Of hairdressers and dentists

what is it about the dentist and the hairdresser?

I got my haircut, finally.  It had been a year.  I don’t think I’d ever gone so long.  I never get it cut as often as they recommend, but I usually sneak one in every 3 months or so- when my hair starts looking really ratty and I feel like I need a deep clean, I break down and make an appointment.  Last time I went was not too long after Mabel died.  I had a friend’s wedding coming up and I was part of the bridal party, so I felt like I needed a little cleaning up.  I had lost all the baby weight yet, and the one thing I felt I could control was my hair.  I went to the local salon- one I had been to only once or twice because I had recently moved to the town and the hairdresser started up her chatty conversation, as most hairdresser do. I’ve never liked the small talk at the salon- it feels so forced.  Maybe because I make small talk all day long with patients, I have little tolerance for it outside of work. That visit at the salon turned painful when the hairdresser asked- “I can’t remember, do you have kids?”

I was still trying out responses to that question and the one I chose “none living,” did not feel good.  Only led to more awkwardness.  I haven’t been back since.  I guess I just didn’t feel up to facing her or the question again.

One day last week, I was brushing my hair and my brush snapped in half.  It was time, I decided. So finally after a year of throwing my hair in a ponytail daily, I found a salon  even closer to my house.  When I was greeted by the new stylist I was excited to see she was young- to some that may mean inexperienced, but I’m not that picky and really quite lazy with my hair, so for me it was fine.  More importantly I just had a sense that I might not get the jibber jabber I would have in the other salon.  once I sat down and we discussed what to do, I pulled out my phone to search the internet as she cut away.

It was great! No small talk, got a good cut.  Everyone was happy.

Going to the hair dresser I’ve learned is monumental after babyloss-  I know both Wrapped up in Parenthesis and In All Things Rejoice have both written about their experiences and what it means emotionally.  The other parallel I’ve seen is experiences with the dentist.  Nasrene at Anchors for Reece recently wrote about her latest trip and what it means to do so after babyloss.  I was reminded about my first trip to the dentist after Mabel died- and I have another appointment coming up.

I think the thing about hairdressers and dentists is that they both mark the passing of time.  Something scheduled every year that usually involves a fair amount of small talk.  Under most circumstances such chatter would be welcome and pleasant even.  But for us, it can be a reminder of what should have been.  That there should be a baby in a carrier at the base of the stool in the dentist chair.  That we should be chatting easily about sleepless nights and kid stuff with the stylist.  But instead, we sit in those chairs, a captive audience, unable to run away or avoid friendly, well meaning questions that can stab us.

Do you have any experiences like that at the dentist or hairdresser?  Any other places you’d throw into the same category?   

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8 thoughts on “Of hairdressers and dentists

  1. I went to a hair dresser when I was pregnant with Ander. I have not returned to her because I’m afraid she’ll ask “how’s the baby?” Fortunately, I too found someone I like better! I’m lucky in that I went to the dentist before I was pregnant, so got out of that one…

  2. I am friends with my dentist, so he knows about our history. Every time we do talk about my journey and I don’t mind it a bit. I mind more about every time I schedule an appointment six months down the road, my thought would be that “I bet I still won’t be pregnant by then”. And it has been true every time. It hurts every time.

  3. I’m so glad that you had a good experience at the hairdresser. I think our hair types are similar. I wish I could let mine grow forever, but the ends get so messy.

    Going to the dentist and being a patient was an enormous, terrifying ordeal for me — having to lay back in the chair and hold still, the injections, the dentist standing over me — but luckily my dentist knew the whole story (I had gone in during second trimester but refused X-rays/fillings etc after a long talk about pros and cons during pregnancy). He was extraordinarily understanding about my anxiety and jumpiness, as I sort of fought through flashbacks. I was very proud of myself for getting through it; it wasn’t easy!! And it feels good to have gone through a medical procedure – if I need anything else done in the future, it will be that much easier because I already fought through the “second first”.

  4. I saw my hairdresser the week after we lost our daughter. I called to make an appointment after having cancelled last minute as we had been in complete turmoil the week before because of her death. The woman who answered the phone asked me something (I don’t even remember what) that led me to tell her that we’d just lost our baby. She was immediately responsive and empathetic and told me that her sister lost a baby very late in pregnancy and that it was just awful. She said to just tell her when I want to come in and they’d see me then. Honestly, it was the best response I’ve received, even 2.5 years later. She was immediately caring, she didn’t shy away, and she just helped me. As I’ve dealt with others who have been less kind and responsive, I’ve thought about this woman, her response, and how some people just get it, they can just be with you in that awful place. It’s such a gift.

  5. I went to the dentist a few weeks after Caroline passed away and faced the “Do you have any kids?” question from the hygienist. Such an innocent question that is so difficult for parents like us to answer. For me, I think dentist and hairdresser appointments are so difficult because if you see someone new, the topic of children will come up. I find myself sitting there, waiting for the question that breaks my heart every time.

  6. I am friends with the girl that makes my hair always look better and we were pregnant at the same time. We had due dates two weeks apart. She has been one of my kindest friends and always says the right things. The two worsts have been the dentist and eye doctor. I was at both within weeks before having Jacob. Now they have both followed up with… So how’s the baby? Both are uncomfortable when you are captured in the office chair. It just gets exhausting when you then have to comfort others after you let them know.

  7. I actually haven’t gotten my hair cut since the day before Seraphim was born, but I have had plenty of those similar experiences. Starting the new job has been the hardest roller coaster. I like talking about my son, and I never want to pretend he didn’t exist–even to people I’ll never be close to or never talk to again. But when it’s a new professional experience, it feels harder to start out my interaction with a “sad” conversation, as far as they see it. I want it to be “just part of life,” and not “that is the most horrible thing I have ever heard.” Sigh.

  8. I went to the Hairdresser’s this week, on Monday…but it was holidays, so my usual salon was closed. Since my hair was such a big mess, I ventured into another salon close-by that was open..oh my! The lady that washed my hair was nearly 9 months pregnant, and kept complaining to me about all the discomforts this late in pregnancy, and repeatedly saying “you know?” – and in my head i thought, if only she knew what I know! But, I kept quiet, wanting to keep it as un-eventful as possible..then just as I thought I got lucky to have a guy to do my combing and styling..turned out he had worked at a salon where i once temp-ed as a cashier during my school holidays about ten years ago! He was so excited to see me again..and said..oh you must be married now with kids?! at that I burst out crying and run out of the salon…did my own amateur combing when i get home… And she’s been dead one year and three months..does it ever stop???

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