Why hair care can be a grey area for pregnant mums over 40
There comes a time in a pregnancy when our hormones sometimes get the better of us. For this bottle blonde, that moment came when the grey strands started to poke through my hair in Week 12.
I had made the decision to stop using chemical hair dye before I got pregnant with Cyrus because I was worried it might harm him. It was a precautionary measure as I felt the scientific evidence was too limited to draw a firm conclusion on the safety of hair dye.
While I had scoured the internet for reassurance, I found hundreds of mums debating the subject in online forums. There was too much conflicting information on whether it was safe or not and with no consistent evidence either way, I opted to go ‘au natural’ for the best part of nine months.
Now as simple as that sounds, it was no easy feat for someone who had been chemically treating her hair since the age of 17.
I tried to convince myself that if going grey in pregnancy was OK for Kate Middleton, it was good enough for me. It was going to be a real money-saver and was even fashionable with celebs like Pink, Lady Gaga and Rihanna sporting a grey-hued hairdo at the time.
But being pregnant over 40 meant I had a few too many silver streaks for my liking. Stretch-marks I could cope with thanks to my trusty bottle of Bio-oil, but I tried several times to come to terms with the greys unsuccessfully.
One of the things I had been looking forward to as an older pregnant mum-to-be was great, not grey hair! Those thicker, fuller, luscious locks that the glossy magazines raved about due to increased levels of estrogen and androgen.
While I did have a fuller head of thick, lustrous locks, it now came with silver highlights, not blonde and there was no question that it made me feel old as it took hold of my roots.
All I wanted to do was to tie my hair back and hide as much of it under whatever hair accessory I could find. It was brittle and dry all the way to the ends and had completely changed texture.
There were times when paranoia would set in and I’d feel like people on the bus and in the street were guessing how old I was. I worried that people were looking, first at the bump, then up at the hair, then back at the bump.
It would have been easier for me to run to the salon as my grey mane became more difficult to maintain, but I decided to err on the side of caution until a few days before Cyrus was due.
Having my hair highlighted at Bobble hair salon in Jesmond, Newcastle, before Cyrus arrived was the best feeling in the world. And to ensure I didn’t have tress stress, my hairdresser kept the colour off my scalp and away from my skin using foils to highlight my hair.
The resulting golden colour was just the pick-me-up I needed and whilst I wasn’t done navigating the hormonal changes thanks to Mother Nature, I wanted to make sure I looked my best for labour day. After all, I knew that it would probably be quite a while before I was able to get my hair done again, so I had to make the most of it.
When the big day arrived, I had no make-up, a blotchy face, my forehead was covered in beads of sweat and I was supped up on painkillers and an epidural. I didn’t care because while I was one very tired lady, my hair didn’t make me cringe any more.
I had the flabby post baby belly, but I was happy to have a post-birth shot with baby for the in-laws. Getting rid of the grey was refreshing and I felt more like myself again, I was ready to tackle this parenting thing.
Today despite the granny hair trend that seems to be sweeping the country, I still despise my grey roots and have to get rid of them every three to four weeks.
Sometimes I talk to other women – mostly on the bus – about my age and being a mum over 40 because I care about what they think.
Many of them ask me how I cope being an older mum and they seem really surprised to hear that I am doing great – no problems whatsoever…as long as I cover up those shades of grey. Am I the only one who is vain?