Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Baby Brain

Unlike Man Flu, baby brain is a genuine, debilitating infection, affectation, inflection, affliction. Some say it's the result of your brain gently marinating in a potent cocktail of baby-making hormones, or the slight rise in your body's temperature. While others believe that the thought of giving birth and adding a new human to your world is such a distraction that your brain can't possibly process anything else. Whatever it is, I don't know any mums-to-be who have escaped this particular pregnancy side-effect.

While you may be a gorgeous, glowing, baby-making goddess on the outside (or not), upstairs there is not a whole lot going on. In other words, the lights are on but no one's home. I noticed a big change when I was pregnant with J, I felt like my brain was turning into swiss cheese, and once he was born things didn't really get better. I must have lost a million brain cells over the last year and dropped a few IQ points just through the sheer effort of trying to keep my tiny human alive, running on very little sleep and desperate for some kind of instruction manual. Not to mention the effort required in putting myself back together physically and dealing with the hormonal "ups and downs" that come after having said baby. Then I fell pregnant again and realised I must've regained some of that previous brain power over the last two years, because once again I've noticed a significantly diminished mental capacity. I am the embodiment of the saying "I'd forget my head if it wasn't screwed on."

On the weekend I updated my Facebook status, joking that I should not be left in charge of small children or allowed to operate heavy machinery. But I was only half-joking. Just that morning I had been to the supermarket and wandered around aimlessly until I remembered what it was I actually needed. I had written a list but forgot to take it with me! I ran through a mental list of all the ingredients in the dish I was cooking (a basic beef stroganoff) but still drew a blank on what I was missing. In the end I remembered, mushrooms, aha!  But later that day I walked out the door and left my keys behind. It wasn't until I got to the car that I realised. I forget what I'm saying mid-sentence and some days my son has a better vocabulary than I do. I often go upstairs to get something, get distracted by something else, and come back downstairs without what it was I went up there for in the first place. Just today I was filling in forms for J's playgroup enrolment and I had no idea what day it was, let alone what the date was. Don't get me started on how overwhelmed I was by the direct debit authorisation form...

The upside to all of it is that I am completely oblivious to everything else going on around me. I can sit back in my baby-induced haze and play with my little boy all day. Now that I've finished work (goodness knows what I taught those poor children) I don't need much thinking power. Which is just as well because I'm going to be relieved from grocery shopping duty pretty soon, and if I leave the oven on one more time, cooking might be out of the question too.

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