From forgetfulness to poor decision-making and a lack of concentration, pregnant women have long complained of so-called ‘baby brain,’ which Scientists have now confirmed is a genuine condition (big cheer). So can we just talk about the myth that this condition only affects pregnant women?!
Because I am still suffering from baby brain, almost two years after giving birth and it shows no sign of disappearing.
Granted I am currently in week 7 of lockdown, with a toddler and have completely lost all sense of reality. My sanity is on the verge of collapse but pre-lockdown, I would say that I still suffer from baby brain most days. I’ll find myself drifting off and I have to ask Nathan to repeat a question before answering.
Before Motherhood I would categorise myself as organised, efficient and borderline OCD. I like things done a certain way and everything in my house, car and classroom has a place ‘it lives.’ When things aren’t in their place, then I have to tidy up before, I can begin the task I originally set out on. As you can imagine, with a toddler it’s impossible to achieve a clean house until they go to sleep. I’ve had to adapt and teach myself to prioritise, a daily battle but we persist, none the less.
Baby brain isn’t just baby brain, it’s toddler brain, teenager brain, Mother-in-law brain and when needed, Husband brain. Our brain just decides on our behalf to forget things or to have selective hearing, sometimes to totally go completely blank at really crucial times in our lives. But as of yet, there is no scientific proof. But I don’t need proof, I have Mothers intuition and I know that I am nowhere near as efficient or organised as I once was.
Toddler brain affects my decision-making, planning and memory, everyday!
A couple of months ago, Nathan was away on business so I was juggling work, day care and George for the week. Finally, I could watch my TV shows and movies of my choice and indulge in some of ‘those girly programmes’ that I no longer get to do. After a long day at work, I put George to bed, showered and sat down with my oven pizza in my new pajamas. But I couldn’t find my glasses. Anywhere.
I spent an hour looking and then cried. My pizza had gone cold and I had now missed my two hour window of completing a film before falling asleep on the couch. Turns out I left them in the car, along with my handbag – which I discovered in the morning when I trying to organize myself for work.
It’s okay when you’re on maternity leave to suffer from baby brain, because you’re also suffering from exhaustion and sleep deprivation. In short, you’re that f****d that you probably didn’t even notice baby brain!
When you return to work and slowly submerge back into the adult world, you’ve changed. Not just because you’re a Mum now and you’re a nervous wreck because you’ve left your precious child in the hands of someone else. You’re different because your brain now prioritises all things baby related, anything or anyone else is secondary to that.
My first few weeks back at school were a whirlwind, it was just like that first month with a newborn. I was running around like a bunny in the headlights. People and students wanted things, I hadn’t done them.
I was calling nursery on every break, I forgot password log-ins, the times of lessons, memorizing names of my pupils was a nightmare. It was bad and some pupils began referring to me as Miss Scatterbrain.
One day, I was reading a novel to my class when I saw a hand pop up from the corner of my eye. Normally I wouldn’t invite questions but I like the pupil in question so, I made eye contact and he said, “Miss, did you remember to send the email to unlock my homework account?”
My facial expression must have said it all. He just smiled then said, “You’re welcome” and returned his attention to the book in front of him. Or course we all burst out laughing! His timing was impeccable. And he was right, I hadn’t remembered. I forget a lot these days.
Men don’t seem to suffer from baby brain, selective hearing, but they appear immune to this condition. Along with worry, stress and the ability to multi-task. There are some advantages to baby brain, I no longer feel obliged to try to balance work, life and a toddler, all while looking slim and like I have my life together.
I write this blog because I think that we are really hard on ourselves as Mums and we should factor in baby brain. Accept that we can’t be superhuman, but we can and should aspire to be. And that it is perfectly normal to forget stuff and its okay if today is one of those days where you just have to survive until bedtime.
Baby brain is a thing and we gotta learn to live with it. Better still, use it to our advantage…like when you get to check out and you tell your other half you, “forgot your purse,” silver lining you know?!