Saturday, May 18, 2013

A Software Upgrade or Fun With Pregnancy Brain

I have a thousand things I could write about, but seriously my mind is blank. Which is why it makes so much sense to write about this.

Since becoming pregnant, I don't know how many times I've forgotten a word so simple and so well used in conversation that it's embarrassing. Or how about times when I've switched my student names when there is no possible connection between them? Yeah. I hate that.

The awesome thing is, these aren't the worst of it. The worst (or best) is trying to put toothpaste in your hair (instead of product) or a notepad in the freezer (instead of *on* the fridge).

I never did things like this before becoming pregnant. It is absolutely because of preggo brain.

Supposedly pregnancy brain happens when your hormones literally switch up your thinking. They do this so you are better programmed for motherhood. This means you spot danger faster than the average person, and respond more quickly to your baby. It also means you're more inclined to love on them (which thanks to biology is a continuous process fostered by childbirth and breastfeeding as well).

The price is your memory.

It seems like a fairytale. You pay with something in your head for some other head thing; except I can't help thinking in fairytales the price is always too high and has disasterous consequences. Is losing my memory too much to give? And is it permanent?

There are some changes in pregnancy that are temporary, but the rewiring of your brain into "mommy" is forever. For someone like me who has a strong memory (which I've cultivated through practice in addition to just having the gift) I probably have memory to spare (now I sound like a computer). But I can't help thinking about some people who didn't have all that much memory in the first place.

Memory is an aspect of intelligence. The ability to recall enormous amounts of information and use it with critical and analytical thought processes gives a person great advantage. Those with limited memory simply can't come to the same conclusions. This is probably one of the reasons Americans are looked down upon by many - we don't emphasize memorization in education. Literally, we seem more stupid.

So what does this mean for moms? I could make the argument that motherhood, pregnancy specifically, makes a person more stupid. And it does. That is a fact - if we're only looking at memory as an indicator of intelligence.

To counter that, I have to cite the sixth sense of moms everywhere as proof this rewiring process does something special. That joke about mothers having eyes in the back of their heads or that moms always *know* (and my own experience with this proves it true) tells me it's not a fairytale. This is not a situation where I'm losing something and getting very little back.

It's an upgrade.

So while misplacing things and forgetting basic words may be annoying, these experiences are a marker. I'm getting new software. I'm getting eyes in the back of my head.

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