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Written by Ally Loprete

I don’t know how many more times I will be able to get away with the excuse that I am pregnant every time I have a brain fart. Seriously, my brain seems to be functioning less and less the larger the baby in my belly grows. Does the bloat travel upward to our heads as well? I am a bit of ditz, anyway- as my closest friends will tell you. And it’s not for lack of trying, or lack of caring. In fact, I used to be quite sensitive to the blond hair on my head until I met my husband and he helped me learn to laugh at my malapropisms and idiosyncrasies. There. A perfect example of how I mix metaphors and folk lore.
It’s times like these that I notice the difference in the patience level among my friends who parents like me, and those that are not. Not that I blame them, as I know I had less patience before I became a parent. It’s not that I was an insensitive person, but looking back, I see how easy it was to be judgmental. If we witnessed children acting up in a restaurant, for example, my husband and I would whisper to each other that when we have kids, we would make sure that they would behave much better that that. We’d nit-pick at the parents who were obviously are not giving their children the correct attention or discipline. Looking back at that time and that old me, I want to reach back into the past and smack my face. How dare I? The truth is, I barely recognize the person that I was before I had children and perhaps those unsympathetic notions are punishing me today with a very active toddler, often difficult to control in public places.
I used to be embarrassed by loud childhood behavior and public temper tantrums- especially the ones where my son would lay down in a high traffic area out of protest for not wanting me to hold his hand and force him to go in MY direction rather than his own. After nearly a year of this, I stopped apologizing to the disapproving strangers while they stepped over the obviously “poor parented” child on the ground, and stopped caring altogether what they must think of me.
But back to me and the air in my brain.
It’s gotten significantly worse upon becoming a parent, beginning with my first pregnancy. The term is called Pregnancy Brain: a lapse in awareness because of the fatigue that comes with creating a child and the big belly that causes a disruption in balance resulting in complete and total clumbsiness. Once the baby is born, the brain then transforms to Mommy Brain: a lapse in awareness resulting from sleepless nights and lack of adult interaction during the work week.
Of course, just as my toddler began sleeping through the night and I began to meet other numbed brained parents with whom I might commiserate did I rediscover all that lost energy returning. Of course, I became pregnant again soon after. Hello, pregnancy brain, can’t say that I missed you, but welcome back.
It’s no easier the second time around, either. The only difference is that I have stopped apologizing for it, and I’ve accepted it as part of the 9 month cycle. This is not to say that I don’t use the Pregnancy Brain explanation on a daily basis. The thing that I’ve noticed is that I don’t even need to give the explanation to my parent friends. They just nod in empathy when I’ve forgotten something obviously simple, like …oh…my own son’s name, or the year we are living in, or how to write a proper sentence. They get it…because they’ve either been there, or they are there with me now and didn’t even notice.
Yet, for all my non-parent friends, who I love as much as I ever did, for whom I find myself envying now and again for the motor in their minds that is still operating at full functionality- I forgive you for not quite understanding, but appreciate your acceptance, nonetheless. It would appear that parenthood kills more brain cells than the occasional kegger.
OMM Andrew
Author: OMM Andrew