Do You Suffer From Mommy Brain?
I was sitting in the doctor's office, nursing my third child while my doctor was asking me pointed questions about my complaint:
"Give me an example of what you are talking about."
"Well, just 25 minutes ago, I got the baby out of the car put her in the stroller, went to the parking ticket machine and put in my money. And then I walked away without putting the ticket into car. I'm pretty sure I left it there. And so now my forgetfulness cost me 35 bucks."
My doctor nodded, "Do you go upstairs and forget why you are there? Do you lose your keys?"
"Do you ever forget the baby in the car?"
"No," I answered. "But sometimes I have to turn around to make sure that she is there."
My doctor mulled over my answers and said: "You don't have early Alzheimer's. You have mother of three brain. You are just distracted."
I was so relieved. But that was five years ago, and my forgetfulness has not been eradicated. If anything, it has gotten much worse. I stand in the grocery store staring at the aisles forgetting what I need; I leave the house without taking the dry cleaning; I stand at the top of stairs with a blank stare; sometimes I forget the word I want to say and I stand there silent.
But I am not alone. Dozens of my friends have talked to their doctor about their forgetfulness, it is such a common medical complaint they should have a poster up in the doctor's office.
I go through periods of being sure that dementia has set in and my husband will be taking care of me as I lose all memory of our years together. Sometimes, even he is worried.
I know that mommy brain, or momnesia is a common complaint. But a study released a year ago says that mother's brains actually grow after giving birth. But even my neurologist friend doubts the findings, she too suffers from mommy brain - but only after she leaves her office.
The only thing that makes me feel better are the words of my book club friend who used to work the at the Alzheimer's Society. It's not a warning signal if you forget where you put your keys. The alarm should go off if you stare at the key and forget what it is. Also, it's not that you forget why you are at the grocery store; it's if you forgot how you got there or don't know how to get home.
Experts say that forgetting small things is a sign of distraction - that you are doing things too quickly and thinking about other things so you are not giving your brain a chance to put things into long-term memory. I hope so. And if I remember, I will try harder to focus when I put my keys down, but first I have to find them.
Do you suffer from mommy brain? Does momnesia affect your life?
Want more chaos? Last year, I wondered how much time and agony I spent on personal grooming.