If it hasn't happened to you yet, it's going to happen soon—pregnancy brain! I'd heard about the crazy phenomenon and thought I was free and clear of this pesky side effect, but no, it hit hard this week.
If you aren't familiar with the concept, pregnancy brain leaves you at a loss for words and thoughts, words that you just had moments ago. Many feel that pregnancy brain is just a myth. But some researchers (and pregnant women who know better, like me!) believe that higher levels of progesterone pumping through your body during the third trimester cause your brain to run on overdrive and lead to forgetfulness. There isn't anything wrong with you. If you're having pregnancy brain moments, it's totally normal. There also isn't anything that you can do about it, so get out a notebook to write things down and make sure to take a deep breath when you have a frustrating moment. It's good if you realize when it's happening, but I didn't even know what was going on until it was too late!
Pregnancy Brain at Work
Luckily, most people are understanding and even helpful in these sometimes embarrassing situations. And if you're around any mothers, you'll hear lots of pregnancy brain-drain memories from them. It just so happened that one of my first major encounters with my newly acquired pregnancy brain problem happened while chatting with a parent at the school where I work. While pleasantly talking with the cheerful mom about her son, I realized I couldn't remember his name! I eased my way around it, but then I couldn't even remember the word "paint" when I was trying to tell her about her son's day. I stopped mid-sentence and just stared at her with my mouth open. She laughed while I politely explained that I couldn't get out the word that I wanted to say—I could explain the word and give her a brief mime of the activity—but the word "paint" wouldn't come out! Smiling, she told me to get used to it, and seriously, you're lucky if you ever get your brain back!
I brushed it off as the result of a long day, being a little tired, and maybe not having had enough to eat for lunch. Sure enough, later in the day I found myself running to the market to get one item for dinner, and as soon as I was in the store I had no idea what I was supposed to get! I wandered up and down the aisles and armed myself with a couple of items that I thought might have been what I needed, but no, when I returned home I didn't have any of the right ingredients. Dinner was interesting that night.
Lists Are My New Friends
Many women experience pregnancy brain moments. But there are those lucky few who don't have difficulty with it at all.
I have learned to just be honest when I get into a pregnancy brain moment and come clean about it right away—everyone understands. Although it's frustrating at times, I try to laugh it off.
I make a list every time I go to the grocery store, and I started doing some memory games (crossword puzzles are great, too) just to keep my brain sharp. Hopefully it won't last too long!
Waist measurement: 41 inches
Weekly weigh-in: 163 pounds
Pregnancy symptoms: Welcome, pregnancy brain!
My favorite pregnancy anecdote for the week: What moms keep telling me, something along the lines of, "Don't worry, I got my memory back like 18 months after the baby was born but then I got pregnant with my second child and I don't think it's ever really come back." This was supposed to make me feel better!
Pregnancy "first" of the week: Finding that forgetting things can be a little fun sometimes. Sometimes I just forget about forgetting.
Doctor's visit: Not this week.
About the Photo: The above picture of the author was taken during her 26th week of pregnancy by Dean Lipoff.
Read the next installment: week 27