Studies show that pregnancy alters our brains in order to be more responsive and helpful to our babies. This change can be permanent!
In college, I worked with a women that had 5 kids. One day, out of the blue, she says, "Don't have kids. The lack of oxygen to your brain during delivery kills brain cells. It's been proven. I've had 5 kids. How many brain cells do you think I've lost? A lot." I thought she was making a joke, but her facial expression never changed. She was 100% serious.
This awkward conversation made an impression on me. I believe, because lately I've been feeling flighty and scatter brained. Which is what my coworker was getting at with the 'loss of brain cells'. I wondered if she was really onto something. Whatever you want to call it; momnesia, pregnancy brain, mom brain, or loss of brain cells, from what I've found, it's the real deal. She was absolutely right; something indeed happens to our brains....
Using MRI to scan the brains of pregnant women and their partners before and after their first pregnancy, researchers determined that the first time mothers had less grey matter than that of the comparison group, 20 women who had never given birth and 17 of their male partners. The first time fathers in this study showed no brain change, suggesting that the changes a woman's brain goes though are real and not just sleep deprivation and being new to parenthood. The volume loss was mostly seen in areas associated with memory and social understanding. Women whose brains changed the most showed higher attachment to their baby. These changes were still present 2 years later! Research doesn't go beyond the 2 year mark, so we don't really know how long mom brain can really last.
Apparently, this is much like the brain changes that happen to us all during adolescents. The increase in hormones decreases our grey matter. This does not necessarily mean decreased brain activity. Actually, there seems to be increased activity in the now thinned out areas of the brain. It's as if our brains reorganize themselves. This makes sense for postpartum women. Our brains are now maternally wired to take care of our babies, NOT remember what we ate yesterday for breakfast. LOL!
Pregnant or planning to get pregnant? Here's what to expect:
YOU WILL FORGET EVERYTHING
Your baby will be quietly playing or sleeping. You will be droned out watching TV or surfing the net (mindlessly. Because you are sleep deprived and really just sleeping with your eyes open) when it hits you..... OH $H!T I'm someone's mother! You frantically try and remember where you last put your baby. Then you look over and realize she is still right where you left her 5 minutes ago. Three feet from you.
Inevitably, you will forget something when packing you or your baby's bag. You will THINK you have your shit together. You will be so falsely confident in this thinking. Case in point; Tylan dropped Tilly and I at the grocery one afternoon while he headed off to run a few other errands. We try and run errands around Tilly's nap time, so she can sleep through mundane adult necessities. LOL! Anyway, half way through shopping, the cart was already overflowing (damn toilet paper and paper towels!) and Tilly started to wake up. She sometimes wakes up hard, as if she was having a nightmare. Without opening her eyes, she starts crying right there in the middle of the canned goods aisle. It was at that moment I realized I forgot to pack her bottle. My stomach dropped. I started to sweat. I felt weak. I frantically texted and called Tylan to hurry up and come get us because we didn't have a bottle. I was in full on panic mode. He level headedly reminded me that I was standing in a grocery store and that grocery stores sell formula in a convenient ready made bottle. O.M.G. I felt pretty silly. I swear, when your baby cries, your brain just sorta turns to mush.
YOU ARE DUMBER NOW
Your spelling suddenly reverts to that of a 1st grader. I shared a picture of Tilly and I dressed alike on Facebook. I spelled the popular hashtag, #twinning, as #twining. You know, twine. Like a ball of string. No one said anything. I'm not sure if I appreciate people not pointing out my stupidity, or annoyed that they let me look like that. Either way, I did it again when sharing a news article.
A manor in England is an estate, main house, or mansion ;)
Speaking isn't any better. Stuttering and stammering over words, Recalling stories out of sequence. It's like giving the punchline first and everyone is left confused. So, they just smile and nod awkwardly to make you feel as if you really completed a comprehend-able sentence. When really it sounded more like gurgling.
TIP: Keep your stories short. Don't bother trying to remember details. Even better? Stay quiet unless you are talking about baby. That's all your brain is wired for right now anyway.
Thanks for joining me!
Until next time,
HEY! YOU'LL LOVE THESE!
Pinnable image for Pinterest!