Archive | March, 2010

‘Baby brain a myth’ – say researchers. ‘Bull s**t"’ – say Mums.

5 Mar

I read this story a few weeks ago, saying that researchers at the Australian National University had discovered that ‘baby brain’ – or the tendancy to be forgetful during pregnancy or motherhood – was a myth.  But in amongst feeding, settling, bathing, dressing and playing with my baby, I forgot to blog about it.  Boom tish! 

I see my mind like a bucket, stuffed full of thoughts and memories.  It only has a finite amount of space. When my baby was born, my mind became stuffed full of baby thoughts.  I read two god-damn books about establishing routines (which never worked, I might add).  I recorded every poo, wee and breastfeed – that’s scribbling in a notepad 22 times a day.  I constantly consulted my new bible – ‘Baby Love’ – for all manner of advice about settling, wrapping, breastfeeding and baby development. In other words, I stuffed a whole lot of new thoughts into my already-full bucket of a mind.  What was the result?  Well, you know what happens when a bucket is full and you add more water – it overflows.  And so it was with my brain.  Previous thoughts and memories vanished, taken up by thoughts of my gorgeous little pooing, weeing and feeding machine. 

After four middle of the night feeds, I would be preparing to leave the house (no easy feat with a little baby) and would say to my husband ‘Have you seen my keys?’.  ‘Umm’, he would say looking at me like I was a nutbag.  ‘They’re in your hand.’  ‘Yes, right, of course.  And, my sunglasses?’  Cue another aghast look. ‘On your head.’ That’s baby brain for you.  Now – how on earth could researchers possibly test this in the lab, through cognitive testing?  Give me a good night’s sleep, a quiet room, and some alone time – and I too probably could have told you who the first Prime Minister of Australia was.  But, at home, in my baby-stupour, the brain probably wouldn’t have clicked into gear quite so quickly.  I know the scientists had the right intentions.  They wanted to show that women are just as clever when they’re pregnant and new mums, compared to when they were out every Saturday night drinking cocktails till 3 in the morning.  It’s true – women don’t lose their intelligence when a bub comes into their life.  They gain a whole lot of new intelligence, about how to care for another human being, and new skills like how to make a bottle with one hand, while holding a baby in the other. It’s like the brain re-prioritises everything. Baby-thought takes centre stage, and those other small bits of information simply over-flow out of the bucket.