You see this? That hairy beast above? That’s me. Seriously, it is me. No, I’m not inside that costume from a Halloween of Yesteryear. That is actually me at age 37 because as I get older, well, I just seem to get hairier. And at the rate I’m going, if that abominable snowman isn’t quite me yet, it’s just a matter of time. I’m waiting to be contacted so I can play the role of a snow monster in some claymation Christmas movie.
And I gotta say, I’m a little pissed no one told me about this. Aren’t we women supposed to look out for one another? Aren’t there books about what it’s REALLY like when your pregnant- freaky dark lines down your belly, engorged nipples, hemorrhoids, the inability to stop yourself from peeing when you laugh, cough, sneeze or breathe wrong? Hasn’t there been research conducted and published about the REAL sex lives of married people- no one is ACTUALLY doing it 5 times a week. And I think I’ve been pretty honest here about the REAL thoughts of this mom/wife.
So what the heck, ladies? Why in God’s name did no one warn me about my subtle transformation into a freaking yeti?!
I’ve determined that hormones are the culprit. Like they don’t do enough damage in our lives. When we’re in our teens they make us deranged, emotional basket cases. We’re moody, teary and extremely sensitive. But at the same time there’s a little part of us that’s elated that we are “becoming a woman.” Even though that development brings cramps that make that feel like your ovaries are actually punching their way out of your lower abdomen and excessive trips to the ladies room for fear of an accident and your dreading the next pool party because it’s going to land on the “red star” day on your calendar, it’s still kind of an exciting time.
Then you hit your 20’s and life is alllllll about the hormones as you’re attempting to get pregnant. You’re friends are having babies. Your older siblings are having babies. Tiny clothes become adorable and you decide nothing smells more wonderful than Baby Powder and Johnson’s Baby Shampoo. You’re past the newlywed phase and it’s time get down and make some offspring. So you spend excessive amounts of time on babycenter.com learning more than you ever did in 5th grade healthy education about your own reproductive organs. Through this extensive research you learn a couple of things… 1. Even though your health ed teachers made you believe you could get pregnant from just thinking about having sex, it is not, in fact, that easy. 2. There IS such thing as too much information and shouting things to your husband from your marriage bed about temperature, ovulation cycles, discharge and ideal positions for implantation is not the slightest bit hot and will work against you in the whole “baby making” game.
Eventually, if this is the life you are blessed with, you will become pregnant. And that is when your hormones start acting like an epileptic on speed. Even with the easiest of pregnancies, you occasionally take the train to Crazy Town. This is the time you REALLY learn how many ways hormones impact your life. They don’t just help you blossom into womanhood or experience the beauty that is pregnancy. These suckers regulate your sleep patterns, aid in your memory, and even impact your brain’s ability to form coherent sentences. Have you ever seen a pregnant woman at a loss for words? It is not the sudden crushing fear of building a human inside her body or the overwhelming realization that she will be responsible for the moral and physical upbringing of another human being who is expected to function on this planet. It’s her hormones so freaking out of whack that she can’t even remember what the heck she was talking about 3 seconds earlier.
But you can make it through all that- the sleepless nights, the strange markings on your body that seem to look a little like the crop circles you saw on that TV show you watched at 3:00 a.m. when you were up eating… um, can’t remember what you were eating, can you? You can survive it all because in the end you have this precious little life who is looking up at you with his cloudy eyes and fisted fingers. His perfect toes and pouty mouth make it all worthwhile…. for about 24 hours. And then you hop off the train in Crazy Town and actually become its mayor.
I went into labor with DS1 on a Wednesday, right after dinner. He did not arrive until 3:40 on Friday. Yes, Friday. Let’s just say that when we arrived home on Saturday evening (a mere 24 hours after he was finally ejected from my body) I was not a sane woman. Not even close. Somewhere around 11:00 that night I completely lost all grasp on reality and took the Bullet Train to Psychoville. I could not figure out for the life of me how to put this kid to sleep. After everything I read and all the preparation I did no one told me how to put the darn thing to bed! Now I realize, of course, that there is no “putting a newborn to bed.” They don’t actually go to bed. They just sort of do this eat, doze, stare into space, cry routine. Where the hell was that chapter in my “What to Expect When You Bring This Thing Home?”
So after about 3 hours of hiding in our room sobbing, pacing and mumbling incoherently to myself all while trying to feed this kid and “put him to bed” I had worked myself into such a frenzy that I had thoroughly convinced myself that we had this baby for some friends of our who couldn’t have kids. Clearly I wasn’t supposed to be a mom and I just never realized it. When Hubs finally heard me quietly going insane, I calmly approached him and told him that I thought we were meant to be surrogates, not parents and he needed to call our friends who recently found out they couldn’t have a baby and tell them the good news. To his credit, he just hugged me, awkwardly patted me on the back and told me to go lay down for a bit while he took the baby in the living room. He then proceeded to call my mother and tell her that her daughter had officially gone off the reservation and she should probably come over- immediately. Mom told him this was normal and promptly came over at 5 a.m. And when I woke up back in the land of the remotely sane she told me that when my brother was born she told my dad she wanted to put him in a box and leave him at the local church. I felt much better.
Eventually our hormones level out again post-baby. We settle into a routine and a fairly predictable cycle: 3 weeks of expected behavior and one Wild Card Week. Will she be teary? Will she be angry? Will we eat McDonald’s every night because she can’t stop craving salt or will we be hitting Golden Spoon for frozen yogurt on the way home each afternoon? Or will it be a by week and we get a whole month of Normal Mom. It’s an exciting time, so much mystery! It’s like Russian Roulette. But it’s consistent in its inconsistency, I guess you can say.
And as the baby factory closes down, one would expect even more leveling out of these pesky hormones- fewer peaks and valleys, right? I can say I’ve experienced that. Internally, I’m definitely more stable than a 13 year old or a postpartum mom. Externally, however, all bets are off. The hormones are wreaking hairy havoc on my life.
Do you have any idea the follicle follies I’ve experienced over the last couple of years? All my life I’ve cursed being a redhead. Growing up in Southern California meant I never looked like my peers. Everyone was blond with light eyes- at least in my eyes they were. And having only this lovely lady to identify with in the media does not do much for your self-esteem….
or this one…
However, the upside to being a real redhead? Your hair is light. Or, it was light until you hit the hormonal highway. But for many years you could get away with skipping the pits when you’re shaving in the shower or wear shorts even though you didn’t have a minute to throw your leg up on the vanity in the bathroom and do a quick shave. But now? Not so much. Now it’s light and dark and in between. And it’s not just coming from the expected nooks and crannies. No, I have developed a few rogue hairs.
The first horrifying rogue appeared on my stomach- about an inch above my belly button. And it was black! WTH? That sucker was promptly extracted and never spoken of again. It’s the he-who-shall-no-be-named-hair.
Then there was the random sprouting that began on my chin. I’m sorry, I’m not actually a witch. I might act like one on occasion – or for one week of every month- but I am mostly a nice person. Therefore, I do not believe it is necessary for me to have hairs growing from my chin like some fairytale villain. And they certainly don’t need to be black! Don’t even get me started about the caterpillar that seems to reside on my upper lip these days.
If that wasn’t bad enough, about 3 months ago I was scratching my back when I felt a hair tickling me. With long hair, this isn’t unusual. I’m always having lose strands stuck in my bra strap or caught just under my shirt where I can feel it but never find it so I look like a moron cruising around with my hand up my shirt, groping myself. I was lucky that I found this one. Until I went to pull it out and realized IT WAS STILL ATTACHED… TO MY BACK! Yeah, my back. It wasn’t attached to my head, it was attached my scapula. It was awful. I was totally grossed out by myself. Now I’m totally paranoid and constantly trying to look at my back in the mirror.
But nothing was more shocking than the discovery I made last year. I found the most disturbing thing ever in the way of hair. On the part of my body I affectionately call my shank (or haunches) I found a 2 inch, wiry hair. I never saw it coming in. I was just suddenly two inches long! And if that wasn’t bad enough, it has a twin on the other side! Yes, I have matching rogue hairs!! Who grows hair there!?! Apparently, I do.
Fortunately, I know I’m not alone in this hairy situation. I’ve broken the silence and have learned that there are others who live in furry frustration with this new hormonal development. We talk openly about our whiskers and even share the names of great waxing salons. We’ve tried waxing, threading, hair removing cream, sugaring, and laser hair removal. We’ve been to salons and tried it at home. We’ve defiled our kitchens with double boilers to soften wax and even put it in the microwave- the same microwave we heat chicken dinos for our kids.
And slowly but surely, the truth is getting out there to the younger generations who stare at us (or maybe I’m due for a chin wax and that’s what they’re looking at) with pity and think “Lord, I hope that never happens to me.” And all I can say is, “Ladies in your 20s, I’m sorry but this is most likely your future. Hair Happens. What can I say? And here’s a card for The BeeHive in Carlsbad. They do great work.”
I guess I’m just a woolly woman.
That’s just my normal.