You are a mom and you have found after having your kids you no longer could get away with not jotting down appointments in your datebook the way you once did. Before becoming a mom, you would have no problems with remembering appointments as well as returning emails or phone calls on your own. However, having kids resulted in you being extremely forgetful and absent-minded. You simply can no longer think clearly.
You also are finding that you are misplacing your objects a lot more often such as your keys or your wallet and this was something you never used to do. However, each time something important is missing, you go into a panic mode and may even begin to cry. That is also something you didn’t do. This now brings things to the next point. That is the fact that you may even find yourself more emotional than you used to be. That is what you call having the ‘mom brain’.
It is also easy to assume that being so focused on meeting the kids’ needs causes you to forget things easily. You may be more emotional too because motherhood ramped up that nurturing side to you that you didn’t think you had much of beforehand. Some of that may be true, however, there actually is a scientific reason why ‘mom brain’ is a thing.
Researchers have found that the reason that ‘mom brain’ exists is that pregnancy does change the structure of the brain, which includes the size which regulates emotions and empathy. It is a known fact that pregnancy hormones wreak havoc on your body and cause many transformations to happen. Additionally, ‘mom brain’ starts out as ‘pregnancy brain’ which means that the mom-to-be is quite forgetful and emotional as it is. That does not change after giving birth. The brain is changed for at least two years after birth, or sometimes even longer.
The way the study worked as that woman who had never conceived had volunteered to have their brains scanned. And then the same women went to have the scan done after they had their first children. What was found that there was a loss of grey matter in different regions of the brain which is responsible for cognition? In the long run that is not a good thing as it does have a negative impact on memory and how things are perceived.
Additionally, hormones may not be the only thing to blame for the loss of grey matter in the brain. The stress of pregnancy and being a first-time parent, sleep deprivation, and other effects of pregnancy would have had an impact. And even though the loss of grey matter means that memory is impacted, the whole effect is not necessarily a negative thing either.
The changes in the brain that moms go through also is a sign of maturation and increased empathy. The sign of that is having the ability to put her baby’s needs first before hers. The only risk of that is because the mom is putting her needs on the backburner all of the time, by not having her needs met can also become problematic as it can have a further impact on the brain.
However, there is good news. There are some easy ways to help overcome and deal with ‘mom brain’.
1. Eat Foods That Can Help Improve Brain Power
Yes, the grey matter has been disappearing which means that a lot of your brain cells have died off once you became a mom. However, you can still keep the rest of your brain powerful as researchers have found your gut health is tied to how you function cognitively. This means you will want to allow the good bacteria to grow in your gut which means if you like yogurt, start incorporating that into your diet. If you don’t, you can always take probiotics and prebiotics.
Additionally, you can eat foods that are high in antioxidants as well as good fats which are very good for the brain. Here is some great news about that. Dark chocolate is a perfect option as it is loaded with antioxidants and the same goes for red wine! And many moms absolutely love wine and chocolate so this news will make their day. Blueberries, green leafy vegetables, and many other fruits are great options as well even though they are not as exciting as chocolate or wine.
Avocados, salmon, and eggs are also great sources of fat and protein that will help strengthen brainpower. If consuming all of the necessary nutrients is not attainable, then take supplements to make up for it.
2. Exercise The Brain With Games
There are plenty of apps that are perfect brain games that will exercise the brain so the function does not worsen and can even improve. Games such as Happify and Lumosity are excellent games that will also help you think in a more positive way which is also good for the brain.
3. Exercise Your Body
It may be cliche, but getting proper exercise is highly important on a daily basis for your entire body which includes your brain to stay strong and functional. Exercise keeps the circulation going which is important for delivering oxygen to all of the cells in your body which includes your brain. Just 30 minutes of brisk walking or running after your toddler will do!
This may be unattainable since what mom can get a good night’s sleep? That may be true which means it is important to make up lost hours in the night through naps. Your body needs to be reset and rested which is what happens when you sleep which includes your brain.
Meditation is easy to do and it is important as it helps clear the clutter from your mind and as a result, it helps rewire your brain so you can become more efficient in problem-solving and your memory skills will improve as well. Meditation is calming too. All you need to do is square out 15 minutes a day to sit with your eyes closed in a comfortable area without interruptions. Allo thoughts to come and go and focus on your breathing and that is it. Make it part of your daily routine.
Yes, ‘mom brain’ is real as there is a scientific reason as to why it happens. However, it can be overcome and handled at the same time so you can become more functional and think more clearly.