After being in the hair game for so long, attempting to grow your hair to a certain length, you may come to a point where you feel your hair has "stopped growing".
This is actually very common. I have gone through this phase myself. I have noticed that it is common when you are between goals, such as SL - APL, or APL - BSL.
First thing I have to say is that, hair never just stops growing. There are other factors at play here.
There are 3 growth phases that each strand of hair goes through. The Anagen, Catagen, and the Telogen phases. Each phase marks a significant point in the growth cycle of the hair.
The Anagen phase is the growth phase. During this phase the hair grows at a rate around 1cm every 28 days, or 1/2" each month. During this phase each strand will grow from the scalp to whatever lenght it can. The lenght of time it takes to complete this phase is genetically predetermined and will be the determining factor to how long your hair can actually grow. This is the longest phase, lasting for years.
Now say your growth phase only lasts for 3 years. Your hair will grow under perfect conditions to about 18". On me this is a little more than MBL, I am 5'7". If you're shorter it will be longer and if you're taller it may be a bit shorter. For the majority of people the growth phase is much more than 3 years. You should be able to at least be able to make it to the hip, I would like to think.
The Catagen phase, lasts only a few weeks and is the point at which the hair stops growing.
Finally, the Telogen phase, is when the hair sheds and the follicle prepares for the development of a new hair. This phase lasts for a few months.
Each hair on the scalp follows this cycle at different points. There is never a point when all the hair on your head follows this cycle at the exact same time. If it did then every few years we would shed all of our hair at once, we would be bald for a few months, and then the hair would grow back...
Therefore, based on this the hair as a whole does seem like it never "stops" growing, in a perfect world. If you cut it, it will grow back. As long as its taken care of it will grow to whatever length you want.
If you reach a point in you hair growth journey where it seems as if the hair has "stopped" growing there are most likely other things at play.
You should look at your regimen and assess your strong and weak points. Have you reached SL and you are wearing your hair down a lot? Do you keep a satin scarf on at night? Are you deep conditioning at least weekly?
Has anything in your regimen changed? Have you recently began to take any medication that may be making your hair shed? Are you taking vitamins for growth and health? Have you been using heat regularly? Are you trimming too often?
There are so many questions one could ask. But basically if your hair has reached a goal and you can not seem to make it to the next maybe something you are doing is causing the ends to break off.
But then again it may not be so complicated. The texture of natural hair causes it to shrink up and it may seem much shorter than it really is. Have you been checking you hair too often to see if it has grown. A watched pot never boils you know..
Take a picture of your hair and wait 2-4 months to take another. Compare the pictures. Do you see a difference? It might not feel any different but you might just see a significant difference in either the lenght or fullness of the hair.
If you have not straightened you hair in a few months or so, maybe go ahead and pull out that ceramic flat iron. I'm sure you will see a difference if you have been taking great care of your hair.
This is why its good to keep a hair journal. If you keep pics of your progress there will be no question as to if your hair is growing or not. If you become frustrated, think its too much, or want to quit you can always take a look at where you started and how far you've come.
You can be you own inspiration to keep pushing forward. This is actually how this blog started out along with my fotki album. Link in the sidebar.
In summary, we have all been there. Don't let it get to you, because you can and will make your goal. Treat your hair like fine silk and it will grow. I hope this makes sense. I'm posting form the EVO so please ignore any typos..
HTH & HHG