Wrestling with ‘baby brain’ and other parenting woes | #parenting


I am unwell. (Unless you’re my boss. I’m totally fine. Everything is under control. No need to keep reading.)

According to the internet, my affliction is common. Some dub it separation anxiety. Others refer to it as “baby brain.” The New York Times Parenting Newsletter even called it a superpower. However you say it, studies show that new mothers experience a reduction in grey matter. I picture pieces of my brain falling away like the swaths of hair I shed in the bathroom sink each morning — another postpartum thrill.

What is grey matter? Nothing important. Just a little part of the brain that is responsible for memory, emotions, decision-making and self-control. I can’t imagine why I’m struggling.

Some sources describe the loss of grey matter after childbirth as “pruning.” The brain throws social cognition overboard in favor of a heightened sense of vigilance and the ability to interpret nonverbal communication. In other words, while I can’t seem to remember the name of that guy from Oprah running for Senate, I can distinguish between an ‘I’m hungry cry and an ‘I need my diaper changed’ cry without a second thought.



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