Wondering if mommy brain has struck? Mommy brain can even strike whether or not a woman has given birth yet, and it all starts with a little forgetfulness. We get it. What seems like a total mental shutdown can happen well before labor and delivery day (otherwise known as “pregnancy brain.”)
This phenomenon strikes while looking for the cell phone when it can’t be found anywhere. It’s not in the depths of couch or purse, and it’s not on the night stand. It’s not charging on the kitchen counter. And, it’s not in the car. Where could it be?
Even pressing that little home button and asking Siri, “Where’s my phone?” Um, it’s been in the right hand the whole time, and it's been in use the whole time too. An experience like this can make anyone feel like their not on the top of their game.
But it won't be the last time it strikes. Pregnancy brain can cause women to lock themselves out of their house and car at the same time. Feed their pets more than they usually do, walk upstairs only to instantly forget why they're there in the first place.
There will be days when remembering coworkers names will be a huge feat. Pregnancy brain feels like it’s set on slow (or maybe that’s “no”), and even the seemingly simple tasks suddenly feel like mental challenges. Don’t stress too much about the forgetfulness, after all, that will probably only add to it.
Mommy brain is a completely normal part of pregnancy and parenting. Whether it comes from lack of sleep, too much stress, poor diet or fluctuating hormones, some forgetfulness (or feeling like a mental slug) is one of those not-so-joyful things that most new mamas experience!
15 Being Super Attached To The Baby
Huh? What? That’s right. Recent research, published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, shows that new mommies may actually experience real brain changes. Yep, “mommy brain” is a scientific thing.
Researchers from Leiden University in the Netherlands and Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona studied MRI brain scans from 25 first-time mothers and 19 of their male partners. They also compared these scans to ones from 20 women who had never given birth and 17 of their male partners.
The researchers found that the new mamas had a loss of gray matter in the brain areas associated with social cognition (specifically, emotional intelligence). Not only was the loss of gray matter seen right after giving birth, but it was also found two years postpartum.
There was no evidence that the loss of gray matter volume had anything to do with the women’s intelligence or memory. But, the findings do suggest that mommies have actual brain changes. It’s thought that these changes in some way benefit the mommy-baby relationship, facilitating bonding.
The mothers with the highest amounts of gray matter loss also scored the highest on scales of maternal attachment.
14 People Stare At Mom Bewilderingly
You’re at the mall with your brand new baby. The two of you are quietly sitting in the food court and you’re enjoying one of those totally unhealthy mall pretzels (hey, you just pushed another human being out of your body – you deserve a salty, buttery treat). It seems like people are staring at you.
Must be that sweet little baby who is bundled up in her snuggly blanket. Or, it’s something else. Maybe it’s that you’re wearing two different shoes. Not only are you wearing two different shoes, but you’re wearing two dramatically different pieces of footwear.
One is a fluffy Ugg and the other is a gym shoe.
From shoe slip-ups to wearing your sweater inside out, you’ll find that clothing (and accessory) mishaps are just part of having mommy brain. So, when someone stops and stares do a full-body scan of yourself and assess if anything is amiss.
13 She Needs A List
You’re the queen of the grocery store. For years you’ve whisked through the aisles, picking up everything that you need – without a list. It never mattered how Top Chef-worthy or Pinterestinly intricate the meal was, you had the shopping thing down.
Your dinner menu consists of grilled chicken and a salad. You detailed each and every ingredient on your super-list. But, that list someone ended up staying on your kitchen counter. What’s in your shopping cart now?
Um, four pounds of ground beef (it was on sale), a baguette, three oranges and an organic bottled green tea (you liked the label). But, the items that you actually needed are still on the shelves. That’s where they’ll stay, until you get home and realize you have absolutely nothing to make chicken and a salad.
Now that you’re a soon-to-be mama or a new mommy you can’t go out for milk and bread without a piece of paper in your hand (or without emailing yourself a list). And, when you do forget your list (which you will – or you’ll accidentally permanently delete it) you find yourself wandering around the store aimlessly.
12 Constantly Losing Her Keys
The pediatrician appointment is in 20 minutes and you’ve finally gotten baby dressed, re-dressed (after she spit-up all over her adorable little outfit) and ready to go. You pack her up in the stroller, toss the diaper bag over your shoulder and you’re out the door!
You get to the car and open the door. Or, not. You’re shuffling through your diaper bag, your pants pockets and your coat for the keys. No luck. They’re nowhere to be found. You head back into the house to look for them. And then you realize – you’re locked out! Duh, no keys.
You fumble for your phone to call your much brainier husband to let you back in. He doesn’t answer and you’re ready to break into tears. That’s when you neighbor jogs by and reminds you that you can just use your garage door keyless entry pad code to get back inside. Genius!
11 Needing AAA More Than Once In A Week
Not only are you forgetting to bring your keys with you constantly, but you’re also locking them in your car every other day. Whether you’re running out for a quick trip to buy diapers or are out for the day, your car’s keys never seem to make it out of the ignition switch.
You’re outside of your 4-year-old’s preschool patting yourself down in search of your car keys. Your newborn is in the stroller and you’re starting to think that maybe she stole them. No such luck. You peek in through the window and spot them – sitting on your seat.
Of course, the doors are locked. You whip out your cell and dial the auto club number. Steve answers. You know his name because it’s the third time this week that you’ve talked to Steve, asking for help. He sheepishly suggests you consider a car that has one of those techy door-unlocking apps. Maybe with the next kid!
10 Can't Remember Phone Numbers
You’re at mommy and me class chatting up another mama. You’re kind of desperate for some non-baby companionship, and are all in when she asks for a parent-child play date. “What’s your number?” she asks. Your mind blanks. “Uh, um, well, hmm,” you stammer. You have no idea what your phone number is. None at all.
You’ve had the same number for the past eight years, and suddenly you can’t even get the first three digits out. So, you’re forced to go into your cell’s settings and look for “My number.” Obviously, that was put there for the mommy brainers.
Along with your own number, you’re also blanking on everyone else’s. Okay, so for the most part you use your phone’s contact list as a modern day memory bank.
But, your home phone, your hubby’s phone and maybe your childhood phone (which is still your parents’ numbers) are all ones that you probably should have memorized. Even so, your new mom fog has made it impossible to remember any of them.
9 Finding Forgotten Food
Bread. You’re absolutely, positively certain that you bought a loaf of bread this morning. After all, you did bring a list this time. You remember putting the bread in the shopping cart. You remember paying for it. You even have a fading memory of putting it in your car. But, now it’s gone. Poof! Where could it be?
You search the obvious places. You look through the kitchen cabinets, in the pantry and the fridge. You even take a look in the freezer – just in case. Still nothing. So, you go out and buy a new loaf of bread. A few days later you’re looking for the bundle of receiving blankets that you bought.
You go into your linen closet and there it is. No, not the package of blankets. The bread.
From finding a bag of frozen okra on the coffee table to realizing that the butter does not go on your night stand, your mommy brain is putting all kinds of foods in places that they def don’t belong.
8 Using The Wrong Name
“Bella!” you shout. “Bella, sit!” But, your dog just looks at you with a kind of confused little puppy attitude. What’s going on? Well, to start with, Bella is the cat’s name (and the cat could care less about what you want or have to say).
You call out a name, hoping you’re getting it right. But, with mommy brain you have a 50-50 chances of landing on the correct one. You’re telling your BFF all about how adorable Winston is in his brand new sailboat sleeper. She gives you that look.
You know, the one that says, “Huh? What the heck are you talking about?” Then you realize Winston is the dog, and your baby is Jamison.
Sometimes it’s not just a conversational switch-up. Your mommy brain-itis is also causing you to randomly list every name in the house before you get the right one. This sounds something like, “Brandon, John, Oscar, darn it Tom.”
7 Forgetting Food On The Counter
The frozen lasagna that your cousin brought over was a total life-saver. You just gave birth and are not ready to start cooking full-on meals yet. The rest of your family is starting to rebel against the steady stream of takeout and no one else is willing to take on the role of chef.
So, you defrost that lasagna, heat it up and serve your family the meal they’ve been waiting for (without having to worry about doing any real work in the kitchen). Everyone digs in, but there’s still half a pan left over. That needs to go back into the fridge pronto.
Why? Well, because it’s a precious home-cooked meal that you can have again tomorrow.
You clear the table, help your 8-year-old do the dishes, put the baby to bed, put your other kids to bed and then finally fall asleep. The next day you’re making your morning coffee when you see it – the lasagna from last night. It’s still on the counter. Probably next to the hamburgers left over from yesterday's lunch and last week’s salad.
6 Gadgets Get Confusing
It’s the 300th time that you’ve pressed the TV remote. But, the channel still won’t change. Huh? Maybe that’s because you’re pressing hitting the home button on your cell phone. You’re confusing gadgets right and left, and have no idea why.
That’s mommy brain at work, of course! Whether you’re trying to open the garage door with your super-fancy egg timer or pressing the ice button on the fridge when you really want to use the microwave, it might seem like everything electronic is revolting or has it out for you.
You might find that you’re picking up one gadget when you really want another. Or, you may also suddenly forget how to use something seemingly simple.
Let’s say you want to download the latest parenting app. You open up the app store on your cell, and then – well, then you have no idea what to do next. Something that used to see straightforward now requires a masters in some sort of IT area.
5 Stopping Mid-Sentence
Every story ends mid-stream now that you’re a mama. You start off strong and then suddenly poof – you forgot what you were talking about. Your sentences stop, and you don’t exactly know what’s going on. You can’t remember anything, including what you were talking about.
It doesn’t seem to matter where you are, you still can’t keep your sentences straight. You drift off, or sometimes you completely drop off. You fumble for the right words, and you can’t seem to remember what they are.
Admittedly, this makes talking to just about anyone (other than your baby) a challenge. While your mommy-friends completely understand, other people are left confused. You start, you stop, you keep going.
When you pick up your story (or your sentence) it’s in a totally different place. Don’t worry. Eventually you’ll get your pre-baby brain back and have the ability to form a fully finished sentence.
4 Always Surprised
There’s a knock at the door. Guess who it is? It’s your preschooler’s play date. Surprise! Um no, it’s not really a surprise. You set the play date up a week ago. But, your mommy brain put it in the “forget about it” folder.
Play dates aren’t the only surprises for you right now. If it seems like everything is all new all of the time, it might be because your brain thinks it is. Your memory isn’t making it easy to keep track of what you’ve scheduled. You’re often left wondering, “Did my friend just pop by? Or, did I invite her?”
The upside of this aspect of mommy brain is that every day seems like a surprise party! And, who doesn’t enjoy a good ol’ surprise party? Okay, maybe you don’t, But, it makes life interesting (at least, more interesting than hanging out in your pj’s or scrubbing baby vomit off of the baseboards).
3 Forgetting To Eat Period
Your current inability to put food in its proper place, or make sure that leftovers are chilled, aren’t the only eating issues you’re having right now. You make a meal for yourself, and set it down. Why? Most likely, because you need to change the baby, feed the baby or in some other way care for the baby.
An hour goes by. Then two or three more. That’s when you happen to glance over and see a freezing cold bowl of mac and cheese that you meant to eat way back when. You pop it into the microwave to heat it and eat it. By the time it’s ready, you’re on to bathing or feeding (again) baby.
Time ticks by, and before you know it that microwaved mac and cheese is being replaced by a dinner that you probably won’t either.
This mommy brain type of moment doesn’t just include meals. Snacks and that once-hot cup of coffee also end up cold and alone – left behind in your baby-induced fog.
2 Losing Things Off The Roof Of The Car
Finally, you remembered your coffee! You’ve put that travel mug to use, poured a hot cup of your favorite blend and you’re ready to go. Of course, you can’t find your keys. So, you stash that travel mug on the car’s roof while you sift through your purse. Amazingly, you find them. This is your lucky day, right?
Well, maybe not. You get in the car, start it and even remember where you’re headed. As you reach for that cup of coffee all that you get is a handful of air. What? Where did the coffee go? You pull over and look in your purse.
Nope, not there. You check the front seat, the back seat and even the trunk. Then you realize where your mug is – on the road, outside of your house.
You’re using your car’s roof as a storage rack, and it’s not the best decision that you’ve ever made. Sure, it works – kind of. But, there’s a 98 percent chance that whatever you put up there will stay. That is, at least until you drive away.
1 Misplacing and Mixing Things Up
Before you had your baby you actually practiced packing the diaper bag. Your friends bought you the hippest, coolest, most totally non-baby looking bag out there. It has 43 separate zipper pockets and dividers that let you organize everything from diapers and wipes to three dozen different kinds of organic rash creams.
It’s perfect! And, before your cute little kiddo was on the outside you spent your days filling it up with adorable onesies, teeny tiny socks and more diapers than your baby would ever need in one outing.
Now that baby’s here, packing the diaper bag isn’t exactly easy. Along with you not having the time to be a total organizer your mommy brain isn’t letting you put the right things in the bag. So, now you’re in the middle of the pediatrician’s office and attempt to take out a binkie.
The problem is that you didn’t bring the binkie. You also didn’t bring the wipes, the diapers or anything else your little one needs. Instead you have an odd assortment of things such as cat treats, boxed couscous and your 7-year-old’s vocabulary list.