‘Mum brain’ or ‘Baby brain’ are names for the long-believed side effects of having a baby. If you’re lucky enough to have not experienced this, then you won’t know the worry that comes with the thought that you may not return to your usual sharp self.
Things happen. We lose our keys, our phone, even our glasses while we are wearing them on our face. But you never quite believe it when it happens almost every day for 30 days in a row.
Shutting the front door while chasing the post man, realising your keys are inside and you’re dressed in pyjamas and slippers.
Putting a potato in the oven and only remembering 5 hours later to find potato remains splattered all over the oven walls.
Feeding your pet twice a day then wondering why their food has run out so fast.
Calling your mum by your sister’s name so often she has just accepted her new identity.
And so on…
But is there any truth behind this? Does our cognitive function really deteriorate when you become a mum?
A 2017 study showed that there were changes in the quantity of grey matter present in the brain consistent across pregnant women and new mothers. This activity took place in the frontal and temporal lobes – the part of our brains we use for cognitive tasks (such as picking up our keys!).
It was found that the grey matter did not revert to original form for at least 2 years post-partem.
However there have been arguments that this research is inconsistent, and that mum brain is simply a combination of hormones and sleep deprivation.
Either way – there is hope!
Ensuring you are exercising regularly and eating well will set you on the right path to a full return of your natural edge. Adopting habits such as meditation, regular brain exercises and frequent social interactions will also help get yourself back on track.
Most of all, remember to forgive yourself for those cognitive slips. Even a scheduled Dr’s appointment can sometimes slip your mind, making space for your new priority of looking after your baby!