Every time I hear the term ‘Baby Brain’ it really irritates me. It has long been used as an excuse for a whole range of things. If you Google “baby brain” you will be met with several search results around what it is, whether it is real and possible scientific proof it exists.
I don’t think we need research or scientific proof. When you consider women will have spent several exhausting and uncomfortable months dealing with all of their insides shifting and growing to accommodate a human, 24-hour indigestion, muscle pain making it painful to walk, lie or sit comfortably, swollen feet and so much more. Then, birth which is several hours of agony, followed by even more excruciating pain whichever way the baby is delivered.
Then, you will be given an approximate recovery time of zero minutes before you are then handed your baby and given the responsibility to care for him or her 24/7 with no respite. Then, you won’t sleep for several months or possibly years. Is it really any wonder that we sometimes forget things or put milk in the pantry instead of the fridge? Give us a break.
I myself have been guilty of laughing at myself and jokingly blaming things on “baby brain that lasts five years”. Ha ha.
But it’s not really funny because we are exhausted. I would bet most women in the workforce who have a child at home under the age of one are on the verge of tears most of the time. It is not because we are weak or unable to meet the demands of our job.
I have seen a previously unshakeable chief executive crumble in a meeting because she hadn’t slept for four nights in a row and she just received a call from her child’s daycare, checking in after a particularly difficult drop off and she could hear her baby screaming for her in the background. It is incredibly hard to manage it all and the guilt is crippling.
It doesn’t stop with babies, either. Just because our kids are older, we still have a million things on our mind at any given time. Even if you have the most supportive and hands-on partner, the bulk of the parenting responsibility still falls on the mother in most families.
We are the ones who are keeping track of birthdays, meal planning, school activities, play dates, bills, parent-teacher meetings, doctor visits, dentist appointments, uniforms, sleep issues, separation anxiety and all the while working and trying to find time for quality family time and date nights with our better half.
My point is, we don’t need a label like baby brain as an excuse for being a little forgetful. We have about a million reasons for it.
This article by me originally appeared in The Canberra Times