"Until Five Minutes Ago I Didn’t Know What Day It Was" - Evanne Ní Chuilinn on the Curse of 'Baby Brain'
Absentmindedness does not make the heart, or any other organ for that matter, grow stronger.
I know that I share this planet with cynics who vehemently deny the existence of a phenomenon known as “baby brain”. The cynics don’t have children, they don’t know any children, and certainly have not spent any length of time carrying or caring for a child.
These cruel beings would have you believe that the would-be fictional condition is cited only in order to save face, or, for the sake of convenience. Please, let me introduce myself. My name is Evanne, I’m 30 years old, of sound body and mind, and up until five minutes ago I didn’t know what day it was.
On my way to the All Ireland Hurling Final (first edition) last week, I got off the Luas without my handbag. My handbag, and our All Ireland tickets. Today, I put the baby’s bottle into the microwave for 4 minutes. This might mean little or nothing to the cynic. Suffice to say, I had to buy a new bottle. On Saturday afternoon, after a trip out with the men big and small, I left my keys in the front door for 2 hours after we got home. On the outside of the door. And just five minutes ago, (11.10pm), I remembered that my Her.ie column was due in less than 8 hours, so down the stairs I trudged to pen this tribute to the cells that have taken leave of my once sharp and fully employed brain.
It has stunned and frustrated me, how we as first time mothers can morph from fully functioning members of society, to bumbling fools in the space of time it takes to sing the alphabet. (I think I can still just about manage that). This time last year, I would regularly watch five matches at a time, and report on all five in a 3 minute report for a live news bulletin. Nowadays, I have to count every spoon as I dunk formula into a bottle of water. 1,2,3,4,5,6,7. Seriously. What has happened to my intellect? Will it ever reinstate itself? Am I flaky because I can be? Am I forgetful because all I can afford to be….for now?
“Baby brain” began for me while I was pregnant, and apparently that’s pretty normal. The tiredness, the raging hormones, and the constant focus on the foetus go a long way towards explaining how the banalities of life escape our attention during pregnancy. But I’m ready to feel witty and sharp once again! I’ve been so focused on trying to get my body back into shape that I’ve neglected what I now believe to be far more important. Is there anything I can do to re-ignite the old engine upstairs? I’ve driven out of a car park with Séimí’s toys on the roof. I need some guidance before I drive off without a much more precious load of cargo. I can see it happening, and I can guarantee you my big man is surprised it hasn’t happened already.