Crazy us (me and my eyebrows)

I have been so grumpy these last few days! Maybe it’s just the heat… It would be too cruel if it was a result of too much sleep. Perhaps it’s something to do with dropping the overnight feed and the change in hormone levels.
Breastfeeding hormones have a lot to answer for.

Firstly, I am losing vast amounts of hair. It happened last time in the months after Amelia was born (and strangely when I worked at Wishlist… who knows what that was about, certainly not breastfeeding) and I know it’s only temporary but it’s a little disconcerting to be shedding with such abandon. It worries me when I cook, and it annoys me all day as I feel little spider feet running across my arms and shoulders, only to realise it’s just another stray hair or two or three.

And secondly… my eyebrows have gone crazy! I have been going to have them, um, “seen to” about every six weeks until now but it’s just not often enough! Last time I went to visit the kindly, motherly beautician she said: “Wow! Your eyebrows lead you into the room! It’s time to do something about that! Hooee, I don’t think I have ever seen them this bad! Wow! Those hormones are really doing it to you, hey?”.

I come from a family of generously eyebrowed folks, and it’s something I have always just accepted as being part of “me”. In fact during parts of my 20s I was incredibly proud of my lush bohemian brows. But now in my mid 30s I never bargained on my caterpillar brows becoming more like mutant mad-professor brows. And I never thought that it would be coupled with frightening hair loss, all potentially making me look scarily like my late Grandfather who was something of a bald, wild-eyebrowed, mad professor type.

So there you have it. Some things you probably didn’t want to know about me… perhaps I was crazy to post this as I know people in real life who read this blog and who I will now become increasingly paranoid around when having them over for dinner or bumping into them on the street. As we chat I will be mentally barking “I KNOW YOU ARE LOOKING AT MY EYEBROWS!”… and now that I’ve written that, they will be working very hard not to look at my eyebrows. Actually, if we have them over to dinner, they will be wise not to look at my eyebrows at all but to keep a keen eye on their dinner… unless I invest in a hairnet in the not too distant future.

(Did my social calendar just suddenly become spookily empty?).

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47 Responses

  1. I am laughing hysterically, mentally trying not to look at your eyebrows, and I just had to thank you for that.

  2. oh, this is too much!
    my mom started plucking my eyebrows when I was 7 and I haven’t stopped since! unfortunately my 8 year old has major caterpillar growth and needs a cleaning up…

    funny thing, people always remark on how nice mine and hers are!


  3. says:

    According to a fashion writer in the Age bushy eyebrows are the next big thing. The catwalk model stylists are back brushing brows to increase the bush – whynot give it a go!

  4. Furry eyebrows as a journal entry, my my! While you’re at it, my ears do a wiggle when I smile ear to ear! It’s my day to de-lurk, and just have to say that I absolutely adore your blog!

  5. Your honesty is refreshing, and anybody coming to dinner should be glad to have such a humorus hostess with lots of self distance!
    Have a great weekend.

  6. Hi Claire,
    If it’s any consolation I am also having eyebrow ‘issues’ at the moment. On Monday I *accidentally* got an eyebrow tint. You know that thing where your beauty therapist is chatting happily and you are politely agreeing and before you know it you have agreed to something you really didn’t want? Yeah, that one. So anyway, I am a natural blonde with naturally light eyebrows, and now they are about 4 shades darker. Big deal, eh? Well, I am sure I look somewhat normal to strangers (even if now it looks like I have dark eyebrows and therefore naturally dark hair and they think I dye it blonde). But to me I look like a cross between a demented Cirque du Soleil incarnation and Brooke Shields. Scary, big, dark, permanently surprised eyebrows.

  7. says:

    The hair loss thing happened to me too. The “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” book (also known in the postpartum phase as what-to-expect-when-you-no-longer-have-any-expectations) says something along the lines that the average head loses 100 hairs a day but this process is put on pause during pregnancy. Unfortunately you don’t get to keep that daikly quota, they’re destined to go sometime in the newborn phase or when weaning. And then they all go at once. Can’t help you with the eyebrow thing.

  8. I feel certain I shall recognise you on the streets of Melbourne now Claire.

  9. As someone with eyebrows to rival John Howard’s, I sympathise. I seem to have passed mine on to both my kids – most noticeably my 8 m.o. daughter – everyone comments on her eyebrows, poor kid!

  10. says:

    I hear you on the hair loss thing. I hate that! Especially when your husband keeps commenting that the children are covered in Mummy’s hair, and there is a competition between Mum and the cats for who can shed more.yuck

  11. Thanks for the laugh today, Claire! Hope you’re laughing lots very soon…

  12. Wow! I have empathy for you! If nothing else, always remember that “this too shall pass.” I have to be honest, your post was written very well and made me laugh. You take something so many people deal with and turn it into a little funny story we can relate to. Thanks!

  13. LOL! You crack me up! Love the illustration!

  14. I can sympathize with the grumpiness this week – the weather has definitely been getting me down too. It’s the humidity! I become aware of humidity through my mood (lethargic and cranky) before I can physically feel it.
    Plus, tonight it smells like monkeys out there …

  15. I hear you. My eyebrows seemed to have become thinner but they still grow sparsely all over the eye area, it seems. I can’t book enough appointments to keep them looking well groomed and tonight they really were looking at my unkempt eyebrows. So, yeah, I hear you.
    Be browed and proud, I say.

  16. Having had huge eyebrows all my life, I overplucked all of high school. So I loved this post~ adorable and hilarious!

  17. I know the horror of eyebrows! I have “Bert and Ernie” eyebrows that I don’t allow the eyebrow man to make into arches. Just straight black lines, thanks!
    My dad, however, has mad eyebrows which he plans to allow to grow “to the size of hamsters”! Eeek!

  18. nioxin hormone therapy shampoo! seriously it washes the hcg out your scalp and it grows back! it is about $12 a bottle.having my husband’s hairline was not a good thing!

  19. you put a smile on my face! and i have big eyebrows too! i like thinking that it gives me a “spanish look”. jajajajaj

  20. I think you should just let nature lead the way – perhaps the hair will become long enough to sweep up and over, thereby compensating any hairloss due to breast feeding. By winter you may be able to style them into a pashmina (so retro!).

  21. says:

    You need Sally Hansen’s eyebrow waxing strips. You cut them to fit, warm them up in your hands, peel, stick, and (ouch) rip off.Really effective.
    Trust me }:)

  22. hi. this made me laugh out loud. You are so funny and charming. I wish I had mutant mad-professor brows. 🙂

  23. Hi there! I TOTALLY understand how it fells to have “ittle spider feet running across my arms and shoulders”. Yes, very ANNOYING! I experienced the same thing when my son was born & now again after my daughter was born. I breastfed my son till he was 14 months & plan on doing the same for my daughter. Anyhow, breastfeeding can cause, as well as, stress (according to my MD). The shedding of my hair was so bad that I got small bald patches… SCARY, I know! Well, if it gets that bad for you… NOT TO WORRY… you can actually get treated for it. I just had to make few visits to the dermatologist (yup, they’re the ones who treat this type of thing) and my scalp is as good as new! No more bald spots. YAY! Hope by me sharing my experience it helps you feel better & helps you to not worry about it too much about it. Take care!

  24. I lost so much hair after I had my baby I felt like I had male pattern baldness. My hairdresser said she was the second worst she had seen. I knew it was really bad when I started finding hair on top of the fridge. How did it get there? I don’t know. But it was everywhere. I still loose hair like crazy and it has been 2 years. I find spiders of hair in every load of laundry I do.
    Good luck. Babies do crazy things to bodies.

  25. I loved how my hair was when I was pregnant. Afterwards, both times, I would brush it every morning in the shower with conditioner and one of those vent brushes to get most of the loose hairs out and then I’d tie it up for the day. The most disappointing thing about my two pregnancies – the fact that my feet went up 1/2 a shoe size each time. That’s hard going when you’re already a 9.5. Now it’s so hard to find nice shoes that fit – grargh!

  26. says:

    Dear Claire,Loving your honesty! It encourages me to be just as honest. I thought I’d drop a comment to show appreciation for both you and your works. 🙂 Have a great day!

  27. Know one tells you about THAT when you talk about parenting do they? No they don’t!

  28. Heehee! Love your honesty and wit! Experiencing the same thing with the hair loss as my little one is now 6 months 🙂

  29. Oh eyebrows are really womens business aren’t they?? Told at 14 years of age that they are the “frames of our face” we spend our time, precious energy and cash resources on them!! As well as that,they cause us mental anguish through the criticism imposed on us by those nasty ladies in the beauty salon “YOU DO KNOW YOU HAVE A BALD BIT IN THIS EYEBROW!” no lovey I got through 31 years of my life with these on my face without noticing that I have a massive gap in my eyebrow!!!! is what I really want to scream but I just say “oh yes honey but isn’t that what eyebrow pencils were invented for???” in my sassiest Samatha from Sex and the City voice, then I spend the rest of the week walking around thinking that most people are staring directly at my bald spot and judging me!!! I think that women of the world should ban together and start support groups for our eyebrow issues, we can all cry, laugh and chant our way to acceptance of our individual eyebrow problems and shout out proudly…”MY EYEBROWS ARE FABULOUS” ….

  30. oh dear. i know the feeling. I have been blessed with wild brows all my life and 4 weeks is all I can go. I wait any longer and its scary. Why is it that beauticians feel the need to tell us how bad our eyebrows are? We kno, ladies! That is why we come to you, remember??

  31. I am also having hair loss! I notice it in the shower plug!!! The doctor said it was normal though. Hope Lily is handling the muggy weather. Lola is sleeping well through it surprisingly!

  32. says:

    I hear your pain, Claire. Once I went to a new hairdressers’ just for a haircut and she looked at me as soon as I walked in and said “Woah! Here for those brows, huh!” At which point I was forced to quietly say “No, just a cut”.

  33. I’m feeling your pain! I spent a good half an hour with tweezers and a magnified mirror last evening. I don’t know if I can offer any hope in the eyebrow department, but after nursing 3 little ones, I can guarantee your hair will grow back. It is just so frustrating to see it all fall out. I used to stand in the shower with fistfuls of hair and cry.

  34. Hilarious! Love the illustration too!Hormones have a lot to answer for – it’s like some kind of sick joke – making your head hair disappear whilst thickening your brows! Mother Nature being sarcastic?

  35. thank you for making the space for all this eyebrow angst.
    maybe we’ll have to add “i love your eyebrows” as a socially acceptable compliment to our repertoire of comforting things we tell each other.

    if it’s any comfort, i <3 the illustration of your eyebrow torture.


  36. Hi Claire, I’m delurking because I had a baby 3 mos. ago and the hair loss is INSANE now. My daughter’s little friend came over this morning and they told my I had a big “spiderweb” on the back of my shirt. My new baby even developed a hair tourniquet on his finger which caused amazing screaming before we noticed the bleeding digit. The eyebrows are another story altogether!

  37. I’m so glad to hear about someone else experiencing post-pregnancy balding, too! My hair is normally thin, so I actually have bald patches on the sides, like a receding hairline. Awesome.
    However, my eyebrows are also thinning. I have bald patches in my brows as well that I have to fill in with pencil.

    Nothing like having a baby to make you feel dead sexy, no?

  38. Ah yes.”Strong eyebrows”.
    Nothing but empathy from me. I have a collection of tweezers and never leave the house without a set.
    I’m glad to see that you are posting regularly. I really missed your thoughts and your illustrations for awhile.

  39. Welcome to your 30s! All the wierd physical transmutations make me fear the future – body hair craziness included! Aging past your 20s is not for sissies!

  40. I’m losing ALOT of my hair at the moment as well and i asked my natrapath about it. she said it was just summer and malting. like animals.
    Also i read once, we loose 100 hairs a day or something. insane. but i’m going with the heat thing. especially with how hot it’s been.

  41. says:

    As someone who was just asked by my stylist who does my brows, and upon replying, “um, I kind of do,” was told, “yeah – you should really have someone tend to those ASAP” – I feel your pain!!!!

  42. LOL!! That is soooo funny! I WISH I had some good eyebrows to work with! At least you have the option to shape them into something whereas I need to pencil mine in!
    It is so ironic that you mention your shedding hair because just this morning, I spent about 15 minute in front of the mirror examining the short little hairs around my forehead that are finally starting to sprout. This motherhood stuff is a killer sometimes. Just tonight, we had some company over and I was seriously considering wearing a hair net because I would DIE if one of my shedding hairs fell into the meal. I am glad to hear that I am not the only one!

  43. says:

    On the plus side I’ll bet you have fabulous lashes if you have “bushy eyebrows” Basically what’s happening with your hair is that all the hair that was supposed to fall out during your pregnancy is falling out all at once. The good news is that this means your hormone (estrogen) levels are stabilising and your body is recovering after the pregnancy. Your hair is growing normally and you won’t be left with bald spots. How about cutting your hair short? It is also a cooler option in Summer or wear a bandana while cooking (looks trendy).

  44. 🙂 very refreshing 🙂

  45. Hi, Claire! Oh… how I love this post. Thanks for making me laugh today.

  46. so funny! thanks for the laugh….I needed it…

  47. This post is so funny! I understand very well…my eyebrows are a little bit crazy too…!!! We can make a club!!