National Bald is Beautiful Day
Our son Jaxon was born with a head full of hair. Our friends even joked he looked like a little weatherman ready to report.
I remember at the age of three when we first noticed spots of hair loss, the size of a dime. We initially thought that rubbing his head on the car seat might have caused it until more spots appeared, and the first ones became larger. At one point, he had a few areas the size of half dollars. We asked his pediatrician about the hair loss at his yearly check-up, but Jaxon was healthy. The doctor felt his hair would return on its own within a few months, and we would revisit it. We felt relief--(good, everything's fine, and his hair will return).
But almost a year into it, his hair had not grown back. Half of his hair was already gone on one side of his head, showing a slick spot. We combed what hair remained over his head to try to cover the area.
Our pediatrician referred us to a dermatologist that officially diagnosed Jaxon with alopecia. One of the forms of an autoimmune disease is your body's immune system attacking your healthy cells. In Jaxon's case, the immune system attacked his hair. The doctor explained that there is no explanation on what causes it or why it begins. Also, the doctor prepared us that Jaxon would lose all body hair - eyebrows, eyelashes, arm & leg hair, and his head hair would not return. This was a first for me. I never knew about autoimmune diseases or had ever heard of alopecia.
I did not understand how our healthy boy would have complete hair loss by the age of four. You start questioning yourself as a parent—did I feed him the right foods, did I do this or that? Knowing none of this was in our control, it was nothing we could have prevented because there is no explanation for why it occurs.
After that visit, we decided it was time to shave Jaxon's head. We posted pictures, made a statement to family and friends about his diagnosis, and wanted to avoid stares or questions when they saw us the next time. It was a shock for all.
Jaxon was four and did not understand what was happening, but it was summer, and he thought he got a cool haircut! But, as kids age, they start noticing differences and asking questions. He thought his hair was gone forever because we had shaved it, that it was our fault—which we explained to him was not the case and shared about what had happened to his hair. We would see new fuzz appear on his head and praise God. We prayed for God to restore what was lost and believed HE would.
We have all had a journey growing up and know it is not always easy. Being new parents and not knowing how to handle your kid being picked on is one of the most challenging journeys. My husband "brings calm to my storms." He is so good at speaking positivity and truth into situations. Myself, I tend to go into a "momma bear" stance! Not always the best response, to be honest.
The older Jaxon got, the more and more name-calling continued. When you are called names year after year, your self-esteem suffers. Kids will be kids and genuinely do not understand the power of words.
Seeing your child hurting hurts you as a parent. Being left out of simple, fun events like "crazy hair day" was a challenge. Silly, but a challenge. The years only got harder, not easier, as I thought they would. Jaxon was in year seven of being bald, nothing in his control but yet the name calling did not stop. That year, he was finally able to meet Landon Jackson. Seeing someone in person that faced the same challenges but overcame them lit a fire, I believe, in Jaxon.
We saw a change in Jaxon - more confidence. He joined the school band for the first time that year and excelled. He received the Outstanding Baritone award that year. He applied and was accepted into the robotics program at school the following year. He continued his love of playing football and will be a part of the defensive line for his junior high football team. He has a great group of friends! He does not know a stranger and will talk to anyone about their interest or his. He has the biggest, most caring heart of anyone I know, and we are so proud of that boy!
Our "handsome Jax." I'm sure he hears that more than what he cares for, but he is. Of course, there are still times he doubts that and says, "no girl will like me," (but we all know that's not true!) Besides, momma is not ready for all of that anyway.
We had always prayed for God to heal him, to restore what was lost, and we believe HE did. He restored Jaxon's heart and mind and filled him with the confidence he was always meant to have.
Jaxon's eyebrows and eyelashes returned, and we still believe in God's healing to restore his hair. Today and every day, we have faith in knowing that God's will is what we always want.