While I was in London, and needed to go to the exchange, I started looking for my passport and couldn’t find it. I knew I had kept it safe, and remembered seeing it in my bag the night before, so I was not worried. But after half an hour of searching everywhere, panic started kicking in. I got help from everyone at home and we spent the next hour looking, and while I was re-checking my bags, I realized that I had moved it into the bag I was carrying that day just five minutes before the search for it started, and I had absolutely no recollection of it.
Similarly, the very same day, a few hours later, my husband gave me the train ticket to keep it safe. By the time we reached the station – about 10 minutes after, I had no recollection whatsoever of where I had kept it and I was convinced I had lost it, only to find it in my back pocket.
I mean, I was really petrified I was losing my mind. Baby brain is one thing, but to completely forget something as important as my passport which I had moved just five minutes ago; it was quite scary. I was actually worried if I might leave my baby somewhere and forget about it, or forget my way home.
I delved more into it, and have found that MOMNESIA is common. So if you are completely forgetting things post-partum, don’t despair. It is common, and natural, and just a phase. (pheeeew!)
“It’s a state of the female brain that is a bit forgetful after she’s had a baby,” Dr. Louann Brizendine. Dr Brizendine, the author of ‘The Female Brain’ is a renowned neuropsychiatrist, and researcher. Speaking to the Today Parenting, she said: ““It alters brain chemistry; all these hormones are in a stew in the brain that are changing the way a mother focuses.”
According to Dr Sharon Phelan, a gynaecologist at the New Mexico School of Medicine, as quoted in the DailyMail, forgetfulness is part of women’s defence mechanism after the pain and rigours of childbirth.
Based on the reading I have done, I believe the following are the reasons a new mom forgets things:
- The new baby becomes the center of her universe, thus relegating everything else to a less active area of the brain.
- To naturally forget the pain/trauma involved in giving birth. Well, that does make sense to me. It is important to forget or not quite clearly remember that pain, or no one would want to have a baby again.
- The crazy changes in hormones
- Women’s oestrogen levels plunge from incredibly high in late pregnancy to virtually non-existent after childbirth. Oestrogen acts as a neurotransmitter which sends messaged to the brain
- Exhaustion, fatigue and lack of sleep. According to research, a woman can lose about 700 hours of sleep in the first year.
I must say it sure is a relief to read all this. And I am dealing with this one thing at a time, with a lot of support from my husband.
I think it scared me so much simply because I didn’t realize it would happen. I mean, I knew about baby brain and I have done silly things – like locking my husband out of the house – but nothing massive. So, when it suddenly struck me, I was definitely bothered.
So, be prepared, and if this happens to you, momma, know that it is completely normal. Knowing that it will happen will definitely help in keeping stress to a minimum.
Note it down, because you will not remember it later. In my kitchen, we have a small whiteboard, where I can quickly make a list of things we need to buy.
Use technology. Put all appointments on the calendar on your phone.
If you suddenly think of a topic you need to discuss with someone, whatsapp it your man, or to the other person; just the topic, so that they can remind you when the time comes.
I have two whatsapp numbers, one which I don’t even use, and I ping my other number with tidbits I need to keep in mind.
Or I email myself, and keep that mail as unread so that I notice it later.
Be organized: I know, it is very easy to forget even when you are supremely organized, but at least this will give some relief during the chaos. For example –you are searching for something and if everything is organized, you might be able to get through it easily.
Routine – Try and develop a semblance of a routine in your life. If not at the exact times, at least have a list of things that does need to get done. For me, it’s usually home, lunch, relax, sterilize bottles, pack baby’s bag, and pack my bags. And when I am packing either bags, I mentally go through a checklist of things. Since it is the same things everyday, I have been okay so far.
In terms of consumables, water is essential – especially in the Doha heat. Hydration is important to ensure your brain, and pretty much, the rest of your body can function properly. Omega 3 is also highly recommended.
Don’t shy away from asking people around you to remind you things. In office, I tell my colleagues to remind me to send a mail. Or make a phone call which is important and they are usually happy to help.
Basically, know that it is a phase, and will pass. And that you’ll get through it. Hang in there mama! (yup, I am telling myself too! 🙂 )