We all had a good laugh the first time we put the milk back in the cupboard or tried desperately to find the shoes that were sitting on our feet, chalking it up to another moment of ‘baby brain’ during pregnancy. It seems from the minute you find out you’re pregnant you lose a bit of your mind and a whole lot of your memory, and things seem to get a little foggy for you.
People usually pass it off as nothing and tell you that it’s just a pregnancy thing, but when you find that your memory still isn’t as sharp as it used to be when you check out of the maternity ward, you might start feeling concerned.
There’s no need to panic, though, as studies have shown that there is scientific evidence supporting this loss of memory during pregnancy, and proving that being a mother really does change your brain for the long run. Not only does the entire makeup of our brain change, but there are a number of other factors that can contribute to the dreaded Momnesia.
What Causes Momnesia?
As if we didn’t have enough to worry about with a new baby, we now have to worry about experiencing senior moments in our daily lives as well. Momnesia can be tracked to a few contributing factors that are all, unfortunately, part and parcel of being a new mother. Some possible causes are:
- Lack of sleep
The average new mom loses between 450 to 700 hours of sleep in the first year their baby is born, so it might not surprise you to learn your memory is less than perfect.
- Shift in priorities
Once your baby is born, this little person becomes front and centre in your mind. Having so much focus on your little one means that some areas of your brain might be overlooked, making it harder to recall information.
As one of the most stressful life events you’ll ever experience, having a baby can cause anxiety which leads to memory loss. Unfortunately, there isn’t much to be done about this, as stress is just a natural reaction to such a shake-up in our daily lives
How Long Will It Last?
You might have resigned yourself to the likelihood that you’ll suffer from Momnesia for the rest of your days, but the good news is that it’s not permanent. This lapse is memory is believed to be only temporary and as your levels of stress decrease and sleep hours improve, so too will your memory.
Some mothers report feeling the effects of Momnesia years down the track, although maybe not to the extent as when it first reared its forgetful head. It might seem like you’ll have a permanent fog on your brain after the first few months, but time will make things a lot more memorable for you.
The Upside to Momnesia
There always has to be a silver lining, right? Rather than focusing on how bad your memory is or worrying if it will ever return to normal, relax and enjoy the ride for now. If you’re feeling particularly concerned about your memory or not feeling like yourself, remember there are upsides to this temporary affliction:
- You’re virtually blameless
Nobody can get angry at you if you have a certified condition, so use this time to shun some of your usual responsibilities like hanging out the washing or getting a start on dinner.
- Efficiency is improved
Because you’re so worried about forgetting things, having Momnesia can kick your efficiency into overdrive to compensate. The second you think about paying a bill or booking an appointment you get it done, as procrastination could lead to total forgetfulness.
- You might find a new hobby
Some women find that starting a hobby helps to keep their mind active, so take this chance to try your hand at crosswords or jigsaw puzzles to give the brain a workout.
How You Can Help Yourself
While you wait for your razor sharp focus and detailed memory to return, the best thing to do is rely on lists to get you through. Grab some post-its, a whiteboard, or use the notes section of your phone and keep track of all of your thoughts. No longer can you rely on a mental shopping list now that you’re a certified sufferer of Momnesia, so you’ll have to be prepared.
Try to stay positive about the whole thing and try not to think about it too much, as it happens to the best of us. Just remind yourself that your brain is pushing everything else aside to take care of this beautiful new baby, so if you can’t remember the cat’s name for a few months then it won’t be the end of the world.