If I Only Had a Brain...

I used to be smart. No, I was never as smart as Max, but I could hold my own. I know I had a brain. I completed a double major in Biology and Microbiology in four years. I then earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and graduated Suma Cum Laude. Really, I did have a brain once. Then I got pregnant. Then I got pregnant again. Then I got pregnant again. Then I got pregnant again. Now, I have no brain.

Apparently I have this thing called “maternal amnesia,” which is characterized by the following symptoms: incompetent, dull-witted, frazzled, and preoccupied with domestic affairs. That about sums me up these days. I literally feel like I have fog inside my skull. It kind of aches a little, I can’t remember anything, and I am reduced to babbling about potty training, diaper blow-outs, spit-up, and how many loads of laundry I got washed, folded AND put away.

It really hurts my ego when I go to the store for one item. One little item and I get there and look like a deer in the headlights. “Why am I here?” I ponder to the baby. I ask Kaitlin, no beg Kaitlin to remind mommy why we came to the store. I can’t remember movies I have watched, places Max tells me we have been, or funny things the kids did. It is just gone, zip, nada, zilch. It frustrates me when I go to the pantry to get a snack for the girls only to find the jelly in there and the peanut butter in the fridge. What is wrong with me?

I turned to my faithful Google. He never lets me down and he always has an answer. I googled “Mommy Brain,” for lack of a brain that could actually come up with a more medical term. I was hoping to find a support group or a magic pill I could take and instead found an overwhelming amount of data on how smart motherhood makes you. “Comparing the brain of a non-mother to that of a mother is like comparing a tree in the winter to one in full bloom in the spring, when it is much fuller and richer," said University of Richmond neuroscientist Craig Kinsley. Kinsley and Lambert studied virgin, pregnant, and lactating rats. They discovered “the flush of hormones that comes with pregnancy, childbirth and lactation cause permanent changes in the learning and memory capacities of mother rats compared to "virgin rats." They were able to find food in a maze more easily, catch live food more quickly, and they seemed to have enhanced sensory powers. They're also braver. In other words, as Kinsley put it, the experiments showed "mom rats kicking virgin rats' butts." 1

Did you read that? Permanent changes (= damage) in the learning and memory capacity. Sure I can whip out a snack or a sippie cup faster than some young, little virgin that hasn't been mentally barated by hungry kids screaming at her. As far as the sensory powers, well, we do grow eyes in the back of our heads and can hear something all the way across the house, but I still wouldn’t trade those powers for being able to remember important things like butter or milk at the store! Braver, no that is just too tired to care. You lookin at me? What are you lookin at? Yeah, so what if its 2pm and I am in my sweats, haven’t taken a shower and have baby barf down the front of my shirt. You wanna make something of it? A certain callousness that could be mistaken for bravery comes with severe sleep deprivation. Really these “improvements” have just been misconstrued to keep women reproducing.

There is even an entire book called Mommy Brain devoted to trying to make moms feel better about their new brain and all the scientific research out there telling us how smart we are now that our brain has been submerged in pregnancy and lactating hormones. What a scam. Can’t you just give me a vitamin to make it a virgin brain again? A brain that works, a brain that can do more than babble about the alphabet, colors, addition, subtraction, play slug-bug, and pat-a-cake. A brain that can carry on an adult conversation and remember important dates and not fall asleep while trying to read the news. I guess I will have to go to Oz for that.

5 comments:

Courtney said...

Let me know when you find a "cure"...

Monday through Sunday said...

I am with courtney...let me know!! :)

Abbie said...

Oh Katie, I was ROLLING on the floor laughing through this!! Ok, well, not really on the floor because at some point my 'mommy brain' would have kicked in and I would have forgotten why I was on the floor in the first place...sheesh...I SO feel ya with this one. This just totally made me giggle, because you just hit the nail right on the head!

Jessica said...

I can totally relate! Your posts are so funny, yet TRUE!

Devin said...

*raising BOTH hands* ME! ME! ME!