Baby Brain

Baby brain has hit me. Hard. It’s one of those things that mothers always joke about, how the fetus doesn’t build its own neurons from scratch, but sucks Mom’s out of her brain instead. More efficient, surely, but when it leaves Mom a confused stumbling mess, I’m not sure that’s the best strategy for survival of the species. Maybe that’s why humans developed societies and the pair bond – to keep pregnant women from absentmindedly walking off cliffs and squashing the next generation.

The baby isn’t snacking on my brain like a tiny zombie, of course. But some days it feels like it. Especially in the early days, it was mostly due to exhaustion. During the first trimester, I was tired almost all of the time, thanks to crazy hormones. Between nights and naps, I was getting at least 10 hours of sleep a day, but it was never enough. And when I’m tired, I do stupid things. Things like pouring a glass of water, putting it into the fridge, and walking to the couch with the Brita pitcher in my hand.

I’ve stepped into the shower with my socks on. I’ve fed the cats and wondered 5 minutes later whether it was time to feed the cats (the cats are loving this part). I’ve left for work without my lunch, without my badge, without deodorant. I’m on autopilot, but my autopilot is a soviet-era autopilot retrieved from a wreck and cobbled back together by a team using only IKEA pictograms to guide them. I remember to breathe, to eat, and to go to my prenatal appointments. At this point I have to wonder if I should just accept that as a successful effort at this pregnancy thing. Maybe I already did accept that? I’m not sure. My memory is shot.

Which means that words? Those things I use for talking? Forget it. They’re gone. I have never relied on hand-flapping and creative substitution as much as I have these past couple of months. My husband thinks it’s hilarious, and at first he’d call me out on my crazy sentences.

“Oh, crap, I forgot to pick up, um, that stuff… white stuff… like for baked potatoes?”


(Spousal violence in the form of whacking him in the arm)

Marge, where’s that metal dealy you use to… dig… food?

As time goes on and it’s clear that the vocabulary situation isn’t improving at all, he’s choosing to ignore it more often and guess my meaning from context. Smart man. Maybe we’ll keep the next generation from being squashed after all.


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