By Alyce Collins
THIS MUM OF TWO developed alopecia when she was pregnant and after years of trying to conceal it and prevent it by having FOURTY INJECTIONS to her scalp EVERY MONTH she is finally embracing her BALD look – despite her son’s initial FEAR of his hairless mum.
Stay at home mum, Mirna Wilson (35) from California, USA, noticed a small bald patch on the nape of her neck in 2013, while eight months pregnant. Mirna blamed her pregnancy hormones, and her doctor reassured her that it would go away in time.
Mirna and her husband Brian (38) welcomed their first son, Mateo (5) in February 2014, and for a long time, Mirna was able to forget about the bald patch as the hair grew back. However, by 2015 Mirna noticed another patch developed near her temple as well as losing part of her eyebrow. Mirna lost hair randomly, leading doctors to diagnose her with alopecia areata.
Mirna and Brian welcomed their second son, Niko (3) in April 2016, but by March 2017, Mirna had lost 40 per cent of her hair as her hair loss became more aggressive. Mirna found clumps of hair in the shower, on her pillow and on the sofa as she began questioning what she had done so wrong in life to deserve to lose her hair.
In June 2017, Mirna saw a specialist who suggested she try treatment including 40 steroid injections into her scalp every four weeks. To hide her thinning hair, Mirna tried covering her bald areas with tinted dry shampoo and hair extensions. Mateo even picked up chunks of his mother’s hair before telling her to put it back on her head.
By August 2017, 80 per cent of Mirna’s hair had fallen out and she started losing her eyelashes, eyebrows and nose hair too. Cleaning up her hair became tiresome and the fear of brushing it was hard to handle, so she decided to shave the rest off and embrace her look. Mirna started sharing her journey on Instagram, @mama.is.bald to find and share support, as well as showing other women that being bald doesn’t make them less feminine.
“I found my first bald spot at the end of 2013 when I was eight months pregnant with my first son,” said Mirna.
“It was on the nape of my neck about the size of a coin. I also noticed my eyebrow was thinning, but at the time I didn’t relate that to pregnancy, I thought perhaps I was using my eyebrow pencil too aggressively.
“When I saw my obstetrician, I asked about the spot and she said it wasn’t uncommon in pregnancy and that it would fill back in once my hormones regulated.
“By mid-2015 I was in full blown motherhood. The hair missing from that spot had grown back shortly after I gave birth and never crossed my mind for over 14 months until one night when I was watching television with my husband.
“I felt that same type of soft skin on my scalp near my left temple. I asked Brian to look and he said there was no hair there. After obsessively checking out my scalp we found three small bald spots and then it all clicked, and I realised it was all correlated.
“Of course, I was concerned, but nothing could prepare me for what was ahead. Not for a second did I think that these tiny, little spots, that I could cover up with my long hair, would become a life altering new normal.
“I saw several doctors to determine what was going on with my body and why I was randomly losing hair. I was a healthy woman who’d just had a healthy baby and nursed him for 15 months, with no other symptoms. They said I most likely had alopecia areata.
“Mateo couldn’t understand why there was hair all over the house. He picked up clumps and told me to put it back on my head.
“I had lost 40 per cent of my hair at this point, it was awful. For a while, I hid the hair loss with dry shampoo and clip-in extensions before having to wear hats whenever I was out. If I couldn’t wear a hat to the event, then I wouldn’t go.
“It was no way to live, so I went to see an specialist in May 2017. She suggested I stop nursing so we could treat the alopecia. By June I had already lost a significant amount of hair since the last appointment.
“The specialist injected me with 40 injections all over my head to encourage regrowth. The injections were topped up every four weeks.”
Mirna maintained her injections for several months, but by November 2017 her hair was almost completely gone. Trying to halt or conceal her alopecia was proving increasingly difficult, so Mirna decided she should feel confident being bald. This taught her to be grateful for what positive health she has, regardless of having hair or not.
Through Instagram, Mirna’s fear of being bald disappeared and she offers support to other women going through alopecia with hacks for using wigs and tips for wig styles.
“I had been debating shaving my head for a while as I was sick of cleaning up clumps of long hair everywhere. I was sick of the sad feeling when I found the hairs on the ground. I was sick of being scared to brush my hair,” said Mirna.
“I made a pros and cons list. The pros outweighed the cons because if I shaved, my wig would be more flush to my scalp making it look more realistic, applying my steroid creams would be faster, no more stringy hairs all over the house and no more tears from seeing the hairs all over.
“So, I did it. It was hard to watch, but I had a smile on my face for my son who was watching in shock – he said I looked scary. Even though my hair was barely there, he loved me the way I was. I told him not to be scared, it was just my new hairstyle. Not one I ever dreamed of, but it was my new normal.
“I had to learn how to make wigs look realistic and feel like myself again. I spent countless hours on Instagram and YouTube looking for ideas and tricks. It was difficult to find a reliable source as there were conflicting opinions on how to care for wigs and style them.
“So, I decided to share my journey and wig wearing. Sharing helped me open up about it as it wasn’t a secret anymore. It was a relief and I got so much support from strangers and friends alike. It wasn’t anything to be embarrassed of. Wig wearing isn’t anything to be ashamed of and doesn’t need to be a secret. I’m a strong woman and embrace my condition.
“I’m way more positive about self-image and grateful for the health I do have. Being positive and embracing my condition has shown my strength, and that’s something to be proud of.
“Life threw me lemons, it was sour for a while, but I made my own sweet lemonade in the end. Hair loss isn’t going to hold me back from anything – I feel sexy and beautiful even though I take my hair off before bed.”
To see more, visit www.instagram.com/mama.is.bald