After entering a room, forgetting why you went there, looking for keys like crazy with keys in hand, not being able to remember the names of the closest ones… These are the ‘weird’ situations that new mothers often encounter; in fact, they are completely normal. This state, which is defined as the Mommy Brain, which we can easily call the Mother Head, is not an urban legend. It even has a scientific explanation.
A study conducted at the University of British Columbia has proven that motherhood can have a direct and lasting effect on cognitive functions. In more detail, another study in Natue Neuroscience also observed changes in gray matter in the regions of women’s brains that contain social cognition and empathy skills. This is thought to be because parts of the memory are ‘sacrificed’ to develop new areas of cognition.
Likewise, fathers who interacted with their babies also showed increased activity in the amygdala part of their brain. As fathers take care of their newborns, the amygdala structures begin to resemble those of mothers.
Of course, it is obvious that one of the most important agendas in a home with a newborn is insomnia. The sleep pattern has a direct impact on the nervous system, scientists believe that the state described as the Mother’s Head is related to insomnia, as well as other changes. Neurobiological changes that affect verbal memory, especially during pregnancy and later, can trigger forgetfulness and similar states.
Being responsible for the growth and development of a new person creates a narrow and distinct focal point, and everything outside of this point can become more obscure. After all, Mother Head is in a perfectly normal state and knowing what is happening in the brain, it is possible to adapt to the new role.
How to deal with Mother Head?
Not every woman’s ‘Mother Head’ experience is the same. While funny but worrying situations such as forgetting what you’re talking about when talking, not remembering appointments, addressing the baby by the dog’s name, finding car keys in the fridge are common, the process goes different for everyone. Some women feel their minds open only a few months after birth, while others may struggle with it for several years. Here are some suggestions for dealing with these different situations:
1- be patient
The biological changes that occur are completely normal and are actually an expression of the brain adapting and developing to become a better mother. Although the side effects are sometimes annoying, it’s important to be patient and remember that there is a valid reason for this weirdness. Make room for minor mistakes, treat yourself with tolerance and affection.
2- Make lists
Forgetfulness is a must for the Mother’s Head. The best way to deal with this situation is to make lots of lists. It’s always a good idea to keep things you can’t remember on papers.
3- plan ahead
The only way life doesn’t turn into a rush is to be planned. Being prepared the night before to go somewhere, determining where you put keys and wallet, and sticking to a routine is the best way to gather a confused mind.
4- Establish a routine
When you set a time and way of doing what you do every day, you can give yourself more comfortable space for nape. Babies love the routine, feeding and sleeping at the same time is good for them. Of course, these little monsters who love routines can also tend to change routines frequently, it is important to have a flexible routine that is open to changes so that you can take care of your needs.
5- ask for help
One of the biggest mistakes new mothers make is that they think they have to do everything on their own. Include your partner in your routine as much as possible. Also, if your family or close friends live nearby, you can ask for their help, especially when you think you need a break. Most people will be eager to stop by for an hour or two and spend time with the baby when you need some sleep during the day. You might be surprised at how a little extra sleep can improve your memory and make you more alert.
Functions in the brain have a direct relationship with insomnia. Although regular sleep seems impossible, especially in the postpartum period, you should not neglect to meet your sleep needs at every opportunity.
7- Feed your brain
Eating and exercising brain-boosting foods like walnuts, blueberries, broccoli, and turmeric are healthy ways to boost the brain for everyone. Likewise, solving puzzles and playing games that stimulate brain functions such as word games can be beneficial.
8- Make time for yourself
This, like sleep, may seem impossible for a while. But taking time for yourself isn’t always just hanging out at your favorite place for hours. Sometimes a 20-minute bath can change everything. Take care of your needs and prioritize taking time for yourself.
Sherri Gordon. “What Is Mommy Brain?”. Retrieved from: https://www.verywellfamily.com/what-is-mom-brain-4774384 (26.03.2020)