The baby brain phenomenon.
I had heard about it, read about it and many a mother and mum-to-be had joked about it to me.
“I’m not going to succumb to this baby brain lark”… or so I thought … until the gym shoe incident, Vivid Light Festival incident, car park incident … ahhh so many stories to share.
Hmm, the Vivid Festival mix-up of dates. Heavily pregnant, I pulled the family away from their various digital screens and distractions to head out into the chilly Spring evening and experience some culture. En route to see the light show I decided to log into their website from my mobile to check the main attractions. The landing page hit my screen and 5 seconds later the festival dates grabbed my attention.
I looked at them long and hard, first in disbelief, then in dismay, then willing them to change… but they didn’t. The festival launch date was not for another week! I had dragged everybody out for nothing and by now we were almost in the CBD. I sheepishly imparted my news to a chorus of groans and off we drove in search of a suitable Plan B. I shared my Baby Brain moment on my Facebook page and within minutes I was inundated with stories of similar such moments from other mums… and I realised I was not alone. It was then that the idea came to me…
Why not start sharing the hilarious baby brain moments I experience as a mum, when it seems my once-sharp professional mind has taken a vacation. My intention? Simply, to give fellow mums a laugh and show them they’re not the only ones suffering from baby brain.
I first saw the early signs of the onset of baby brain at about four months into my pregnancy. I was at the gym about to start a pilates class … I happened to glance down to admire my new gym shoes and was horrified to see I had one new shoe and one old shoe on … and they weren’t even the same style or colour!!! I think the girls around me must have thought this woman with the slightly round tummy (looking more like I had eaten too many pies at lunch rather than a glowing mum-to-be) was panting from lack of oxygen, but in fact I was chuckling hard at myself.
This was also the moment I spontaneously chose to announce our pregnancy on Facebook – as we know nothing is ‘official’ until it’s posted on Facebook these days. As it turned out, I wasn’t alone in my baby-brain experiences, as other mums replied to my “odd shoes” post and shared a few of their own funny incidents. One woman told me a story of how she ended up driving out of a car park with someone else’s car! I will share that story one day. Even my mum, probably the most organised and switched-on person I know, confessed she had turned up to judge at an agricultural show in odd shoes. And so I discovered that even the most seemingly organised mum to-be can succumb to baby brain occasionally.
It all got me thinking… if so many mums are going through the same mishaps and occasionally confused state, then what might be the cause? After a fair bit of reading up, it turns out pregnant mums actually have a valid medical excuse for feeling they left their mind at the grocery store.
According to researchers, the brain cell volume of pregnant women actually decreases during the third trimester, regaining the volume a few months post delivery. The author of Female Brain Dr Louann Brizendine, says “Scientists are unsure of exactly why the size of the brain changes, but it’s not that a woman is losing brain cells … the mother’s brain shrinks because of changes in cellular metabolism required for restructuring brain circuits—getting ready to turn some one-lane highways into superhighways.” There are plenty of other notes on the subject, and I must say it was a huge relief to know that baby brain is a temporary state of mind.
Or so I thought … four months into my baby boy’s life and I’m still experiencing some baby brain moments … so what’s my excuse now? I’m going with plain old tiredness and distraction from looking after the precious little person in my life.
To be continued…