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Can you still call it ‘baby brain’ 18 months later?

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efore 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:

Me and Max, Florida 201901. 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. 

*HEADDESK*

(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.)

red polka dot wrap dressNow, 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…

baby brain: is it real, or am I just getting stupider?

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18 Comments
  • Myra
    June 26, 2019

    Of course baby brain exists, it’s lasted me almost 48 years, and in case you wondered, so does post-natal depression. I ticked all the symptom boxes when my youngest was about 34 lol.

  • Lila Athanaselis
    June 26, 2019

    I have done all of these but many more stupid mix ups, I blame the meds I am on and the illnesses I have, can’t be baby brain as my youngest is 19 😂

  • last year's girl
    June 26, 2019

    Clicked on this post title to rush to your defence about “baby brain” being a phrase society uses to belittle new mums who are now having to juggle keeping a human alive, organised and functioning AS WELL AS EVERYTHING ELSE… so I’m glad that you came to that conclusion yourself before I got there, haha.

    Still laughing at your Asos return though. You are a DELIGHT. As is Hazel!

    xx

  • Rosie
    June 26, 2019

    I’ve got some corkers, including buying a cute summer top which turned out to be a baby’s dress and a gorgeous red frock which actually fit my 9-year-old niece (both were tried on to the best of my ability before I realised my error. I also ALWAYS forget someone in the weekly Tesco order, despite the fact that I have written a list. And I’ve done that phone thing too. I HAVE NO CHILDREN x

    • Amber
      June 26, 2019

      OK, I *literally* laughed out loud at the baby’s dress – OMG!

      • Rosie
        July 3, 2019

        I know! What an idiot. I managed to get my head through before calling my husband to wrench me out of the bloody thing.

  • Elaine
    June 26, 2019

    How about going out and buying a whole food shop, going through the checkout then realizing you’ve no cash and have left your bank cards in your going out handbag from the previous evening? Then the following week doing exactly the same again! My youngest baby is 20!

    • Amber
      June 26, 2019

      I’m amazed this hasn’t happened to me yet: especially the “doing the same thing again next week” bit!

  • Amber DeSadier
    June 26, 2019

    Man is it ever rough. Ollie is two and a half years old and my concentration is SHOT. I don’t remember how to WORD, a lot. Its so frustrating.

    • Amber
      June 26, 2019

      Ha, I don’t remember how to word either: I’m constantly complaining to Terry that I just can’t get the words in the right order any more…

      • Sophikita
        July 2, 2019

        I get this tooooooo! I’m so glad it’s not just me!

  • Karlie
    June 26, 2019

    I do the phone thing all the time. My babies are 28 and 21.

  • Tasha
    June 26, 2019

    Baby brain totally exists! When I first had Lyla I took her out shopping, went to feed her and realised I hadn’t packed any bottles! Luckily we were able to mad dash it home before she was hungry! I’d like to say that’s the only time I’ve done it…

    • Hazel
      June 27, 2019

      Oh 🤣😘 it’s Hazel. Your parcel was safely collected by Hermes yesterday 😜👍

      • Amber
        June 28, 2019

        🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻 AT LAST! Thank you so much 😘

    • Amber
      June 28, 2019

      Oh, I’ve totally done this, too!

  • Dhanya
    July 4, 2019

    Max is so cute 🙂

  • Anne
    July 5, 2019

    Stress and sleep deprivation (from say, say a non sleeping newborn) effect the frontal lobe of the brain responsible for things like organisation and planning. The end result temporarily mimics some of the problems in executive function displayed by someone with ADHD (fronta lobe developmental disorder) hence time displacement and losing items. Totally understandable!

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Can you still call it ‘baby brain’ 18 months later?