at all) Until I Brought My Baby Home

Hello Simply in the Flavor followers! It’s been quite some time. Since we were last together I got pregnant, birthed a baby, took three months maternity leave, got a new job and have been trying my hand at parenting. I’ve been a little busy! I’m back (until my next hiatus) and thought I’d share something with you I wrote when Isla Jaye was a little over three weeks old. As you know, sometimes I stray from the food writing, and this is one of those times. We can call this some what of a recipe of things I learned very quickly after bringing Isla home. Isla is now seven months old. A sense of normalcy has settled into our house and I can tell all of you first time parents out there who are in the beginning days, weeks and months of your babies lives that it will get better, you will sleep again and it really is all worth it.

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Babies are so emo.

This was taken in a 60 second span. Babies are so emo.

As prepared as I thought I was for the arrival of my daughter Isla, I wasn’t prepared at all. Yea, after 37 hours of labor and a very difficult delivery, I thought I was a warrior. Little did I know it was all fun and games before I left the hospital. Parents tried to tell me what it would be like to have a baby and I thought I got it. But I now know nothing prepares you for being a parent like being sent home with a baby. Now that I am an expert on these matters, having had my beautiful daughter at home for just over three weeks, let me at least help you expectant parents out there by telling you the following 10 things, already learned in such a brief period of time (not that it feels brief), are really really true.

1. You can’t get anything done – and people aren’t just saying that
Babies have a sixth sense. They know the exact moment you are becoming productive and they will somehow fuck it up. For example, after I wrote the third sentence of this piece and thought to myself, “Hey! I’m back in my writing groove! This feels great!” my daughter decided to start wailing over absolutely nothing except for the fact that my undivided attention was not on her. I thought during my maternity leave I’d catch up on a whole bunch of stuff that I had put on the back burner – you know, working on getting my novel published, starting my next book, organizing closets. Because I would have SO MUCH time on my hands! Well, let me tell you how a typical day goes: I start a project. My daughter cries. I feed her. Change her. Soothe her. Forget I started said project. I begin another project. Rinse and repeat until I have 14 different things going on and my husband comes home to a disheveled mess that I thought would be a sparkling clean and orderly house. My intentions are always good – and every day is going to be THE day I get shit done. So far, no day has been that day.

2. You will get excited over a bowel movement, a pee, a burp and basically any bodily function
I never in a million years thought I would be the parent who would praise my child for a poop diaper. I was wrong. After Isla’s first poop, I said in an all out baby voice, “Way to go! You’re such a good girl! Mommy is so proud of you!” And every time after she burps I sing-song that she is a genius. Because she is, isn’t she? Oh – and FYI for all you future moms out there – you’ll be excited about your own bowel movements, too. No one seems to talk about how your own bowel movements after delivering a baby are a triumph. So, now you know.

3. People say “sleep while you can” for a reason
This drove me insane at the end of my pregnancy. I was so ready to meet the little one inside of me and was so over being pregnant. I was annoyed with people who told me to enjoy the last few weeks before our baby’s arrival. I wanted to say, “I’m fucking swollen and uncomfortable and over being pregnant. Stop telling me to sleep and lounge around and do nothing!” And now, a little less than a month into this gig, I’m telling any pregnant and non-pregnant person who will listen to sleep while they can. You won’t believe how quickly your previous dreams of some luxurious vacation turn into dreams of eight hours of uninterrupted sleep.

4. Don’t get pissed at people who tell you “As prepared as you are, you can never be fully prepared”
I was prepared for how hard this would be – and I understood I would be sleep deprived – but I was COMPLETELY unprepared for how out of control my hormones would be and what an emotional roller coaster this gig is. The bottom line is, no matter how prepared you think you are, nothing prepares you for this role except diving right into it…which leads me to…

5. The first night you will ask yourself “Did I make the biggest mistake of my life?” and if you’re like me, you’ll ask yourself that a few times…or maybe more than a few times
And hey, it’s OK. Because babies can be major assholes. They can’t help it, of course. They are helpless beings and suck every ounce of what you have to give out of you. Just know that at some point you will wonder if you can do this. And trust me – you can. You might have to cry your way through it multiple times, or lock yourself in a closet and hide from the sounds of your baby crying for a little while. But YOU CAN DO THIS!

6. It’s important to find friends who are parents
Don’t get me wrong, my friends without children are amazing – I can tell you right now that I wouldn’t be able to do this mom thing without them. But there is something about looking into the eyes of another parent while telling a story of how you haven’t slept for days and have that parent look right back at you and say, “ME EITHER. THIS SUCKS”. Misery loves company, and all that jazz.

7. Eating a meal over the kitchen sink is a perfectly acceptable way to eat a meal
I never understood why people eat standing over the kitchen sink instead of plating a meal and sitting down. Until Isla was born. You have to shovel the food in as fast as you can while the baby is still asleep – because who knows how much time you have before she wakes up – and when she will sleep again. Kitchen sink meal, I love you.

8. You will receive unsolicited advice from anyone who has children – and some people who have never had children
When it comes to babies, people have opinions. People will tell you the “miracle worker” that magically put their baby to sleep (does that even really exist? I feel like these offerings are unicorns that I will chase forever and never find). People will tell you what bottles you MUST use or that breast feeding is the ONLY way. Also, people who don’t have children will decide they some sort of advice that is helpful – and it will annoy the shit out of you because you will suddenly feel like until they have babies, they don’t know what the fuck they are talking about. I was this person. Before I had a baby I loved to give little tidbits of things I had picked up from friends who had children. I now hate myself a little and want to apologize to everyone out there I ever advised before I had my baby. Sorry!

9. Something as simple as the very first smile will make it all worth it
The cliches are true – all of them. Recently my daughter cried for what felt like the entire day. Or an entire three days. But who’s counting? When my husband came home from work I threw her into his arms, forced him into the bedroom, made him turn on the sound machine, and closed the door while I hid in our hallway closet because it was the only place in our one bedroom apartment (yes, that’s right. one bedroom) that I couldn’t hear the painful cries of our daughter. I hid in the closet and sobbed, wondering if I made the biggest mistake of my life (see point number five). The next morning while filming Isla mastering the art of the pacifier (yes, something like that becomes an incredible achievement) she smiled at me for the first time, and I caught it on video. Suddenly every horrible and awful moment we had been through together was worth it. And I could watch the video 1000 times (note – Isla is now seven months and I have watched the video almost on a daily basis. it never gets old).

10. You will, at some point, become the person you swore you would never be when you became a parent
Whether you’re suddenly telling people to sleep while they can before they have children, or find yourself talking about the color of your baby’s poop at an adult dinner party, though you swore you would never do stuff like that before you had children, you will indeed become the person you swore you would never be before becoming a parent. Because hey, you had no fucking clue what you were in for before you baby arrived. Welcome to the club.

-November 19, 2014

One More Time with Feeling!

Yes. It was as good as it looks.

Yes. It was as good as it looks.

Well hello /family/friends/fellow bloggers/followers! It’s been a while. As per usual, I kept up my blog for some time and then completely abandoned it for a while. The good news – the last time I kept it up for five months. The time before that, it was only two months. Maybe this time I’ll keep it up for eight months. I’m clearly on a four-year plan for a consistent blog.

Anyway, last we spoke I was cooking up simple yet delicious recipes in my NYC kitchen and sharing them with you on this blog, along with some anecdotal story that I found hilarious or heart-warming and you perhaps thought was “meh”.

There is a new and exciting component to this blog that I’m working on. It is fresh, fun and will help you plan parties for 2-100 people. What is it, you ask? Well, you’ll just have to stay tuned to next Thursday morning for the post. For now, you can wait with bated breath for its arrival.

Since I last blogged I turned the big 3-0 and I’m loving it. There is something about being 30 that gives me a sense of confidence that I didn’t have before at work and in my every day life. While I was always outspoken, I did come into contact with people who I allowed to speak to me in a way that I didn’t like and made me feel pretty terrible. Since this whole 30 thing happened I’ve stood up for myself a lot more, and it feels good. I’m also working on letting go of feeling guilty for things that are out of my control. But I’m Jewish, and that whole “Jewish-guilt” thing is true. So I have a feeling this will be a long battle.

I’ve also cracked the code on cat-sweater wearing grandmothers. Yes, that’s right, people. I’ve done it.

Just me and my paw prints.

Just me and my paw prints.

Back in December, a friend of mine and I decided we were going to wear some ugly-Christmas gear to a non-ugly-Christmas sweater party. My friend found me the cat’s pajamas of a sweater – A red sweatshirt with kitties prancing around (one has a real-live bell on its tail!) and the sweatshirt reads, “Grandkids leave paw prints on our hearts”. I paired that sucker with a nice green turtleneck, a pair of leggings and some Christmas socks. I arrived at the party to major laughs. After a cocktail I realized how happy I was to be in such comfortable clothes. No adjusting some skirt I was wearing. No worrying about eating too many appetizers so that my jeans would feel tight. No rearranging a shirt to make sure it stayed where it was supposed to. I was in my cat-digs and I was at peace. My friends all accept me and love me for who I am, so I wasn’t worried that I needed to dress to impress. I looked at my husband and said, “Is it sad that I can envision myself as this type of grandma?”. Suddenly, I started to get excited about the prospect of eventually embarrassing my unborn children and grandchildren. These cat-sweatshirt wearing grandmothers have it all figured out. They are at an age where they aren’t concerned with what anyone thinks about them, their friends and family will love them no matter what they wear. Plus, they can have some fun embarrassing everyone around them because they are so confident in who they are. They know how the world works, and realize that things they worried about for so many years just don’t mean a damn thing. They know what truly matters. It’s actually genius.

Now to food. After New Years I found myself at Fairway where they were having a major meat sale. And I mean major. I got myself a beautiful 1.5lb beef tenderloin (already tied up!) for a total of $13.75. As you may or may not know, beef tenderloin is very expensive. Looking back on it, I should have stock-piled those suckers. But alas, we live in NYC and don’t have much freezer space. Last night, I made this delicious and EASY beef tenderloin recipe that impressed my husband so much he said it tasted like we were at a fancy restaurant. I love when he says that stuff to me. I paired it with these Brussels sprouts and a sweet potato with cinnamon and sugar. Overall prep time was 15 minutes and total cook time was 1hr. So all in all, for 45-minutes I watched Downton Abbey and sipped a Bourbon on the rocks while my dinner cooked. SOLD.

Get The Fat Outta Here

Creamy, delicious, amazingly satisfying...CAULIFLOWER!

Creamy, delicious, amazingly satisfying…CAULIFLOWER!

A few weeks ago while I was at the gym I got the most intense craving for something creamy. Mac and cheese? Mashed Potatoes? Vichyssoise? I almost got up and left the gym in the middle of my ab workout. I could barely control myself. However, Neil and I are on somewhat of a healthy pattern (I use the term lightly). So instead of jetting out of the gym and bulldozing anyone who stood in my way, I finished my ab set while trying to think of a way to create something really creamy, delicious, flavorful AND healthy.
Cauliflower. That was my ticket to cheat a world of creamy-overindulgence. I have read a million different recipes that use cauliflower as a substitute to make them healthy. Pizza. Steaks. Mashed Potatoes. I could totally do this!

I exited the gym, carted myself to the grocery store. Leeks were on sale (because to be honest they looked like they had about 15-minutes of life left in them) so I grabbed those along with some cauliflower. I also picked up some nonfat Greek Yogurt (I prefer Fage over other brands because of it’s thick consistency).

I headed home and created this recipe that tasted unbelievable. I actually impressed myself with how simple the recipe was and how devilish it tasted. Next time you’re craving something super unhealthy but don’t feel like blowing a bazillion calories, search the wonderful world wide web for what you’re craving and just add the word “healthy”. You’ll be amazed at what you can find!

Overindulgence Inspired Health

All this took 15-minutes. BOOM.

All this took 15-minutes. BOOM.

After a weekend of binge eating in Bloomington, Indiana, Neil and I were craving a simple and healthy dinner. We had been at Indiana University, my alma mater, with Neil’s brother and our sister-in-law to watch the Little 500 bike race. Neil’s brother Brian also went to IU so we were both very excited to get back to our college town and show our significant others all of our college memories. Most of my memories included food.

I hadn’t been back to Bloomington since I graduated in 2006, so it was a special treat. We ate a giant dinner Friday night at Scholar’s Inn. I demanded that we hit up Scotty’s for waffle fries and ranch dressing for lunch on Saturday before the race. Scotty’s came out with a gluten free menu and a few days before we left for the trip I noticed both the ranch and the fries weren’t on the menu. I figured this would happen, but to be safe I gave them a call while I was still in New York so I could prep myself for depression. Of course, the lovely Scotty’s hostess confirmed that both items were not gluten free. I cried for a minute, but then took solace in the fact that at least I had the memories of how amazing those delicious spiced waffle fries were, especially paired with the most amazing ranch dressing on the planet.

I also had to hit up Jimmy John’s. They serve an unwich, which is just a lettuce wrap, so it’s not all that exciting – but on principle I had do go. And here’s why…Neil (unintentionally) took away my last shot at ever eating a proper Jimmy John’s sandwich. It was October of 2009. Neil and I were in Athens, GA – his college town – to watch the UGA play LSU. The dreaded celiac had not been diagnosed yet and I told Neil that my only request while we were in Athens was to hit up Jimmy John’s. NYC has no Jimmy John’s. I missed it. It was a quick and simple request. Well…we ran late to to the tail gate (and G-d forbid we miss out on 10-minutes of drinking) so Neil promised we would stop at Jimmy John’s on the way out of town. Well…on the way out of town everyone wanted to go to some calzone place (which honestly wasn’t all that good, if you ask the person who was craving a Beach Club sandwich). Needless to say, time ran out and there was no stop-off at JJ’s. I was devastated. Neil told me cheer up – “You can always get Jimmy John’s next time we are in Atlanta. It’s not like you’ll never eat it again!”. I believe in that moment he put a gluten hex on me. Three months later I was diagnosed with celiac.

So after stops at all the Bloomington highlights – including the ever famous my-parents-are-in-town-so-let’s-go-to Malibu Grill – we got home, felt gross and needed to do something healthy. I was craving a fancy meal, but didn’t feel like doing much prep – as per usual. My friend Stephanie makes incredible salmon and always talks about how simple it is. She inspired me to come up with this disgustingly easy baked salmon recipe. I paired it with this simple watercress salad as well as some bagged frozen rice that I doctored up with a little lemon, scallions and salt. Dinner took a total of 15-minutes. And it was so good that I made it again on Friday night for company.

I made a Cake…and Some Soup

Neil went out of town last week to head to Vegas with a bunch of his guy friends to celebrate a buddy’s birthday. I’m sure they all got drunk, acted like idiots and had the times of their life. I on the other hand had an extremely productive weekend which included a potluck dinner with some gals, writing, reading, a concert, a book fair, an 8-mile walk with a new amazing friend, the gym and cooking. I packed in a lot and still managed to catch 7 episodes of Felicity on my couch with my cat. (We recently purchased Hulu Plus which has proved to be the best thing that has happened in regards to my love of late 90’s television.)

Neil is out of town for the entire week – after Vegas he had to head to San Francisco for a work conference. For some reason his exodus sparked the Suzy Homemaker inside of me. I decided I was going to make a giant pot of soup for the week – it’s so friggin’ easy to make and that way I would have dinner for the week and I could come home every night from work, jump on the couch and get lost in Kerri Russel’s hair debacle from season 2. With all that extra time on my hands not cooking dinner every night I could get through at least 3 episodes an evening!

I had a ton of leftover broccoli from potluck dinner. I made this broccoli salad for the potluck I mentioned above and the typical Jewish mother inside of me purchased two extra heads, just in case. My mom had mentioned an easy soup recipe, so I headed to the grocery store to pick up a few items I needed. This is a combination of her recipe with my own tweaks.

While at the store I suddenly had a craving for cake. I marched myself down the baking aisle and picked up what I needed to create this delicious vanilla cake with chocolate frosting.

A few hours later I was in the kitchen with the soup on the stove and the cakes in the oven. I NEVER bake. It’s not my thing. But this was truly simple. And the soup. Oh man. It was DISGUSTINGLY easy and so delicious.

Our Anniversary & Ben Affleck

Neil & Me on our wedding day.

Neil & me on our wedding day.

Some thoughts on marriage – and I swear I’ll bring it back to food.

April 3rd was my two year anniversary. It’s kind of hard for me to believe that I have already been married for two years. I adore my husband. He is my rock. And sometimes, I want to kill him (and he wants to kill me).

Neil is a few years older than me and we grew up in the same hometown. We went to the same high school and when I was 16 and he had just graduated we went to a toga party where I got way too drunk, chased him around a basement, kissed him for a fleeting moment before I ended up dry heaving in his mouth and promptly escorted myself to the bathroom. Needless to say the story went down as my most embarrassing moment and I was happy that I didn’t see him again. That was, until 10 years later when a mutual friend mentioned that Neil was moving to New York. I semi-repeated history and chased him down via Facebook. We started chatting over gmail and a few months later when he moved to New York we started dating. I was smitten early on and knew that this was the man I was going to marry.

I had previously been in a 6-year relationship with a really great guy, but we weren’t right for each other. As much as we fought to try to make it work, the bottom line was we wanted two different lives. It was difficult to end, but from my professional stalking skills I see that he is happily married to a beautiful woman living the life he always wanted to live. I like to think we groomed each other for the real thing.

So when the real thing did come along I clung to it. 16-months later we were engaged and here we are, married for two years. While watching the Oscars this year I teared up during Ben Affleck’s acceptance speech. And when he got to thanking his wife, I just about lost it. In all honesty, I was pms-ing, so I was a bit more sensitive than usual, but still. I thought it was the most heartfelt, honest and loving thank you to his wife. Marriage is hard work. It’s not a constant walk in the park with rainbows and sunshine. But it’s the best damn thing I’ve ever done and I wouldn’t want to be walking through life with any other partner. The next morning I was raving about the speech and most people who I talked to about it had the complete opposite reaction – they thought he was insulting his wife.

I stumbled upon this article that states, “If you’re partnered for life, if you’re fighting this good fight against biology, then you understand that — and you see that there is nothing Affleck could have said that would have honored his wife, and HER work, more.” I couldn’t agree more.

Now back to food. Neil and I decided we wanted a nice home cooked meal for our anniversary. My best friend always talks about a lamb recipe she makes, so I called her up for the details. Rosemary, garlic, honey, lamb-loin chops. Delicious! I tweaked her recipe just a bit and added some dijon mustard. This is what I came up with, and it was honestly the best meat I’ve ever made in my life. I paired the meat with roasted potatoes and asparagus and started the meal off with my aunt’s caesar salad. Neil played bartender and made a round of delicious cocktails and then we opened a fancy bottle of red wine.

The evening was perfect. After dinner we watched our wedding video. In my dad’s speech he talked about how when times get tough during our marriage, which they no doubt would, that we should look at each other, think about our beginning, reminisce about our wedding and say “I remember why we did this.” While we watched the speech on our second anniversary Neil took my hand, squeezed it hard and said, “I remember and I promise never to forget.” While my stomach may not flip anymore with his every phone call and text message, and his half-smile and affectionate stare can no longer immediately get him out of trouble, he has my heart. Forever and always. He is my partner and our marriage is the most important job I have. It’s good, it is work, but it’s the best kind of work, and there’s no one I’d rather work with. Thank you, Ben Affleck.