The Truth About “Mom Brain”

Have you ever poured water into a bowl instead of a glass? How about leaving your puppy outside after a walk and then looking for her everywhere in your house… Did you miss a few appointments and not even realize? If any or all of these sound familiar, welcome! Your brain has died. Just kidding. But seriously, “preggo brain” or “baby brain” is a thing—and it happens to us all.

There are two views on the matter. The first is that priorities change, stress over these changes arises, lack of sleep surges, and instantly you get mommy brain. I feel this line of thought makes us—the women experiencing rather than most likely diagnosing the phenomenon—feel inadequate. We are raised to go above and beyond, to be able to do it all, so what’s a little lack of sleep or stress? Nah, I don’t believe that only the external factors are affecting the brain in this particular moment in life.

The second theory is that your hormones are having a big party inside of you. Louann Brizendine, MD and director of the Women’s Mood and Hormone Clinic at the University of California, says that there are between 15-40 times more Progesterone and Estrogen in the brain during pregnancy. Let’s not forget the love hormone, the oxytocin. We all know how gaga we turn when we fall in love… And if you are breastfeeding, these hormones don’t go back to “normal” until a few months after you stop.

So how does preggo or mommy brain make itself present?

FORGETFULNESS

You will forget what you said, what you thought you said, what was said to you, what you were supposed to do, or what you did.
How to cope: Write things down and have patient humans around you who understand what is going on.

TOTAL LACK OF FOCUS

In the same way you go into a room to do something and have a complete blank—this is, like, times 1,000.
How to cope: Laugh. Turn these moments into funny anecdotes. If it is that important, you will remember!

NO RATIONALE

Your brain evolves to be more emotional than rational during pregnancy, so you can understand and bond with the tiny person better.
How to cope: Be patient with yourself and let your partner understand what you are going through (as well as have him/her make a few decisions when you’d rather not deal).

Overall, try to sleep, if at all possible. Physical exercise will help you focus, too, once you’re feeling up to it. Remember to eat! If you don’t, your body will still make milk for your miniature person and deprive you of what you need. Breastfeeding women especially require those extra nutrients. And drink lots of water. Just make sure to pour it in a glass.