Baby Brain

Pregnancy was, for me, a long eight months of myths being shattered. I never glowed, until the end when it was summer and lugging around an extra 20 kilos left my forehead with a permanent sheen. I never felt great or had lots of energy, even after being prescribed high dose iron tablets. I rarely felt as if I was going through one of life’s most magical times – I just felt like I was carrying around alot of extra weight and it was making me feel pretty anxious, tired and stressed.
But there was one aspect of my pregnancy which conformed to the stereotype – baby brain.
It turned out that baby brain wasn’t a myth at all. For me, it was this weird inconvenient phenomena that turned my usually organised, punctual, together self into, quite frankly, a mess.
It wasn’t just a case of a little forgetfulness either. It was doing things like driving to the shops at Lyall Bay and having to come straight home again because once there I had no idea what I had intended to buy.
It was a case of completely forgetting social engagements and just not turning up. I’m still sorry about that.

Once I accepted that my somewhat impaired mental function was yet another of the tests of pregnancy, I consoled myself with the naive belief that it was only temporary. Well, I’m still waiting to get my marbles back. Because the worst thing about baby brain is now that Little Mister is nearly six months old, I’ve still got it.

I don’t think I’m alone in this. From a quick poll of some of the other amazing Wellington mummies I have met on this journey, baby brain has a habit of lingering around far longer than is welcome. Kind of like those last five kilos.

This week, I took afternoon tea along to one of our baby club activities. I thought it was my turn. It wasn’t. On it’s own, this kind of slip up isn’t so bad. But, I did the same thing three weeks ago. It turns out I’m on the calendar for taking afternoon tea next week – which I would have known had I checked my own diary. How on earth did I get this wrong -twice? I never would have got dates like this confused pre-baby. On the plus side – Tony scored some home baking this week that he was certainly not expecting.

Further proof of my diminished mental skill is becoming increasingly obvious in my decision making abilities. I’ve never been an indecisive person. But now, ask me to make a simple choice – particularly when I am already actively doing something else – and I’m stumped.

Which ties in with another new problem. I’ve lost the ability to mentally multi-task. All that criticism I have heaped on Tony over the years for not being able to do it, and now I’m even worse than him. It seems that my brain just can’t cope with turning the cogs or making a decision when it’s already keeping me going at something else. Tony kindly volunteered to take Milin for a buggy walk today so I could have a little time out. But when he asked me if I thought they should take the long or the short walk around the block – it was too much for me to compute.

When my brain allows it, I’ve been thinking about this, because I don’t want to end up unable to make the simplest decisions, or make a habit of turning up at the wrong events on the wrong days. So far, my take on it is that the Little Mister takes up so much head space that fitting the rest in his hard work. I’m constantly thinking about Milin. How long has he been up? Is he starting to look tired? If we’re leaving the house at 11.30am what time should I try to put him down for a nap? What food shall we puree up today? Is the heater on in his room? Should I take some pear out of the freezer? Why isn’t he hungry yet? Is he warm enough? It goes on. All day. All night.

Oddly, I’m still able multi-task when it comes to Milin. Making my lunch with one hand, while having him on one shoulder, and making a game out of it for him while singing a song at the same time seems to be no problem. It’s just finding the brain power for all the other aspects of life sometimes feels like a challenge.

So maybe, with my mind full of thoughts about the Little Mister, plus a little bit of sleep deprivation thrown in, there just isn’t room for some of the small stuff. Which, I guess could mean that Tony keeps getting bonus home baking on the days I get it wrong. Which, given that I seem to be finding less and less time to cook us real meals, perhaps isn’t a bad thing after all.

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