I pretty much stopped shaving my underarms and, later, my legs, when I had my daughter. That was four years ago.
See, I have been blessed with soft, dark, obvious hair on my upper lip, legs, back, mons and underarms. Being hairy has been part of my life since even before puberty. I didn’t want to gross out my mom, doula, doctor or nurses during my induction so I tried to make a special effort — just for them! — to not have any “excess” body hair for my induction. This meant I spent the night before the induction awake at midnight in the tub all tired and swollen and PREGNANT giving a couple of extra passes to my underarms and plucking around my belly button. My body was like a raw, plucked chicken.
The deodorant I bought for my hospital bag was not my usual brand. The travel-sized plastic container was name-brand. It was powdery. It was scented. It was “extra strength”. Probably said something about being “strong enough for the Undead”. Things during labor and birth did not go the way anyone had hoped so afterward, in my craziness and baby blues, I tried so hard to look put together. I wasn’t fooling anyone, but dammit my face was washed of tears and my underarms smelt like I was smuggling baby powder and roses underneath my robe! I ignored the itchiness. I was ignoring every other basic need in order to push myself to be a “good mom” to my baby, so why would I stop to worry about an itch. I was giving myself chemical burns on my underarms – each swipe of deodorant or pass of a razor made it worse. So in addition to healing from major abdominal surgery, I had to stop shaving and I had to stop wearing deodorant. It was easy. And I realized most people weren’t going to say anything. So I just don’t shave my pits anymore. And eventually, I came to realize that I didn’t care for shaving my legs much either.
To stop shaving was one of the first things I started to do for MYSELF in healing from my birth. It was a chance to reclaim my bodily autonomy. Though sometimes I wish it was easier to keep things looking neat under a bathing suit bottom, or that I didn’t get self-conscious about my visual relation to Frida Kahlo, or paranoid that someone would see my hair legs under the bottom of a dressing room door, I’ve come to terms with the fact that this is how my genes are arranged. I can feel beautiful this way without conforming to the ideals of others.
So here’s a list of reasons I find it awesome not to shave my pits, my legs, or anything else that I don’t feel like removing hair from:
- less money spent on razors, lotions, etc.
- water savings
- no ingrown hairs!
- no nicks and cuts
- mild skin protectant
- soft hair is sexier than stubble
- patriarchy ain’t gonna keep me down
- because it makes the times I do shave a more interesting experience. *wink wink nudge nudge*
- because since becoming a parent, I personally choose not to make the time
- I don’t want my daughter to think there is anything wrong with her body
- It’s a fun secret that most people never notice anyway
- the breeze on my calves feels nice