'Let's call it what it is' - Maria Rushe gets real about the baby brain phenomenon.
You are now approaching Baby Brain Station
Imagine a train network. (Yeah I know that this is an alien concept to us up here in Donegal, but hey!)
Your brain is like this: a series of tracks, each with a destination and with all sorts of trains on them. On any given day, millions of thoughts and signals travel through this network.
You are the Mammy Train.
Most days, we have so many things to do and stations to visit that we wonder if we’ll have enough steam to get it all done!
We recall information and remember things by reversing back to a station we’ve already been in.
We learn how to do things by going to a new station and continuing on and on.
Sometimes, we turn onto a new track and realise we should have been on it all along.
Sometimes, we need to get off a track asap.
We keep going everyday, sometimes not having a clue where this particular track is going to take us. But always chugging on.
Some days are like rush hour. Every track is moving, it’s fast and furious and how all of the trains manage to NOT crash, is a miracle. (Most days if we’re honest!)
Other days are slow and quiet with just a functional service running.
But there’s a magical station that is known only to Mums.
It’s the station called Baby Brain.
It sometimes appears on the track during pregnancy and appears more and more frequently in the early months of exhaustion fog.
You start a sentence and can’t remember what you were going to say.
You forget people’s names.
You go into the shop to get…something. You just can’t remember what that something is.
You forget words. Yes, actual words that you have used your whole life, evade you when you are at Baby Brain station.
Baby Brain station is derelict. It’s grey and brown and draughty and cold. Tumbleweed blows by on the platform which is full of mums staring into cupboards, trying to remember why they opened it, or of the Mum who is looking for the phone she has in her hand.
Thankfully, it’s only a temporary stop and often, your Mammy train is back on track and functioning after only seconds there.
But the station never goes away. I thought that Baby Brain was a temporary thing. Turns out, many years into Motherhood, my train pulls up at Baby Brain Station more frequently than I care to.
I forget names. All the names. Always have, but it’s worse since I had the girls.
My “Somewhere safe” has become synonymous with “Never to be seen again”. If I tell The Him that I put something “somewhere safe”, he rolls his eyes, knowing that I may as well have emailed it to fecking Narnia. It shall never grace daylight again.
I often walk into a room and genuinely have to wonder why I came in in the first place.
I remember doing things, but doubt if I am remembering planning to do them or actually doing them. Have you ever replied to a message or email in your head, but never actually typed the reply?
I’ve put the beige food in the oven but not turned it on more times than enough.
I could list all of the silly things that Baby Brain has made me do, but I’d be here all day. I’d be parked up at that station trying to find my keys for the train and trying to remember where I was going in the first place.
The station never goes away. And really, we should rename it shouldn’t we? Because it’s not “Baby Brain” really. It lasts way beyond the Baby phase.
Let’s call it what it is and stop blaming the poor kids!
It’s Mammy Brain and whether you like it or not, your Mammy train will continue to pass through it until you are no longer chugging.
Now, what was I saying?