The British Journal of Psychiatry has published the findings of a new research study from the Australian National University. After studying 1,241 women, scientists concluded that women's memories remained as good during and after pregnancy as before. Prof Helen Christensen who led the study said "women need to be less automatic in their willingness to attribute common memory lapses to a growing or new baby".
When I read this in an article in a British Newspaper I laughed out loud. Are they crazy I thought? This study was led by a woman who surely cannot have ever had a child of her own. Then I thought about it and realized (genius that I am) where they are going wrong in their conclusions. Of COURSE women don't "lose" their memories - they are still there intact and fully functional which is what these naive researchers confirmed. What they are failing to consider is that the reason pregnant women and new Moms seem muddled and forgetful is because those perfectly functioning memories are submerged in the battle being fought to stave off sleeplessness and deal with the endless list of tasks and responsibilities of being a Mom. Thus the logical, thinking part of our brains becomes pure mush. This is of course mother nature at work, ensuring that the one and only focus in our lives is this new little person - survival of the next generation being critical to the future of mankind (at least it used to be when there weren't over 6 billion people on the planet). When my daughter was born all I could think and constantly worry about was her - was she warm, was she cold, was she gaining enough weight, why was she crying, why was she sleeping so much and oh no! a major crisis because she did not pooh for three days!
So that's why we mothers appear to get "muddled" - it's not because we can't remember things it's because our memories have become very selective and choose only to remember what is important i.e. anything and everything to do with our offspring and nothing about anything else!
I was once told that this state of mind lasts for two years after having a child - well for me three years down the road I can tell you it's still the case. Take last night for example - my husband and I went out for our first "grown up" evening of entertainment since Mirabelle was born. Cirque du Soleil were in town. I had told my husband that the show was at Pizza Hut Park when I booked the tickets. He gave me a puzzled look and asked if they would be performing outdoors at this time of year. I said I was sure they would be erecting a tent or something (mind focused on something much more important no doubt such as why Mirabelle is only eating cereal bars and goldfish at the moment). So we arrived there last night to be met with complete darkness. My husband asked for the tickets. I handed them over and then he sighed and said "the show is at the Dr Pepper Arena". So ensued a crazy five mile drive to where we should have been and we just made it to our seats as the show was starting. Mommy brain at work again!