Has motherhood changed the way you think? It turns out that baby brain isn’t just an old wives tale, but a very real thing. Experts now say that motherhood leads to one of the “most significant biological events in your lifetime” meaning your neurobiology is completely rewired. You act and react differently – and it can be extremely disconcerting.
Does this sound familiar?
Chelsea Conaboy, writing in the Boston Globe, explains that “among the biggest worries I faced was worry itself”.
“The way I saw it, motherhood made me feel this way, and I would be a mother forevermore. Would I always be this anxious? And would my baby suffer for it? I feared that something deep within me — my disposition, my way of seeing the world, myself — had been altered.”
Speaking to researchers, Chelsea found out that women experience a flood of hormones during pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding that primes the brain for dramatic change in regions thought to make up the maternal circuit.
Yet this isn’t widely discussed among pregnant women, she explains.
“It’s easier to talk about decorating the nursery than about the gripping fear that sends you into a full-body sweat the first time you take baby to the grocery store. It’s more comfortable to debate baby names and stroller brands than to discuss the depth of loneliness that can come at 2 a.m. when you are awake again with a crying baby,” she writes.
Baby brain may have a true biological basis, but it still isn’t clear
“Today, of course, the idea that her brain is muddled by motherhood fuels pregnancy discrimination in the workplace and elsewhere. The research on “mommy brain,” the forgetfulness or general fogginess that many women report experiencing, is somewhat mixed,” she admits.
Chelsea says this transformation wasn’t as pronounced on the birth of her second child, because she was far more prepared for the feelings it would bring.
“I anticipated the emotional roller coaster of motherhood as I was expecting my second child last summer. Knowing what may be coming didn’t make the ups and downs any less real, but it made them less scary. I worried plenty. But I didn’t worry about the worry.”
Can you relate to this? Did you feel motherhood made you more worried and anxious, or simply feel like a different person? Share your story with us!