You’re an independent, modern woman. You’re organised, focused and intelligent… Ms “ultra-reliable” and “if you need to get it done, just ask *insert your name here*”. Problem is, though, that since your baby was born, you can never find your glasses (they’re on top of your head) or keys (have you checked the fridge?), keep calling the lawnmower the vacuum cleaner, and have arrived at the shops without shoes on – the list goes on.
Relax – it’s perfectly normal!
Regardless of what your other half (or the rest of the world) may say, “Mommy Brain” is a real condition that’s backed up by science.
During pregnancy and after your baby is born, you are experiencing not just physical but psychological changes – some lasting for years after the birth of your little one. More studies need to be done to understand the exact meaning of these changes, but researchers agree that these brain modifications prepare you for motherhood, helping you understand the needs and emotions of your baby.
Rest assured, you didn’t, in fact, “lose IQ points” when you had a child. Research done by Purdue University concluded that moms scored on par with childless women when tested for attention capacity. But, unfortunately, the side effects of Mommy Brain are all too real, with moms reporting they feel foggy, forgetful, and sometimes even experiencing heightened emotional states.
How to Cope
Not everyone will experience Mommy Brain in the same way, so it’s important to be patient and gentle with yourself. Remind yourself that “this is normal” and take some steps to help yourself cope with both the condition and how it affects your life.
Here are some suggestions from the Mom2B® team:
Get Some Sleep
As a new mom, you’re up at all hours of the night, feeding, changing nappies, and comforting a crying baby. Sleep deprivation is part of the deal.
But it’s a well-known fact that trying to function while experiencing sleep deprivation can be as dangerous as trying to perform tasks while drunk. Additionally, lack of sleep increases forgetfulness and moodiness while decreasing your energy levels.
Getting enough sleep is paramount to performing your mom duties well when you’re awake. It also gives your brain a little boost by giving it time to relax and recover.
As the saying goes, “those who fail to plan should plan to fail”. By knowing what you should be doing, when, you’re taking the pressure off your new mom brain.
Taking baby for a check-up or playdate? Pack what you’ll need the night before. Got a lot of errands to run? Make a list and keep it with you. Feeling scatty? Create and stick to a daily routine.
By creating some structure – and keeping it flexible – you take back a little of the control you might feel like you’ve lost.
Ask for Help
Most of us struggle to reach out and ask for help. As a new mom, especially, you may feel the need to “do it all yourself”, in case someone thinks you’re a bad mother.
This is a mistake. There is nothing wrong with asking for help, and by doing so, you can give yourself a little breathing room. Family and close friends are there for you, and most will relish the chance of spending time with your baby.
Reach out and ask. It’ll do you the world of good!
Remember that you are not alone. Every mom has experienced what you’re going through right now, and while your brain may not go back to “pre-birth brain”, it’s doing exactly what it’s designed to do.
Disclaimer: Remember, if you are ever unsure of anything please seek the advice of a healthcare practitioner.