Being a parent seems to go hand-in-hand with forgetting stuff all the time. It's ok, it's not just you - pregnancy and mom brain is real and it even happens to dads!
What is pregnancy brain?
Pregnancy brain is a term that describes changes to your brain that affect your behavior. The changes start during pregnancy and stay with you for the first few years of your child’s life.
Sometimes also called mom brain, the term is used to describe the permanent changes that motherhood has on your cognitive functions. Scientific research has proven that your brain functions enhance in areas that deal with empathy at the cost of other brain regions that involve your memory.
Pregnancy brain symptoms
You become forgetful
Sleep deprivation coupled with taking care of a helpless new person is an incredible challenge even if all your mental faculties are intact.
Your focus becomes incredibly narrow and your brain prioritizes caring for your baby, so forgetting your plans and personal belongings is completely understandable.
You become absent-minded
Pregnant women often report losing ideas mid-thought or forgetting details they have known for years.
Keeping your focus during pregnancy is something even the most organized women struggle with. In part, this is due to the hormonal changes your body goes through while pregnant, but it is also a consequence of the changes in your brain that we mentioned above.
The good news is it’s not permanent, but it can last well past your pregnancy.
You become emotional
Pregnancy hormones will also affect your emotions and how you react.
Something as everyday as a commercial can make you weepy and there are now entire movies you need to avoid, especially if they feature kids or animals.
You are sleepy
This one is not only due to hormonal or brain changes, but simply life. Newborns’ sleeping patterns are erratic, and a few months of sleepless nights would take its toll on anyone.
How to cope with mom brain
Accept the inevitable
Even though it may feel like you’re suddenly a different (very disorganized) person, the changes you are going through are normal. They are happening so that you are as prepared as possible to take care of your child.
Accept that you will forget basic things or make mistakes and instead focus on your new role.
It may seem silly but start from the bottom up and cover all the basics (nobody wants to walk around with unbrushed teeth all day).
With a little planning, you can make sure you cover all the daily basics and maybe even come out of the store with everything you wanted to buy!
Ask for help
Asking for help doesn’t make you a bad mom, it makes you human. Work with your partner as much as you can and take advantage of aunties, grandmothers, and friends who offer to babysit for an hour or two, so you can take a moment for yourself and shower in peace.
A couple of hours or relaxation or even a little bit more sleep will do wonders for your memory.
When does pregnancy brain start and end?
Pregnancy brain starts in the first trimester of your pregnancy when the hormone changes are more prominent, sometimes as early as in the 5th week.
The changes usually start manifesting as brain fog, making you forget what you were doing, who you were meeting and sometimes even why you walked into a room.
According to research pregnancy brain can evolve to mom brain and can last up to 2 years after giving birth. Getting enough sleep will help with the symptoms and can even help reverse the changes to your brain faster.
While mom brain might seem more of a nuisance, it serves a purpose; it’s there to help you become the best parent you can be!