As I hung up the phone, a wave of dread overtook the perfect joy I had just experienced. My oldest son had called to let me know that he planned to ask his girlfriend, his soulmate, to marry him. All mothers pray for this moment—that their children will meet the right person to share their life with. And, I was beyond thrilled about this news. Visions of a perfect wedding flashed through my mind. Suddenly, they stopped abruptly on my head—my hair, actually. I couldn’t see the beauty of the bride and groom. I only envisioned the wedding photos and how I would ruin them with my messed-up hair. That was the way I saw myself—a balding photobomber who ruined every photo, every video. This moment that should have been celebrated turned into panic.
Alopecia and Wigs
Over two decades ago, about 18 months after the birth of my second son, I began dealing with permanent hair loss. Most women experience hair shedding after they deliver a baby due to changes in their hormonal chemistry, but that gradually reverses itself and they regain any lost hair. It’s not permanent. However, that wasn’t the case for me. My hair just didn’t stop shedding, and what came out never returned. So, I went to see my OB/GYN and she referred me to a connective tissue specialist for an appraisal of my condition. The doctor took a scalp biopsy and told me that I had Androgenic Alopecia—a genetic or pattern baldness experienced by both men and women. It is inherited from one or both parents and can be triggered by hormones at any time after puberty. Hair is lost at the front, top, and the crown of the scalp. The hair loss can vary from thinning to complete baldness. It is estimated that around 50% of women over the age of 65 experience female-pattern baldness.
Now knowing that I had Androgenic Alopecia, I had to slowly come to grips with the fact that most of the hair I lost wouldn’t be coming back. I stopped coloring my hair because I could see that the chemicals in the hair dye caused me additional issues—weakening the hair strands and creating more fallout. Having a fully gray head at that age left me looking older than I was and older than my friends. But, I just didn’t see any other alternative. I struggled to style my progressively thinning hair, pulling it back in a sparse ponytail for many years and wearing fabric headbands to hide my thinning hairline. Yet every day, I knew it was getting worse, and I wouldn’t be able to camouflage it any longer.
As it turned out, the engagement announcement was the moment that led me to search for a resolution to my problem. Hitting YouTube hard, I watched dozens of videos about hair loss, which led me to wigs and wig review videos. Seeing that wigs were NOT the sweaty, molded-cap designs they were in years past, I started to entertain the idea of purchasing one. Certainly, I would have to do it quickly if I was going to find a wig and get used to wearing one before my son’s wedding. That’s when I found Kristen by Jon Renau. I immediately fell in love with her, and she was in a price range that seemed reasonable for a first wig. The day she arrived, I was SO nervous! What if I looked terrible in a wig? I would have to attend the wedding and find places to hide to avoid the photographer. I know that sounds so vain, but women count on their hair to create their look. Without it, you have to redefine your identity. It’s not easy to do without your hair!
Amy wearing Kristen by Jon Renau
I found that Kristen was a perfect everyday wig for me. She made me look like I had in my late 20s and through my 30s. I purchased her in my original bio color (I’m a strong brunette!), and I got used to wearing her by taking photos of myself and taking trips to the grocery store, hoping I would run into someone I knew so I could practice saying, “Thanks!” when they told me my hair looked fantastic. My husband was incredibly supportive and complimented me when I wore Kristen, which made it so much easier for me. However, my sons struggled a bit with the change in me. Our children love us no matter what we look like, so my boys didn’t think I needed to change anything about me—including my hair. Slowly, they are coming around and getting used to me changing my colors and styles…sometimes daily!
For the wedding, I felt that Kristen was too long. I wanted to wear a shorter wig to the event. That’s when I saw a wig review on Meg by Jon Renau. I thought she was cute and sassy, but also classy and smart. I felt she would be the perfect “wedding” wig, so I ordered her. Meg comes with a lot of hair (which I REALLY wasn’t used to), but I got her tamed a bit and wore her to the wedding. I added a decorative rhinestone clip to one side, and I made it through the wedding with my head held high. I still don’t love the camera, but I didn’t run and hide. Wearing a wig gave me courage and built back up the self-esteem I had lost so many years ago.
It is amazing to me how something as easy as wearing a wig can boost a person’s self-confidence so greatly. I only wish I had known how good this was going to feel years ago, not having to suffer so long.
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