I was rushing to take a shower this afternoon while my six-month-old was napping and before my four-year-old got home from preschool when I noticed it – a big ole’ clump of hair in the shower drain. It was a ball of long, dark brown hair so it was only mine to claim as I’m the only female in my house and none of my boys sport man buns. After my shower, I pulled it out and looked at it in horror at just how much was in the drain. A lot of hair.

I knew I’d been losing hair for some time, but I was shocked at just how much was actually in the drain. I had started noticing the hair loss about two weeks postpartum with my new baby boy. I was shedding all over the house. Way more than normal. My husband had found pieces of it on his work clothes, the baby had pieces of it in his hands (not just from grabbing it from my head), and my vacuum canister was filled with it.

I’ve always been a “shedder” as my husband calls me, but after Mr. C was born it hit a new level. I got online and did a little research and talked to some fellow moms, and it turns out it’s quite normal to lose a ton of hair after baby. I hadn’t experienced this with my first pregnancy. Some of the other moms told me, “You don’t lose any hair when you are pregnant, so after you have the baby you lose all of that hair plus your everyday hair loss.” I don’t know about all of that as I’m not a medical person, but it sounded about right. So, I continued with my prenatal and added a biotin vitamin in an effort to help with my thinning hair.

Then, the day before I found the hair in the drain, I went to the dentist and had two cavities filled. TWO. Now, let me back up. I’m that person that brushes her teeth 3-4 times a day. Before babies, I had maybe two cavities in my entire life. However, after I went through my first pregnancy with Mr. L, I came out the other end with six tiny cavities that needed to be filled. SIX. My dentist said pregnancy can make teeth weak and more susceptible to damage. So, when I was pregnant with Mr. C, I vowed I wouldn’t get any more cavities. I was vigilant about brushing (even more so), I flossed (even more so), and added a cavity rinse to my regimen. Needless to say when the doc told me I had two small cavities at my first postpartum dental exam, I was annoyed.

Now I had the hair loss, the cavities and every day before I get dressed I’m reminded of the road map that now exists on my lower stomach in the form of stretch marks. Of course we can’t forget the 5 inch scar across my upper pelvic region from which they were both cut and pulled. They definitely both left their mark on my midsection.

They’ve done a number on my body (and mind).

My body isn’t what it used to be, my hair isn’t as luscious as it once was, and my teeth aren’t quite as healthy as they formerly were.

But, as I pulled that clump of my own hair out of the shower drain, I realized something. My hair will eventually grow back. Maybe not to the fullness it was before I had my babies, but it will grow again. My teeth will probably get worked on again before I enter the dentures phase of life anyways, no matter how much I brush and floss. As for my stomach, well it bears the scars of motherhood. Each mark tells the story of the boy that pushed on my stomach from the inside out, month after month, as he grew and grew into the baby I’d find my reason for living for – two times over. That five inch scar provided a safe portal for my eldest to pass through into the world, since his breech position would have made it dangerous the other way. It also provided a sound passage for his little brother to go through four years later.

I may have days where I feel like I give so much of myself to my children. Whether it be my hair, my body, and heck even my sanity. There are still days I look in the mirror and don’t recognize the woman standing in front of it and there are certainly times I miss the body I had when I was 19-years-old.

Those days are few and far between now. They are put in the back of my mind as I watch my four-year-old, who is the miniature male version of me, write his name at the kitchen table. Or when I watch my six-month-old as he plays in his exersaucer and his big blue eyes follow me as I carry a load of laundry upstairs and he cries because I’m the center of his entire world and when I’m out of sight he thinks I’m gone forever.

They are worth it.

Every cavity I have to get filled (even if not all of them are their fault), every stretch mark I will continue to apply with scar cream probably until the day I die, and every piece of hair I find in the shower drain.

They are so, so worth it.

Britt LeBoeuf

Britt is a married mother of two from northern New York. She has an undergraduate degree in Human Services. When she's not chasing down her two young children, she writes for sites such as Her View From Home, Scary Mommy, Filter Free Parents and Sammiches and Psych Meds. Check out her first published book, "Promises of Pineford" on Amazon too. On her blog, These Boys of Mine, she talks about parenting only boys, special needs parenting, mental health advocacy, being a miscarriage survivor and life as a crazy cat lady.