Coping With Hair Loss

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When you start losing your hair, you may want to cut it very short and see how you feel about having a cropped look.

If you do lose all your hair, you have a choice of cover-ups. Or you can go bold and bald. The bare-headed look, accented with dramatic makeup and big, flashy earrings, can be stunning.

Most women, however, want to find some way to disguise their bareness—and keep warm. Then it's a matter of what you're most comfortable with: a wig, a scarf, a hat, or a baseball cap.

Hair loss and your children

From the time they can reach and grab, babies like to feel their mother's hair. It's a part of the warmth and nurturing process, especially during feeding time. As they grow up, little girls often like to play hairdresser with their mother, and boys often get a kick out of pulling their mom's ponytail. So it's natural that hair loss could be an issue for some kids. One patient's children, too young to understand what breast cancer was all about, thought she had a “hair disease.” All they could see was that she'd lost her hair.

Try to prepare your children for your hair loss before it occurs, reassuring them that it will grow back. Let them help you pick out a wig or scarves.

Some children may be frightened by your bald head. The more positive you and your partner can be about it, the better. If your kids are old enough, you can assert your “coolness” by going bald. But if they are still scared despite your best efforts, it may be best to keep it covered when they are around.

Hair loss and your partner

Hair is sexy—there's no getting around it. Losing your hair can make you feel less attractive and seductive. Of course, the intimacy you have with your partner, or can establish with a new partner, doesn't necessarily depend on looks. Appearance is a minor player in the bigger scope of what draws people to one another.

You and your partner have to come to terms with the other changes to your body, including loss of part or all of your breast. You may be able to apply some of those same coping skills to dealing with sparse hair or no hair. Probably, if you have a male partner, he can get used to it too—after all, if he's in midlife or beyond, he will know exactly what you're going through.

Just as many women choose lacy teddies and other underwear to cover a mastectomy, there are ways to drape scarves around your head and slowly remove them to convey a sensual mood. Think of it as a part of your dance of the seven veils. You can pretend to be Ishtar, the ancient Sumerian goddess who went to the underworld and danced to free her lover, Tammuz, slowly revealing her beauty by taking off the veils one by one. It's always more interesting to keep them guessing!

Personal Quote

“My two-year-old daughter had a much harder time than I did with my hair loss. She loved sitting on my lap and playing with my hair, and she was terribly upset when it started to fall out. I got a wig very quickly after that, and it seemed to help. But when she'd wake up in the middle of the night, I'd have to pull the wig on—half asleep and in the dark—before going in to see to her.”

— Nora

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