There was a time in my life where I had a demanding job, went to school fulltime and ran my own business. I had it all pulled together, I never forgot an appointment and I could keep track of multiple task lists in my head. Then, I got pregnant and suddenly I had problems putting together comprehensive sentences and remembering where I put my car keys. Unfortunately, 3 pregnancies and 4 kids later, this is something that still negatively impacts my day-to-day life. Momnesia, pregnancy brain, baby brain, mummy brain, mom brain… Call it whatever you want but don’t call it a myth because based on the experience of just about every mom I have met, it definitely exists. Even scientific research has found evidence that hormonal changes from pregnancy and childbirth can affect brain function in women.
The symptoms include but aren’t limited to…
· Inability to remember simple phrases or the names of common objects
· Frequently losing your train of thought
· Inability to focus on logical task
· General feeling of “Brain Fog” throughout the day
· Constantly misplacing objects
· Inability to remember important names, dates and times
I am in no way trying to belittle the seriousness of anyone’s disease or mental disorder, however, if you were suddenly afflicted with this list of symptoms, would you not think there is something medically wrong with you???
“Mom Brain” has officially turned me into the typical “hot mess” of a mom. I have done everything from forgetting appointments that are listed in my multiple calendars (yes, I need more than one), to leaving the house with pajama pants still on, to brushing my teeth with face wash.
I have flooded my kitchen floor more than once because I completely forgot I was running water within just seconds of turning it on. I have lost my cell phone in the refrigerator, closet and bathroom cabinet on several different occasions and don’t even get me started on where my car keys disappear to. I once asked the person I was speaking to on the phone what I did with my cell phone… Ok, that happened more than once. I forgot my dog in the car and didn’t even realize it until he didn’t come running for his dinner about an hour later (don’t worry he is fine).
I can’t remember what I did over the weekend or just yesterday for that matter and I sometimes forget my kids’ names. Not to mention all the times I completely forget what I walked into a room to get. Some days attempting to formulate thoughts feels like driving through severe fog with no headlights and I feel a chronic need to nap.
Does this ring a bell for anyone? Are these all too common occurrences in your life? As far as I am concerned, “Mom Brain” is a disease, disorder, illness, condition…whatever you want to call it… that plagues me daily. It impairs the normal function of my body and brain throughout the entire day, every single day.
The moment I seem to feel like my old sharp self, a flare-up hits and sets me right back to square one. I don’t know what exactly to attribute all these symptoms to… the lack of sleep, hormonal changes or just the fact that the amount of information moms have to hold in our heads is completely overwhelming. Or maybe, in this day and age, moms are taking on too much and we have unreasonable expectations of ourselves.
I’ve had to develop systems in order to combat the effects of mom brain in my life. I have 3 different calendars… my cell with several alarms, one in the kitchen for the kid’s activities and an old-school planner for me. I still forget things on a regular basis. I try my best to eat a healthy diet, I drink water regularly and I actually do take a daily vitamin and yet “Mom Brain” still affects me.
Frankly, I would go so far as to classify it as a chronic disease or maybe even a mental disorder. One way or another it’s a condition that should be considered medically diagnosisable (is that even a word) because I feel like I am really losing my mind and I don’t see an end in sight. Am I the only one struggling to get through the day with clear thoughts? I guess that’s what one can expect from such a life-altering event like having children.
But are we all just suppose to accept it and try to get through the days to the best of our ability and hope that magically one day it will all return to normal? Are we doomed to suffer from the ailment of “Mom Brain” for the rest of our mothering lives?
Elisha Beach is a stay-at-home mom to four kids and four step-kids…Yes, you read that right—eight kids. She is a wife, home cook, taxi driver, herder of children, terrible housekeeper and founder of The Mom Forum.
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