Don a mullet wig? I'm into it. Twirl around in my backyard while pouring milk on my cans? I'm not opposed. Waddle through my kitchen in beige granny panties stuffed with a hospital-grade postpartum bleeding pad? That was my idea, actually.
If our new parenting video series, "Life After Birth," starring yours truly, was going to be a real, blunt and funny take on the harder parts of mom life, well, I needed to abandon all pretence and strut those droopy underoos with swagger.
Watch Natalie in all her mullet-wigged glory in our first episode of "Life After Birth." Story continues below.
Plus, there's just something about pushing a human out of your vagina, keeping that human alive with your boobs — and then having that human grow into a toddler who wants to watch you poop and thinks your tampons are hilarious toys — that really strips down your sense of dignity.
So, I was pretty amenable to filming some of the more humiliating scenes about postpartum life ('cause, you know, I'd already lived them). That is, until the video producer for "Life After Birth" asked me to text her a photo of the back of my head — where my scalp is slightly more visible than one might like — and I very nearly quit the entire damn project.
Even two years after the birth of my son, a widely shared blog post, and filming an entire video dedicated to the subject, I still feel so ashamed about my postpartum hair loss that I avoid thinking about it as much as I can. Seeing my wonky part (Why is it so deep now?!) on my phone's screen, and then in the video, sent me to a place so dark, no amount of late-night cheese snacks could bring me back.
But, it also affirmed for me why this series is so important.
There's still so much we don't really talk about openly when it comes to life after giving birth. The fact that your butt might burn as much as your vaheen, thanks to hemorrhoids. Or, that your vagina might be so full of scar tissue that, even a year later, trying to have sex is more like penetrative Tetris ("Aim left, then down, left again, now right, OK, I think you're in. Now don't move in any direction and try to enjoy yourself").
And, yes, that you might shed so much hair, you're jealous of your baby's tiny, yet flowing, locks.
Postpartum hair loss, also known as postpartum telogen effluvium, affects about half of the people who have been pregnant, according to the American Pregnancy Association. And, as the Canadian Hair Loss Foundation notes, it can be "extremely distressing." So, why don't we share this awkward aspect of new mom life as much as we share photos of baby's first smile and social media humblebrags about how much your baby sleeps? (DELETE YOUR ACCOUNT, SUSAN).
I'd like to help change that (and also recommend that you never attempt to cut side bangs in an effort to blend your regrowth, like I did, unless you want to sport an actual mullet).
WANTED: Photos of your mom hair! We want to celebrate mom 'dos in all their patchy, spiky glory. Share pics of your mom bangs, mullets, and lion's mane tufts with email@example.com to potentially be featured in an upcoming HuffPost Canada article.
An amazing thing happened when I published my postpartum hair loss blog last summer, a personal lament that included several photos of my mom-hair growing back like a spiky lion's mane. After I shared the story on social media, other women I know started sharing photos of their own hair loss with me. Fluffy mom bangs that no topknot could contain. Spiky side hairs that stuck straight out from their heads. Parts that were a little wider than one might consider fashionable.
I think moms want to talk about their hair loss. We can even laugh about it, when we're not crying over how many times we have to wrap that hair elastic around the nubbins that used to be our wet buns.
That's why I finally agreed to take that damn photo of my head.
"Life After Birth" will tackle several topics that don't often come up at playgroup. Because motherhood is funny, but not always ha-ha funny (although I laughed pretty hard filming this episode).
I don't pretend to speak for every mom out there. My experiences are my own. They're also, um, kind of weird. But, I hope they'll make you laugh (just not so hard you pee yourself) and maybe feel a little less alone if you, too, are still growing out your mom bangs.
And if you thought I was embarrassed revealing my hair loss, just you wait until the postpartum sex episode (which, obviously, also stars the granny panties).
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