Baby brain (aka “mumnesia”) – it’s a pregnancy thing. You only have to speak to a few expectant or new mums about their day before the phenomenon is mentioned. Whether they mind-blanked about an appointment or put their phone in the fridge when getting milk for a cuppa, it affects women in many different (and funny) ways.
but exactly what is baby brain?
As many mummy anecdotes suggest, baby brain is the fabled loss of concentration, sensibility and memory during pregnancy. Imagine a fog cloud overhead that makes it hard to think straight and make decisions as you normally would. Some expectant mums don’t feel the effects until later in pregnancy while others fall prey to it very early on.
The other thing about baby brain is that it can outlast your pregnancy. Yes, sorry ladies, it’s not always easy to shake. But that’s not surprising really. Pregnancy changes so much about a woman’s body so it’s perfectly normal to feel the effects even after giving birth. And hey, if it gives you an excuse to “forget” something and send your other half out for it instead, why not run with it. Or rather, make them run for it and put your feet up for a bit!
is pregnancy brain real and what causes it?
It’s one thing to say something is real (*cough* man flu), but it’s another for science to prove it. So is baby brain real?
Full disclosure; the research is still ongoing but the scientific backing is definitely there. Baby brain is real and it makes sense. Having a family is a massive commitment that comes with lots of changes, including to the brain itself. So much so that it may be possible to tell whether a woman has had children by looking at a scan of her noggin!
Then there’s the lack of sleep (as if growing a baby wasn’t tiring enough anyway) and probably a little bit of stress. Not to mention the rapid changes in hormones and all the planning/researching/panicking which distracts women from their usual train of thought. Everything combined can make for one ditzy mum-in-the-making. That’s when juice makes it into the cereal bowl and slippers stay on feet when leaving for work. Truly, pregnancy is a lot to deal with.
how to give your baby brain a helping hand
While you can’t stop baby from hijacking your brain - along with the rest of your body - all is not lost. There are small things you can do to help with baby brain. After all, you’re not losing your intelligence; just your attention span.
• Get more sleep! Perhaps easier said than done, but why not run yourself a relaxing bath or read a book by lamplight to help you unwind before bed. And there’s always a pregnancy pillow to help you get comfy.
• Write things down or get that handy smartphone to do it for you. Making a note of that must-have item or must-do task as soon as you think of it will definitely help if you’re prone to forgetting it again two seconds later.
• Rely on your other half. They’re probably tired too but hopefully not so chockfull of brain-changing hormones. Ask for help, share the load and talk things through. They may even act as a personal reminder!
• Simplify and keep organised. Not only will a bit of tidying help you once baby arrives, finding one central home for the important bits and keeping them organised will (hopefully) help you find things when you mind-blank.
• And finally, don’t worry! Baby brain is incredibly common and not a cause for concern. So try to have a laugh if you do something absentminded. It happens to the best of us, even those who aren’t pregnant!
a little reassurance that you’re not alone
Just to prove how chuckle-worthy baby brain is, let’s hear it from some mums themselves. Here’s a few examples of the forgetful, silly and downright absentminded things they’ve done while under the influence of baby brain.
1. I constantly used my work access card and swiped it on my front door, at least when I hadn’t left it behind somewhere. Work had to give me a “shame badge” for those forgetful occasions.
2. Forgot how to turn on the heating so turned the oven on instead and left the door open.
3. Called the AA out to fix my car that I’ve had 3 years because it wouldn’t start – forgetting you have to push the clutch down to get it going.
4. I put toothpaste on the wrong side of my brush then couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t feel the bristles. I’ve also used toothpaste on my hands instead of hand wash.
5. Forgot how to make cheese on toast. I attempted at least 3 times by toasting the bread then adding cheese and getting upset (and crying) when it didn’t melt like it should.
6. Lunch went well… I poured a drink onto an upside-down glass and heated up my salad in the microwave.
7. I was sterilising bottles in the microwave and swapped the steriliser for my phone then wondered why I couldn’t find it for two hours until I went to put another bottle in.
8. I straight up forgot what ears were called for a whole day (I called them head flaps).
bonus dad-brained anecdotes
Because baby brain is infectious apparently.
9. I poured myself a cup of tea then promptly put the kettle in the fridge.
10. I rewired the indicators on my bike. After checking them many times, I soldered them the wrong way round.
So there you have it; a quick run-down of all things baby brain. Hopefully you’ve had a light-hearted chuckle at the forgetfulness of others and even picked up some tips for standing up to the pregnancy phenomenon. If you’ve got you own mum-brained moments (or indeed dad-brained disasters), we’d love to hear them! And whatever you do, don’t forget to…urm…oh darn it. Maybe it’ll come back to me later.