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 that “this happens all the time.”)
The second time it happened, though, I was just flat out scared:
Have I completely lost my mind??
Will I ever remember how to grocery shop again??!
AND WHY CAN’T I REMEMBER MY WALLET!!! (sob)
We’ve all been there, right? We’ve all left our wallets behind, our children behind (#forrealz), worn our slippers to the mall, put raw chicken back where it belongs — next to the Cheerios! — and forgot to put our cars in park. (These are all real examples y’all. Clearly you’re my tribe.)
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), and 87% said that you often feel frustrated by your forgetfulness. So, if ALL moms everywhere experience this, why does it happen??!
Well, recent research suggests that “pregnancy brain” and “mom brain” are attributed to certain “gray matter reductions” in the brain that are caused by surges of progesterone and estrogen that occur for up to two years postpartum.
However, this little article doesn’t explain why those of us whose babies are WELL beyond the age of 2 still experience Mom Brain. But according to an article in Parenting Magazine, there are four reasons why:
- Sleep deprivation (no kidding).
- Stress (yep, parenting is stressful).
- Diet (put down the popcorn, Jonna).
- Multi-tasking (come on! Isn’t that what all moms are known for?!)
So let me break this down for you: essentially our brains become rewired during pregnancy; but then we become too tired and too stressed out and eat too many of our feelings – after pregnancy – that we just sort of STAY in this #mombrain hypoxia!
Is there any hope then?
According to the Parenting Magazine “experts”, there is: they claim that in order to overcome Mom Brain, all we need to do is ……. wait for it ……. get MORE sleep!!!! (Ha! As if we didn’t already know that.)
Now, because I am an optimist I can’t end my article like that. So while I may not be a medical expert, I AM an expert on being a mom to three daughters, which means that I can say this: 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 made me laugh SO HARD when I was reading your survey comments!!! Seriously. You made me feel normal and NOT CRAZY for putting a plate AND a banana peel IN.TO.my.washing.machine. (Who does that?!?!)
So no…you are not alone, mama. We are ALL in this together!
Every single mother out there understands all of the tears and the lost hours of sleep; the crazy amounts of multi-tasking, popcorn-eating, and forgetfulness. We get all of this because we are a tribe of hard-working imperfect women who are living REAL lives.
Sure, we may forget to wear our bras when we pick up the wrong child from the wrong soccer practice, but we will never — and I mean NEVER — forget to love on our kids. And that counts for something.
So be encouraged today as you search for that misplaced cup of coffee cup. Don’t feel ashamed for losing it for the third time — just pour yourself another one and keep on doing what God has ordained you to do: mother your littles with ALL of your heart (and only some of your brain.)