When I was pregnant with my first son, it was such an exciting time. There were so many firsts like the first ultrasound, the first maternity outfit, the first baby gift and then…. PREGNANCY BRAIN. I am not sure if this is a common term or the words that my girlfriends and I used to describe the forgetfulness we began to experience during our pregnancies.
At first, I thought it was just me. “What is wrong with me? I am having trouble staying focused and can’t remember things, even simple conversation words.” For example, during an evening out for dinner with my husband, our server checked on us during the meal and asked if we needed anything. I had just dropped my fork. I tried to tell him that I needed a fork but I could not think of the word fork. I was pitiful sitting there, with sauce on my jeans (from when I dropped the fork) and my husband and our server watched me try to describe what I needed, as if we were playing a game of charades. “I need…..something…. It is long…and you use it with food…. It grabs food…. No, it sticks into food…oh, what is the word for that thing?” I can remember them looking at me, dumbfounded, until they both asked, “FORK?” “Yes, yes! It’s a fork! That is what I need!” My husband rolled his eyes as our server left to bring the crazy lady a fork.
As I researched what might be causing my diminished memory, I found information that suggested that hormone shifts and sleep deprivation might be causing this change. One article even suggested that pregnant women may experience slight “brain shrinkage.” BRAIN SHRINKAGE? Oh great. So my waist and butt get bigger and my brain shrinks? Motherhood is quite a sacrifice. I did not find actual proof that the brain shrinks due to pregnancy, but I did find that I was not alone with the absentmindedness and I was not losing my mind. It would come back, but it would be a while.
I continued to experience these symptoms initially after my son was born. There were two separate occasions where I got into my car (thank goodness I never left the garage) without wearing a shirt.