Mums call it ‘baby brain’ – because when you are suddenly thrust into a world in which the very existence of another being is dependent on the decisions you make and the actions you take, other things seem to take a back seat.
Returning library books, remembering where you put the car keys and the time of Friday’s lunch date are a few among many things that just seem to occupy zero brain space.
Scientists have previously suggested that a new mum’s sudden forgetfulness is attributed to a ‘brain change’ that enables women to better concentrate on meeting the needs of their new babies, forcing other things to the bottom of the priority list.
In expansion of the above theory, a new study by researchers at Royal Holloway, University of London, has revealed that pregnant women have increased activity in the right side of the brain – the side associated with emotional skills.
In a comparative study of new mums and pregnant women, researchers found that pregnant women use the emotional side of the brain more than new mums.
In an effort to ensure that new mums bond with their newborns, the brain changes the way in which facial emotions are processed, positive expressions in particular.
So, in expansion of the ‘baby brain’ phenomenon, not only are mums likely to be forgetful but when pregnant, mums-to-be will probably be more sensitive to the expressions on babies’ faces (and in genera). – Now you know why your swollen belly seems to have precipitated a new-found interest in other people’s children; you can’t help but peer into prams on the bus (before you have the sense to not be so obviously nosy) and when your friend shoves their 5-month-old in your direction you don’t suddenly need to dash to the loo.
It’s pretty amazing how the mind and body adjust to the arrival of a new baby – coping mechanisms on tap.
Did (do) you suffer from baby brain? Any funny stories to share?