Back in the day, remembering things is easy for me. In fact, I don’t need a planner to write down every single thing I need to do. Having a sharp memory became useful when I was still in law school since I could easily remember what I read.
That was before.
Right now, “forgetful” is among the many things to describe me. I need to write everything that needs to be done or else I will forget it. The husband tells me something and I’ll forget about it because I got sidetracked.
Memory lapses are common, too. One time, the kids and I were on our way home and after strapping them in their seatbelts, I remember I left my laptop in their school. There are also instances when I want to say something and when I’m about to say it, I completely spaced out.
Sadly, that once sharp memory is nothing but, well, a memory. I just make fun of it and refer to this forgetfulness as “mom-nesia” or amnesia for moms or “mommy brain.”
The surprising part is that this is not an isolated case. Coincidentally, most of the moms I talk to in my kids’ school experience the same thing, which leads me to this:
Why do moms experience forgetfulness after giving birth?
There are several reasons why post-natal forgetfulness is common among women:
- Hormonal changes during pregnancy affects a woman’s memory. Women have higher levels of sex hormones that could negatively impact brain neurons. As a result, hippocampus or that part of the brain responsible for spatial memory (the one that records information) is affected as well.
- A woman’s brain grows rapidly after giving birth, usually three to four months post-natal, thereby affecting amygdala, prefrontal cortex, and hypothalamus.
- A mother’s brain is “re-wired” and cognitive sources are reprioritized to focus more on the child’s needs while personal needs and other “less important” tasks take a backseat.
- Lifestyle changes in preparation for childbirth or after giving birth. Some experts believe that “issues” like lack of sleep could affect one’s cognitive function and ability to remember information.
- Fatigue, which often comes after giving birth. New moms experience fatigue from suddenly waking up in the middle of the night to attend to your child’s needs, chores, and juggling work and family life among others.
- Anesthetics given during chilbirth. According to researchers from University of Toronto, anesthetics activate memory loss receptors in the brain, especially when combined with loss of sleep, medications, and new environment.
How To Manage Mom-Nesia Or Post-Natal Forgetfulness
To be honest, it wasn’t easy managing forgetfulness. Up to this date, I am still struggling. Nevertheless, these tips helped me get things done and made me (more) efficient:
Tip No. 1: Write It Down
Having a planner helped me a lot. Juggling kids, work, and chores could be overwhelming, which means there is a higher chance that I will forget what I need to do.
I also assign colors so I will know which task is for who. Some prefer different planners for each responsibility, but I’d like to maintain just one to make it easier for me to see the things I need to do.
Tip No. 2: One Task At A Time, According To Priority
Again, it is overwhelming. I used to multitask when I was younger but now that I’m a mom, I prefer doing one task at a time. Prioritizing tasks is also important so I could focus more instead of doing everything all at the same time.
Tip No. 3: Delegate If You Can
I like to do things on my own. In fact, asking help is not really my forte. Eventually, I realized that I can’t do it all.
To help me with forgetfulness, I learned to ask for help and trust other people to finish tasks. It is also a good opportunity for me to teach the kids to become responsible, so I assign them “jobs” at home.
Tip No. 4: Know Thy Spots
The human brain can be “trained,” which helps us remember where things are. In dealing with post-forgetfulness, it helps when we assign certain spots for simple things so we can easily remember where they are.
For instance, we have an area where all the keys are. Shoes must be placed in this particular place as well. I have a spot where I put my watch and ring so I won’t loose it. Assigning spots made it easier for me to associate those little items and saves me time looking for them.
Tip No. 5: Set Alarm
This is my best friend. There are moments when I left the water tap open and the washing machine is already full – for 10 minutes. There are times when I completely forgot that I was cooking, so I had to re-do our dinner.
Setting an alarm became a guideline that hey, I’m still onto something and I shouldn’t forget that.
Being forgetful after giving birth may be common in most mothers. Still, this is not an excuse to forget things and become less efficient. These tips helped me a lot in accomplishing tasks, so if you have tips to share, I would love to read about it by leaving a comment below.
Ayi is a stay-at-home mom of two. When her kids are in their best state, she keeps up with chores, work, and ensuring that her sanity is intact. Join her as she navigates through this rollercoaster ride called motherhood.