Hey, I’m Samantha Eck!
I recently relocated back to my hometown in the Finger Lakes (NY) after living in Lancaster, PA for a decade. I am a self-described type A, enneagram 3 (if you know, you know).
Like you, I wear many hats. I am a mom of a loving and fierce two-year-old daughter, and the wife of a cop. I am a communication and marketing professional by day, who loves to log off and spend time outdoors with my family and friends, especially over a good meal!
I am a big believer in self-love and giving yourself an abundance of grace. I believe in being brave and re-writing the “rules” so that you can build a life that you love.
I fully believe in the power of a great therapist, a good meal and a fabulous tribe. If you’d like to join me on my journey through this crazy adventure called life, let’s connect on Instagram @Samantha.Eck.
Sending you love and hope!
Unexpected Lessons from Loss
The tile was cold under my feet. My eyes were closed, my heart was half hopeful and the other half scared to death. I slowly opened them, glanced to the white windowsill, and there it was: two pink lines. Pregnant, again!
I wish I could say all I felt was joy, but that wouldn’t be honest. I was very joyful. But my heart was also terrified. I wasn’t sure if I could handle losing another baby so soon. Only a month earlier, I miscarried around seven or eight weeks.
This new little life was certainly a surprise, a very welcomed one. Like all new mamas, I was prepared. Prepared with ginger gummies, Icees, crackers by my bed – ALL the things!
But what I wasn’t prepared for was what happened next.
The baby was growing great, my body was doing all the right things, and we were starting to dream of how we would tell our families, who had been patiently waiting for seven years.
But one morning, around 10 weeks, I was in the shower and I noticed more of my hair was shedding than normal. I didn’t think too much of it, but then the next day and the day after that, handfuls of my hair continued to fall out.
I thought it was hormones because, according to my internet research, some women experience hair loss during pregnancy instead of after. My body was doing weird shit, so maybe this was part of it? I tried washing my hair less often, but that didn’t help.
By 15 weeks, I was losing so much hair, it would be all around the base of my desk chair at work by the end of the day.
I was counting down the days to my next doctor appointment. Prior to my appointment I had called about the hair loss, but the nurse told me what the internet said, it was just a “minor symptom.”
But what I felt was anything but minor…
At my next appointment, my OBGYN said the same thing, and refused to run tests to make sure my little peanut was okay. I felt desperate. This didn’t see normal. I felt like as my belly grew, I was looking more and more like a naked mole rat and no one knew why it was happening!
As someone who held their outward appearance in a high regard, it was humiliating, and as a type A, Enneagram 3, I had zero control. Was something wrong with my baby? Thankfully my PCP agreed to run some tests to calm my nerves,
but the hair kept falling…
One night, I got brave. Sitting on the couch, computer resting on my stomach, I looked up “pregnancy baldness.” Because that’s basically what I was – bald.
And there it was: “How Pregnancy Alopecia Impacted Me.”
It was one mom’s account of when she had lost all of her hair due to Alopecia. As I looked down past my PJ shorts, I realized I no longer had leg hair, or arm hair or ANY HAIR! I cried…okay, I bawled! I couldn’t believe I had waited SO long to be a mom and BAM! Now I looked like a freak of nature while experiencing it all.
After my personal pity party was over, I started the search for wigs.
And let me tell you, Amazon is not the place to order one – ha! I found a sweet local hairdresser who was a cancer survivor and sold wigs.
I showed up desperate. I needed hair and I needed it now! She helped me try on a couple of her “favorite girls.” I wanted natural, so no one would know. We settled on a beauty with bangs that hit my shoulders, close to my natural cut and color. She showed me how to put on my wig cap, how to make sure it was positioned right, brush it, clean it and then she even trimmed it to fit my face.
As I walked out with my new hair and into my ultrasound appointment, I felt like my old self.
In that same appointment, my doctor complimented my hair regrowth. I felt pure joy watching my doctor’s mouth drop to the floor as I pulled my wig off like a movie star and told her she was fired.
Later that night, tears were shed as my husband shaved the hair I had left. This was the last time I cried over hair.
Looking back now, pregnancy induced Alopecia was a blessing in more ways than one.
In fact, as the summer heat set in, I was happy to not have to shave or ever do my hair.
I started to feel more confident and started to better understand that the people I truly loved could care less if I was rocking a messy bun or my scalp.
I started going to the store without my wig and hardly ever wore a head covering at home unless I was cold. I learned a lot about releasing control too, and as parent of a now two-year-old, holy crap did I need this!
I realized that even if I followed rules and did everything right, things can still go sideways. And that, is not my fault, but it is my responsibility to advocate for myself.
Fast forward to the end of my pregnancy:
I started to have some hair regrowth, and still my amazing PCP referred me to a dermatologist. The doctor told me my post-delivery options. She also noticed a spot on my nose that wasn’t healing and she wanted to take a biopsy. Little did I know my Alopecia would literally save my face. I later found out that spot was skin cancer; I had it removed 3 months after my daughter was born.
Today, I have a full head of hair. My old self would have never had the balls to rock a mohawk, but guess what? I freaking did! I started to walk through life with open hands because of this unique experience. It transformed me even though it was terrifying and life can still be really scary.
I now know who I am, I know what matters, and I know who matters.
In the moments of loss, whatever you may be losing, I would recommend giving yourself some grace and time to grieve.
We are only human, our hearts are so fragile, and we only get one. It is worth fighting for, it is worth finding peace and finding your tribe. We are worth SO much more than what society tells us, and our beauty and potential is not related to our physical appearance.
And the moment we truly love ourselves, like I mean unapologetically love our flaws, that’s when we step into our divine selves and obtain a power that no one can ever take away.