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‘Pregnancy brain’ or parenting brain?

November 23, 2009

My lovely wife often blames lapses of memory or just plain common sense on ‘pregnancy brain’.

For those uninitiated in the world of baby-bump related brain-freeze allow me to explain.

Image from www.maternity-wedding-dresses.com

Now, what was I doing again? (image from http://www.maternity-wedding-dresses.com)

Pregnancy brain is, so my wife insists, a medical phenomenon caused by having what used to be termed as one in the oven.  From misplacing keys to going to the shops in her slippers the blame is all layed at the pregnancy brain door.  Many other expectant mothers may sympathise – others with children may remember it, fondly or otherwise.

I have a new slant to place on it.  I don’t think it’s related to the cycles of the moon, the hormones or the blood flow required by a placenta.  I think the cause may be parenting – even if the parenting of a first-time expectant partent may be in-eutero.

I feel this is the case as (at this point imagine me standing up in a circle of chairs in a church hall-style venue)… I am a sufferer.  I have pregnancy brain.

My six-pack is long since lost to my (manly) curves but despite appearances I am not pregnant.  I don’t have a placenta and despite my protests to the contrary, I don’t have a monthly cycle – suspended by pregnancy or otherwise.

Yet still I insist I am a fellow sufferer.

I forget things.  And not just normally.  I have a habit of forgetting things at crucial times (my wife would, I’m sure, be able to fill a book with my memory mishaps alone).  A favourite example, oft told around the dinner table is my cooking dinner – tuna and pasta bake… and forgetting the tuna.  Yes, I made a bowl of cheesy, baked pasta.

But I forget things even more under the pressure of parenting.  It’s not just my memory either.  Logic, of which I’m usually such a fan, deserts me when I’m confronted with my child.

Let me give you some examples.  My son is nearly two.  For about 18 months of that we’ve been in a (glorious) routine.  Despite this, almost every night after his bath, as my wife carries him up the stairs she has to remind me to bring his bottle of milk.  No matter how many times this happens it just will not stick in my mind.

I have, countless times, carefully packed a bag of supplies to take with me when taking my son out.  Parents will know the drill: nappies; wipes; change of trousers if there’s any chance of puddles being involved; water; snacks etc. etc.

After spending many minutes going through every possible eventuallity and therefore preparing for it and packing any required remedy in the bag – I then leave the house… without it.  Not ‘every now and then’ almost every time.  I have a blind-spot with milk bottles and bags it seems.

Lost logic

Then there’s the logic.

Image from http://2.bp.blogspot.com

A screaming baby - enough to sap anyone's brain-power (image from http://2.bp.blogspot.com)

Parents will know the trouble of facing a crying/screaming child.  It can be hard to think at the best of times.  For me crying or otherwise I just cannot seem to think of the most glaringly obvious solutions to problems with my son.

During lunch he won’t be eating the meal I’ve loving crafted over the past half-hour.  As macaroni cheese is flung around the kitchen in a fit of pique (his not mine, I promise) I just cannot think what to do.  I know he needs to eat; I know I’ve prepared food… I just cannot seem to get to the step that says: “Give him something else then.”  It just does not compute.

Fortunately my wife (perhaps seeing a fellow sufferer) is very patient.  She’ll advise/steer or just flatly point out the glaringly obvious as required.

I’d like to say it’s because I’m just so excited about having fun and taking my son out to x place or y playground.  My mind is so lost in ideas of games and having fun and his heart-burstingly gorgeous giggle.  I’d like to say that.  Could I say it honestly?  Not so sure.

Maybe it’s me.  Maybe I am just a complete mental klutz and my wife’s patience is mercifully bottomless.  This seems far more likely.

To save some shred of self worth, I label myself a sufferer.  Parenting-brain sufferers – unite!

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