PARENTS

Baby Brain

14/08/2014 17:01 | Updated 20 May 2015

Mother looking at To Do list in front of baby

So baby brain really does exist, scientists have announced.

Well, thank goodness for that. So we weren't all just going crazy.

Apparently when we're pregnant, we use the right side of our brain more, which helps us bond with our babies.

That means we're more emotional and less logical. No shit, Sherlock.

It's presumably the emotional side of our brain that we're using when we suddenly decide we must rearrange all the furniture in the middle of the night.

And emotions are certainly running high when we start to panic during pregnancy.

"OH MY GOD I just ate an egg and I don't think it was fully cooked!"

"HELP! I just let my skin come into contact with a cleaning product!"

"AARGH I just breathed in somebody else's cigarette smoke!" (me, during my first pregnancy...)

Then there's the forgetfulness. Forgetting where you put the car keys. Forgetting where your sunglasses are (on your head). Forgetting why you walked into a room. Wondering why the oven isn't getting hot when you forgot to actually turn it on.

This new study doesn't explain everything, though. For one thing, it suggests that 'baby brain' only exists when we're pregnant.

And as we all know to our cost, that just isn't true.

There are the times you can't find your phone and then you realise that you thought it was cheese and put it in the fridge.

It took me THREE YEARS to realise that envelope necks on baby vests were designed so that you can roll them down when they've leaked and avoid getting poo all over your baby's hair.

My supreme 'baby brain' moment came when my second daughter fell ill and I forgot how to use the Calpol syringe. My husband came through to the bedroom to find that I had removed the plunger and was, very unsuccessfully, attempting to pour Calpol from the bottle into the syringe. It is to his eternal credit that he didn't laugh at me. Much.

And that's when you're actually concentrating fully on your children and not trying to do anything else.

Of course a lot of this is down to exhaustion, and your brain being overloaded with new things. The really scary thing is that I'm not sure it ever stops. Only last week I went to pick my daughter up from school and went to the supermarket, and realised when I got home that I had been wearing a Makka Pakka badge proclaiming "I am 2" the whole time.

There are so many other things you need to remember as a parent, as your children get older, too, which inevitably means other things fall out of your brain. When you have to remember lunch box, PE kit, homework, after-school club, the form you were supposed to hand in yesterday, and the bear for the Teddy Bear's Picnic Day, before the working day even begins, is it any wonder that you might forget to phone your mother back, or forget to post that birthday card to your sister-in-law, or lose the 17th umbrella that month?

There is a school of thought that says the term 'baby brain' is offensive; that it's just another way of putting women, especially mothers, down. "Oh, you can't expect her to understand, she's got 'baby brain'."

But actually I think we should embrace it. Yes, I have grown a human being inside me. Yes, I am now permanently exhausted, always-on, and have hundreds of other pressing things to think about.

Perhaps the whole 'baby brain' in pregnancy thing is designed not just to help us bond with our babies, but also to prepare us for the rest of our lives.

Our brains will never again be the same – there will be a huge part of them which is dedicated to being a mother. Even when we're being scientists, or doctors, or athletes, or writers. And if that's baby brain, I'm proud to have it. Perhaps we should just rename it The Mother Brain. That sounds FAR more impressive...

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