I like that people think it’s ok to make salacious comments about the spacing of my boys. My sons are 15 months apart, and when certain people do the math, they get a smirk on their face and something ridiculous comes out of their mouths.
The quote in today’s headline comes from the dermatologist that I saw on Wednesday. The dermatologist who was 40 minutes late for my appointment.
My hair is falling out and my skin looks like crap. I blame it on back-to-back pregnancies. I’m 28, but I feel like I look like I’m 35. I never really had a lot of skin problems until I got pregnant with Ursa Minor, and frankly, my skin routine was always “warm water and good-to-go!” No make-up, no soaps, no moisturizers, no spf. I had that skin. A lot of women get a “perfect” something…mine was skin. So Ursa Minor came along and was like, “bump that noise.” All of a sudden I have acne and wrinkles and dark spots. I’m like whaaaaaat?
And hair had decided not to grow at the top of my head. Picture an old-school monk, with the ring of hair around their head. That’s an exaggeration, but not by much. For some reason, hair on top of my head doesn’t want to grow beyond peach-fuzz length. Not. Sexy. Not sexy at all. I looked into Rogaine, but I can’t do it when I’m breastfeeding. I’m going to breastfeed until Minor’s first birthday in April. My vanity is one thing, his health is another. I was hoping that, in the meantime, she might be able to give me some tips to stop the itchiness and some suggestions to help my hair grow naturally before we decided to get with the chemicals.
So let me explain a few things first to give context to my rage-raging-rage:
1) Ursa Major has a drop-off playgroup on Wednesdays at 9, so I got the boys up, got them dressed, got them in the car and got that boy to playgroup at 9. I brought back Ursa Minor, allowed him to nap while I showered and shaved my legs (I didn’t know if the doc needed to look at them?) and did a little housework. Then I went back out at 11 to go get Ursa Major.
2) I brought the boys home and gave them a big and good lunch because I knew that they weren’t going to be able to nap. Nap time is usually around 1, but my appointment was at 2:10. Ursa Minor was going to sleep in the carseat regardless, but Ursa Major was going to be all the way live. So, that means lots of extra apple juice, grapes, cheese, and I even prepped a fish filet for him. I wanted to make sure that any and all irritability came from “sleepy” not “sleepy” and “hungry.” “Sleepy” + anything = meltdown.
3) Moms know that in order to pull this off requires military precision. Plans for Wednesday were put into motion 24 hours before hand, because I know that once I get to the doctor’s office it’s going to be all hands-on-deck. Toys were stowed. Animals crackers were placed in baggies. Water bottles were at the ready. Discipline/distraction tactics were reviewed. This is an operation.
A student nurse-practitioner saw me first and asked me some probing questions. When did the hair loss start? (undergrad) Anyone else in the family have it? (My father and grandfather) Anything else? (I was pregnant. Twice.) About my skin: What do you want us to do about that? (I need suggestions on a routine because I don’t read girly-mags because they annoy the hell out of me). She smiles at me and leaves the room. I have to now entertain my toddler in a small room for another 20 minutes. The doctor was 40 minutes late seeing me. in total And not apologetic at all. She walks into the (small) room and the first thing she exclaims is “Oh. There is a large carriage in here.” (New Englander’s call strollers “carriages” and I don’t know why). I’m like “yes, sorry it is taking up so much room” to which she waves it off. Great.
She sits me down and looks at my hair with a scowl. “How long have you been braiding your hair?”
Me: “I have been locing it for about 8 months now.”
Doctor, looking through the locs, scowling…touching some, flicking others. She says to the Nurse Practitioner, with a sneer: “She has [insert latin term here]. You see this all the time in Afro…. Ethnic… oh, whatever the poltiically correct term is… You see it all the time in certain communities and hair styles….”
Me, astonished by the unabashed hatred of my hair. “Um,”
Doctor, not having heard me, says to the Nurse Practitioner “You see, what happens is, their hair is so structurally poor and brittle that any tension to it breaks it off.” She now addresses me directly, “You are twisting too much and it is making it break.”
Now, I will tell you that is not it. I know this because my hair is growing and growing like a weed in the places where I have hair. The bald spot at the top of my head has always been that way, and had never been locked because there has never been any hair up there. So it isn’t the way I’m styling my hair. Gracefully I say, “The thing is that I’ve never had enough hair of there to lock. This has been happening for years, and it got worse after I got pregnant the second time.”
The doctor, now satisfied with her diagnosis and no longer in the mood to listen to me, puts her hand on her chin and looks pensive for sport. “I mean, ok.”
Nurse Practitioner, coming to my rescue: “She said that her father and grandfather, and even sometimes her mother and sister have had hair loss in that spot..”
The doctor, waving us both off, “Ok, well, I’m still pretty sure it’s [Latin for I hate your loced hair, but I’m going to use a medical term that you don’t know]. I mean, there isn’t much I can do for you. You can go to a commercial hair place and they can talk to you…”
Me, shocked. “Really? I mean? I can’t even use Rogaine?”
Doctor, “Yeah. That’ll work.”
Me: “Well, I’m breastfeeding, and Rogaine says…”
Doctor: “You absolutely can’t do that while your breastfeeding.”
Me, now annoyed: “I know, so I was hoping that you might have some strategies I can do in the meantime?”
Doctor: “You can do what Erika Badu did.”
Me, not knowing what Erika Badu did and surprised that she knows what Erika Badu did : “Um, what?”
Doctor: “You can shave your head and start over.”
Me, shocked, not even graceful about it. “Um, no, I’d much rather not do that.”
Doctor, shrugging. “Great, well, you can do Rogaine then. It will most likely work for you. See me in 3 months.”
(Why? I can buy Rogaine at my Walgreens.) Me: “Ok…well, about my skin..”
Doctor, to the Nurse Practitioner: “She has hormonal acne. Write a script for [latin again]”
I’m going to cut it off now, because I’m pretty sure you get the gist. My dermatologist was a bitch. And then, after that rudeness, she now turns her attention to my beautiful children.
“How old are they?”
Me, annoyed and not in the mood for sharing: “24 months and 10 months”
“Oh wow. You were going for Irish Twins, but did quite make it, did you?” She mirthed.
Me, scowling, “I suppose…”
She then takes her leave.
Wow. So let me get this straight, you were late, rude, useless and now you get to make jokes? Lady, you are so lucky that I had good hometraining.
So I took my leave and did not make an appointment to see her in 3 months. I have no intention of seeing her again. I’m praying that I get one of those satisfaction surveys so that I can express how not happy I was with my experience with her.
There are so many things I hate about that comment, mostly because it came from her, but there is also a theme: I hate that for some reason, the spacing of my boys somehow makes me a whore in some women’s minds. Like somehow I just had so little sexual control, that my husband and I are borderline irresponsible, that we created two children so close together. Such snap judgments really bother me. I know that I’ve written a lot about motherhood and judgement and how we all need to get over it. I’m trying. This one just really grinds my gears. Maybe it’s because both of my sons were conceived out of love, not lust. My husband and I are married and, as of February 1st, have been together for 11 years (married for 5 in October). I just think that it’s ridiculous that a woman’s sexuality can still be judged within the context of marriage. Shall I space my children 10 years apart? 20?
And now my inarticulate ranting is over.