The first time I went to the grocery store and bagged all of my groceries but didn’t have my wallet I was shocked.
How could this happen?! I exclaimed to the cashier, rubbing my pregnant belly and exasperating that I had NEVER done this before. (Bless her for being gracious and telling me “this happens all the time.”)
The second time it happened, though, I was just flat out scared.
Have I completely lost my mind?? I wondered.
Will I EVER remember how to grocery shop again??!
Why is this happening to me??! I USED TO BE SO ORGANIZED! (sob)
We’ve all been there, right? We’ve all left our wallets behind, our children behind (ha!), worn our slippers to the mall, put raw chicken back where it belongs — in the pantry! — lost multiple Christmas presents, brought the wrong children to the wrong appointments, and forgot to put our cars in park. (Seriously, you guys killed me with your comments!).
140 of you answered my survey, and 97% of you said that you experience “mom brain”. 85% of you thought your brain would eventually go back to normal (bless you, other 15%, for having realism as a strength), and 87% said that you often feel frustrated by your forgetfulness. So, if ALL moms everywhere experience this, why does it happen??!
Recent research suggests that “pregnancy brain” and “mom brain” are attributed to certain “gray matter reductions” in our brains caused by surges of progesterone and estrogen that occur for up to two years postpartum. (Two years because that’s as far as the researchers have tracked their 25 subjects.)
These grey matter reductions occur in the brain regions of social cognition and theory of mind (the parts that allow us to tend to other people’s needs). It’s hypothesized that these reductions occur so that we can keep our new babies alive (by ONLY attending to their needs), and so we can bond with them.
Nice for them, right, but what about our other kids! And this also doesn’t explain why those of us whose babies are WELL beyond the age of two still experience Mom Brain!
Well, according to an article in Parenting Magazine, their experts state that the four causes of mom brain are:
- Sleep deprivation (no kidding).
- Stress (yep, parenting is stressful).
- Diet (put down the caramel corn, Jonna).
- Multi-tasking (come on! Isn’t that a mom trademark?!)
Essentially, then, our brains are rewired during pregnancy, but then we become too tired and too maxed out and eat too many of our feelings to even notice if they ever go back to normal again!
What gives then?
(You’ll love this…) The Parenting Magazine “experts” said that in order to overcome Mom Brain we need to just (wait for it….) get MORE sleep!!!! Ha!
As if all mothers everywhere didn’t know that!
And what’s worse is that once you become a parent, you NEVER sleep the same way again! And I’m not talking about the newborn stage. I’m talking about the peeing-in-the-bed-afraid-of-the-dark-breaking-curfew stage, which basically exists until you push them out and they turn 18.
Well done, Parenting Magazine. You’ve basically confirmed our greatest fears: that we will be like this forever!
Now, because I’m an optimist, I can’t end my post like that! especially since my main purpose for writing it was so that we could all laugh and feel united (which I think was achieved, right?) So while I may not be a medical expert, I AM an expert on being a mom, which means that I can say this confidently: surviving Mom Brain isn’t just about better sleep or cutting out popcorn (cause, I can’t and won’t do that). It’s about community and laughter.
You guys! You made me laugh SO HARD while reading your comments!!! It made me feel normal and like I wasn’t crazy for putting a plate and a banana peel INTO my washing machine when I had meant to put it by the sink. (Seriously, who does that??! But I don’t need to explain myself to you……cause you GET IT!).
WE ARE NOT ALONE MAMAS! We are ALL in this together.
We get all of the tears,
the lost hours of sleep,
the crazy amounts of multi-tasking,
forgetting to do X, Y, and Z.
We get all of this because we are are a tribe of gorgeous imperfect women who are living REAL lives. It’s true, we might forget to wear our bras while picking up the wrong child from the wrong soccer practice, but we will never — and I mean NEVER — forget to love on our kids. That’s one thing I know for sure.
So put THAT in your coffee and drink it mamas! because #LOVEWINS!!!
Now go and find that cup of coffee you’ve misplaced for the third time, reheat it, and pat yourself on the back, because you’re an AWESOME MOM WHO FORGETS STUFF!