It’s a misconception that delivering a beautiful baby will make things normal for you. Think again. Pregnancy not just changes the body of a woman but also works around the wiring in her brain.
Do you ever wonder, a brain which was functioning so well until you got pregnant or popped out a baby, has suddenly started acting weird? Things are falling off your hands, you trip over and fall for no reason, you are forgetful and most of the times do weird things. I have started doubting myself big time. Every now and then I hear from my husband what is wrong with you, what has happened to the great IQ level that you had once upon a time, why are you not acting in a certain way. Well for so much of appreciation, I had to go back in time before I conceived, and after I conceived and then finally delivered my baby. This took me to my initial post-pregnancy days, I used to be so extremely forgetful, once I had kept spice box in fridge and wheat dough outside in place of spice box. Having a liking to my refrigerator I started keeping all my things unknowingly in the fridge. Once I found my locker keys in the fridge after hunting for them in the house for an hour. From missing appointments to not being able to find my phone and then finding it in the refrigerator. Such was the bout of forgetfulness in my early days. I am sure most women will admit that their brain is a mush during pregnancy. They develop a baby brain or Momnesia
Everyday activities make me strongly believe that pregnancy does tinker with the very structure of a women’s brain. After going through these weird changes in my own body, I began to search if this has any scientific relation. Well, it does have a relation. Scientist across the globe have been observing the behavioural changes in mothers and have begun to see a definite link between the way mothers behave and their brain. Activities in a women’s brain increase in regions which trigger empathy, anxiety, and social interaction. A large part of this could be blamed on the hormonal play after conceiving and delivering a baby. In fact, you would be surprised to know that those maternal feelings of overwhelming love, fierce protectiveness, and constant worry begin with reactions in the brain. It also has relation to post postpartum depression which many women face. I used to constantly if i fell asleep and did not monitor my daughter she would stop breathing. After constant sleepless nights and months of taking care of my daughter, I realised that she is growing fine and nothing will go wrong. It took me a long time to come to terms that everything is normal and nothings is amiss. I know all of this was happening because of that extra activity happening in my brain and chemicals playing up with the sane side of me. The huge learning curve of taking care of a newborn also contributes immensely. Mothers are busy gathering so much new information, so worried about simply keeping their baby alive and well-fed, that it consumes the large part of her brain.
I used to feel so protective about my child, that I wanted to single-handedly manage my child and take care of her all alone. Anyone giving a suggestion on managing my baby used to irk me. Such was the chaos in my mind that I wasn’t readily accepting help and support from anyone apart from immediate family. I remember an aunt who stayed with me in the hospital and was just trying to help me with the new responsibility since I was in pain. However, I was extremely irritated as if she was taking my baby away. I had to again blame the hormones which were making me act weird. Perhaps maternal brain starts functioning as soon as she realises that she is pregnant and it works with twice the speed once the baby is popped out.
It seems like becoming a parent and more than that a mother is like falling in love over and over again every day with each passing moment. One look at your child and your brain start feeling sugary, syrupy and you act weird because you love them. Reports state that Oxytocin, the hormone women release during labour and breastfeeding, is also believed to increase the moment she looks at her baby or hear the baby coo and cry. I hope the change in the brain is reversed once the child is grown up enough and the brain goes back to what it was before conceiving. In the meantime best for mums to do is laugh it off and try to find comfort in the smaller triumph of your life.
Perhaps, motherhood really is like secret space in a woman’s brain, waiting to be discovered and explored. Although only mothers are lucky to experience pregnancy, birth, and lactation, and these provide powerful primers for the expression of maternal care.
Listing few changes that I came across after the delivery.
- Forgetful of things
- Extremely emotional
- Anxious about the baby, if she is breathing fine, if she is alive
- Extra vigilant towards men and doubting their intention toward the baby
- Aggressive towards perceived threats for my baby
- Clumsy and things falling off easily
- Maintaining to do lists for everything at home and work to avoid forgetting
* Keep reminder posts in on your baby to find them without fail 🙂
Did you experience baby brain or “momnesia?” Do you think pregnancy or motherhood changed your brain for the better or worse ? Share with me in the comments below!