We laugh and joke about having “mommy brain” but the phenomenon is a real scientific occurrence.
What we often refer to as the sleep-deprived zombie state most new mothers tend to experience is a legit psychological event that involves symptoms such as forgetfulness and a feeling of being scatter-brained.
The Science of Mom Brain
Research has shown that a woman’s brain changes after giving birth in ways that promote caring for her child. It is believed that these changes may help women understand their baby’s needs and emotions.
The payoff for these maternal instincts is the experience of reduced function of short-term memory, concentration and the ability to learn and retain new information.
Fortunately, mom brain doesn’t last forever and there are ways that you can accommodate these brain changes. Here are some tips for managing mom brain:
How to Manage Mom Brain
Use Memory Joggers
If you find your memory failing on a regular basis, use some simple tools to help keep your life on track.
With today’s technology, everyone has a smart phone handy. Take advantage of your phone by leaving yourself voicemails or typing up a note with important information. You can also keep a notepad and pen in your purse or pocket to jot down reminders.
If you need more visual cues, grab some post-it notes and stick them in plain sight.
Try a Brain Dump
Brain dumping is a simple practice of word vomiting into a journal. Basically, you write down all of your thoughts and feelings as they come to you, ignoring whether or not they make sense.
Doing so will help you to alleviate nagging and unnecessary thoughts so you focus on what is happening in your life. If there are underlying issues bothering you, brain dumping may help you to find a solution to your problem.
Grab a journal and make a habit of writing at the same time everyday. I would suggest writing at night to help clear your mind before you sleep.
Nourish Your Brain
There are certain foods that can help to increase your brain power.
Beginning your day with protein is a great way to get your brain up and running first thing in the morning. Throughout the day, fuel your brain with foods high in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and good fats.
Eating well as a new mother is easier said than done. If you find you struggle to enrich your diet with brain-boosting foods, try to supplement your nutrition with supplements such as Omega-3 or a women’s multivitamin.
Mindfulness is the practice of controlling your thoughts. It also helps to improve focus and attention.
Practicing mindfulness is not a lavish affair. Simply find a quiet time and place to sit comfortably while focusing on your natural breath. Allow thoughts to come and go without dwelling on them. Whenever you find yourself distracted, bring your attention back to your breathing.
You’ll find that the more you practice mindfulness, the more you’ll be focused on what is happening in your life. Perhaps you’ll be less likely to look for your glasses while they are sitting on the top of your head!
This Too Shall Pass
Like many struggles of early motherhood, your brain will eventually begin to return to normal function. Researchers say that motherhood permanently alters the brain, but the symptoms of mom brain do not last forever.
We want to hear your mom brain stories! Let us know your funniest mom brain story in the comments below:
(I’ll get us started! I wear contacts during the day and glasses at night. My daughter came out of the bathroom with my contact case but the contacts were not inside. I freaked out! I looked in her eyes, checked her all over and scoured the bathroom. Guess where they were? In my eyes. I was wearing them. Duh.)