I’m a new mom and I thought the worst thing I would encounter at five months is teething, but because of my baby’s West African roots, combing her hair could be a top contender. I was mistakenly under the impression, (as I have been with several things so far) that I wouldn’t have to worry about that for at least a year, but my child has hair covering every inch of her big circumference. The good news is with baby oil, a wide toothed baby comb, and above all, distraction in the form of breastfeeding, we are able to get through it. But I couldn’t help but wonder if our journeys going to be more difficult if I stay reserved on my stance to never give her a relaxer.
I myself am still getting muscle relaxers, but I wanted to spare her from a lifetime of harsh and damaging chemicals. After all, natural is becoming more popular, and if we are honest with ourselves we know relaxers are not really necessary. My decision will certainly be breaking the norms in my family. My mom lathered that cream on my head when I was very little, and I’ve just now started to have a healthier set of hair. I’m not condemning her, or anyone who chooses to give their child a relaxer, like I said, I have yet to make the switch. However, I do think we need to take greater responsibility when it comes to applying chemicals on a child’s scalp. I remember that myself and my younger cousins had it done at about seven or eight. After doing some research, I was astonished to find out you are not supposed to relax a child’s head till they are twelve, given these are critical development ages. But come now… I didn’t grow up with anyone who waited till the age of twelve to get a perm. Everyone just kind of throws caution to the wind. So, hypothetically if I were to change my mind, what’s the right age? Am I making a mountain out of a molehill? Or am I right in staying firm with plaits, braids, jojoba oil, and screams.