I just remembered how forgetful I always am, so let me jot this down real quick before I forget again.
Do you ever feel like you have to write everything down to remember it later? If you even remember to read what you’ve written in order to know what it is you have to remember.
Confusing, right? Well, that’s exactly what my brain looks like after having three kids! Yet it’s been an age-old debate whether porridge brain is actually “a thing” and if it is, whether it’s a biological or social phenomenon. It’s probably one of the conditions that baffle medics and scientists the most – mainly because we don’t go to the doctor for medication every time we forget something important, it’s not exactly life-threatening (but can be), and it’s not constant like amnesia.
But it’s real. Like the other day when I was driving my kids home from after-care, on a route I follow almost every single day, and for a second or two I completely spaced out and forgot where I was going. Although I’ve been suffering from bouts of forgetfulness since my first pregnancy with Jada 7 years ago, this particular occurrence scared me the most. Like many other people (even those without kids) I’ve driven in the wrong direction before, like when we moved house and I’d drive to the old house for a good few days thereafter before my brain finally caught on that that’s no longer where we lived. That’s pretty normal and can happen to anyone.
But you know something’s not quite right up there when you leave the keys in the door and go out for a whole afternoon, or you leave the stove on throughout the night – not just once or twice.
After 7 years of being a mom, and going through these and many other mishappenings, I’m convinced that with the birth of each of my three children, I’ve lost a little more function in my brain. Or have I just become busier and therefore more distracted?
Biological or social?
While some moms may have it worse than others, and while porridge brains have not yet been added to the medical journals, it most certainly is there. Often it helps to speak directly to the source if you need more convincing. Bring up the conversation with the mommies at school, or in the doctor’s waiting room, or while enjoying a braai. You’ll soon discover you are not going nuts, you are perfectly imperfect, and that we’re all in this mess together.
So what is causing this strange pregnancy phenomenon?
Medical tests from various doctors around the world have come up with the following explanations:
Biological reasons include the production of more progesterone and estrogen during pregnancy which are hormones that affect all kinds of neurons in the brain; huge surges of oxytocin during birth, which is necessary for the uterus to contract and the body to produce milk, and also affects the brain circuits; and deficiency of iron in the body during pregnancy which, if too low, can cause forgetfulness.
Social reasons include not getting enough sleep and multitasking, in which state nobody’s memory is good, and your priorities change.
Until more research is done on the subject of porridge brains and while we all continue our journey in blissful forgetfulness, “remember” to write things down, get more sleep, and try not to be so stressed and anxious all the time.
Image credit: thementalwizzard,