Before I had Max, I often used to hear people talked about ‘baby brain’ – a kind of extreme absent-mindedness apparently brought on by pregnancy and birth.
“That’s not a real thing,” I thought, with all of the confidence of someone who had absolutely no idea what she was talking about. “That’s just people using their kids as an excuse for their own stupidity!”
(You’ve all guessed that I’m now about to use my kid as an excuse for my own stupidity, right? Well, I AM: but bear with me…)
Then Max was born. Here are just a few of the things I’ve done since then:
01. Driven with Terry for well over an hour in order to take photos for a sponsored post, only to discover once we got there that we’d forgotten to put the memory card in the camera.
02. Done exactly the same thing again, just a few weeks later.
03. Turned up on a Tuesday afternoon for a dental appointment… which wasn’t actually happening until Thursday morning.
04. Turned up for an eyelash appointment at 10am. The appointment was booked for 3pm.
05. Lost my phone approximately 5,000 times per day, while in my own house. At this point, my life is basically just a constant process of searching endlessly for my phone. One time I even spent a frantic 5 minutes searching for my phone while talking to my mum ON THE FREAKING PHONE. I really wish I was joking about this.
06. Bought a pair of trousers online. Felt really smug, because I’d been stalking them for ages: it was only as I was hanging them in the closet that I realised I ALREADY OWNED THOSE EXACT TROUSERS, which were, even then,staring me in the face, all, “Forget something, Amber?” To this day, I have absolutely no recollection of buying those trousers (I also have two pairs of the trousers, obviously: well, I wasn’t going to send the second pair back, was I? What do you take me for? A normal, sensible person? I think not…), and can only assume they were one of many sleep-deprived purchases, bought as I aimless scrolled the internet during those early night feeds after which Max refused to go back into his cot, and would only sleep on me.
(I feel like I’ve over-egged the trousers now: they’re just plain black cropped trousers. They fit me perfectly, though, and, well, if you’ve ever tried to track down a pair of perfectly-fitting plain black trousers, I’m sure you’ll understand why it seemed sensible to keep the second pair when they arrived…)
One of my most embarrassing incidents, however, happened just last week, when I was packaging up a dress I’d sold on eBay, and an ASOS return. I sent both off and promptly forgot about them… until a few days later, when I got an email from my eBay buyer, politely asking why I’d sent her my ASOS return.
(I know what you’re thinking: that if I’d sent the eBay buyer the ASOS return, then I must also have sent ASOS the eBay dress. That was my first thought, too, when I started reading the message, but thankfully not: the buyer got both the dress AND the ASOS return. I send everything through Hermes, which means you have to print off the shipping labels at home, and my best guess is that I’ve somehow managed to print off the same label twice. Because I AM AWESOME, obviously.)
Now, luckily for me, the lady who bought my dress turned out to be, a) honest, and, b) absolutely lovely about it (And I promise I’m not just saying that because she later revealed that she’d recognised my name on the returns label, because she’d been reading my blog – hi, Hazel!), so I managed to get the mess sorted out, and the parcel should hopefully be on its way to ASOS soon. It was, however, the latest in a long line of incidents that have served to prove something to me:
Baby brain is real.
And, what’s more, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that it doesn’t just affect the person who gave birth to the baby, either: Terry has also found himself a little more absent-minded than usual since Max arrived (He realised on the way to the airport last month that he’d left his wallet and driver’s licence on his desk at home. No, he will never be allowed to forget it… ), which brings me to my next conclusion: if ‘baby brain’ is real, then it’s possibly not due to some medical reason connected to pregnancy, but simply one consequence of the fact that, when you have a new baby, you have SO MANY THINGS to think about that it can be hard to focus on just one of them at a time. In our case, it hasn’t really gotten any easier, either: Max may no longer be a newborn, but I find toddlerhood just as challenging – and the fact that we’re now having to attempt to juggle our parenting responsibilities with running a business makes it even more so.
if ‘baby brain’ is real, then it’s possibly not due to some medical reason connected to pregnancy, but simply one consequence of the fact that, when you have a new baby, you have SO MANY THINGS to think about that it can be hard to focus on just one of them at a time.
For the past 18 months, then, I’ve felt a bit like I’m functioning with only around 20% of my brain. No matter what I’m doing, my mind is constantly flicking through an endless list of all of the OTHER things I should be doing at the time, and frantically trying to work out how on earth everything’s going to get done. As for the things that DO get done, meanwhile, they’re always done in such a rush that it’s no wonder I keep messing up, and making mistakes. When Max was younger, I used to joke that we always left the house as if we were being chased – i.e. in a panic, and almost always without something essential. Now, though, I feel like I live my entire LIFE like that: always in a rush, always on a deadline, and always with this underlying panic that there’s just not enough time.
There really isn’t, though: in fact, most days it feels like there’s barely time to think, so I just rush from one task to the next, like the proverbial headless chicken. Some things get done, but most things don’t, which means I also get to feel constantly guilty about the fact that I’m just not bringing my A game to anything these days – and not for the lack of trying, but simply for the lack of time.
For the past 18 months, then, I’ve felt a bit like I’m functioning with only around 20% of my brain.
Is it baby brain, though, or is it just… well, me being a bit stupid, really?
Er, probably a bit of both, to be perfectly honest. I mean, as long-time readers will know, it’s not like I’m a stranger to random acts of stupidity: I have an entire blog category dedicated to them, after all. Whereas those acts of stupidity used to be occasional events, which we’d laugh about immediately after, though, I have to admit that, these days they’re much more frequent – and not always particularly funny, either. (And, no, I don’t have a brain tumour, or some other disease that’s making me more forgetful, so, if you’re about to suggest that, I’d respectfully ask you to read this post first…) They are, however, part of our lives as parents: and if anyone else has some ‘baby brain’ moments of their own to share (And remember: you don’t have to be a parent to commit random acts of stupidity: it just helps…), and make me feel a little bit better, I’d certainly love to hear them.
Now, if anyone needs me, I’ll be looking for my phone…