My friends and I joke about it all the time: Since about mid-way through our first pregnancies, our brains seem to have stopped working and have coasted on half juices ever since. We forget appointments, deadlines, and our underwear. We can't remember what we've gone upstairs to retrieve. We stop mid-sentence and say, "Wait, what I was talking about?" Yesterday my best friend left a frozen pizza on top of her minivan and drove away from the supermarket completely unaware. It's fine. So while we can all attest it's real, what causes mom brain?
According to Santa Monica OB-GYN Dr. Yvonne Bohn, studies show there actually are no structural changes to the brain during pregnancy. "However, hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy are dramatic," she affirms. "Estrogen and progesterone levels rise rapidly, causing multiple physiological symptoms ranging from nausea, anorexia, fatigue, and insomnia. Sleep deprivation and fatigue can lead to forgetfulness and cognition issues, possibly leading to the infamous 'pregnancy brain.'"
So what if you're still experiencing mom brain long after pregnancy? Bohn says anything causing interrupted sleep can impact cognition and memory. Interrupted sleep? Oh, you mean motherhood?
But even after your kids all consistently sleep through the night, when you figure up all the things modern moms are doing, its no wonder we've kind of lost our marbles. Its time to respect the mom brain, people. Let's take a look at the other actual causes.
1. Building A Human Being From Scratch
Your body is doing crazy amazing things when it grows new life. Physiologically speaking, you are bound to take a hit when it comes to the effects of those pumping hormones, so give your whacked out brain a break.
2. And Getting Them *Out* Of Your Body
Hello, you brought a person into the world. That takes a toll on your body and mind, and postpartum hormones are notorious for making your thoughts feel fuzzy. The worst of it will pass within six weeks, but some women swear they're never the same.
3. Being Held Personally Responsible For Someone Else's Feces
An easy self-assessment for your risk of a case of mom brain might be: How many diapers have you changed today, and what was the ratio of poopy ones?
4. Getting Buried In Cheerios
Is there even a floorboard in the backseat of my car? I can't find it under all that cereal.
5. Keeping Up With 30,000 Appointments
If you've got more than one kid, you're feeling this one especially hard. Every time you blink, someone has a checkup. Better prep that calendar beforehand or you don't stand a chance.
6. Hearing Your Name Repeated All Day Long
This is a verifiable form of torture, right?
7. And Repeating Yourself All Day, Too
Nothing like hearing the sound of your own voice over, and over, and over...
8. Sleep Deprivation
Wait, brains need sleep to function properly? Suddenly the last seven years of my life make so much sense.
9. Searching For The Perpetually Missing Shoe
It's a cardinal rule of childhood that matching shoes must never, ever be left in the same place. That would make your life much too easy and give you a chance at putting words into a cohesive sentence.
10. Stalking The Mailman So He Doesn't Ring The Doorbell At Naptime
You know you've done it. (Unless, like my friend Jen, you just uninstalled the entire doorbell.)
11. Breaking Up The Bickering Between Siblings
Nothing will drive a woman crazy like the manic chirpings of brotherly love.
12. Inventing Consequences Off The Top Of Your Head
What are you, Houdini? Oh come on, create an effective but not punitive threat, specific to this particular situation, out of thin air in 3, 2, 1...!
13. Thinking Of Another Excuse For A Target Run
Keep brainstorming. Surely there's another cleaning supply you need to pick up while you walk around with a latte and a child who is finally strapped down.
14. Getting Lost In The Pile Of Laundry In The Living Room
Who can be expected to think straight when you've got Mount Kilimanjaro between you and the outside world?
15. Loving Someone More Than You Could Have Ever Imagined
Love. It will make you crazy, man.