As part of the décor in my home office, I have one of those cinema-style light box signs that allows you to customize the words. Mine currently quotes Cardi B, saying “you’re made for this.” I came across the sign during one of my many trips to Target while I was pregnant. I was actually walking out the store and noticed the sign sitting in a shopping cart in the cart return. I looked around to see if anyone was missing it but I saw no one. It was already out of the store so I brought it home. Judge me or judge me not.
But what if I told you that’s not how it really happened?
About a week ago, my boyfriend walked into my office and made a comment about how I had his sign in my office. I immediately got defensive and explained to him how I found the sign during a trip to Target. He looked at me confused and said: “I was there!”
He proceeded to tell me how we were leaving Target after our son was born to buy him some newborn clothes because he came out smaller than we expected. And how after we unloaded our groceries in the car and put our son in, he returned the shopping cart to find the sign.
I was shocked and in total disbelief.
Here was a memory that was so vivid for me but yet I’d imagined it completely different than how it actually happened. What was even more shocking was the fact that I wasn’t alone and I wasn’t pregnant!
He laughed at my version of the story but I immediately felt weird. How many other memories did I have that weren’t true? How would I even know? We’d had that sign for nearly a year and I’d just found out the truth behind it.
Mommy Brain is Real
I’ve heard moms talk about “mommy brain” and attribute certain behaviors to being fatigued due to the lack of sleep while pregnant or in those first few months after the baby is born. And yes, there have been times when I’ve could pinpoint forgetting things or feeling “off,” but this time I had no clue that my memory wasn’t what actually happened.
Research suggests that a woman’s brain actually does change after she gives birth for the first time, in ways that affect both her emotions and memory. Researchers from the Autonomous University of Barcelona scanned the brains of a group of women before and after they gave birth, and found changes in the structure of their brains that were long-lasting, remaining for at least two years.
If you’re a mom, chances are you’ve heard of “mommy brain” and maybe you’ve even blamed it for a lapse in judgment, a forgotten task, or a minor emotional breakdown at some point in your life. I’m thankful that this was just a clouded memory but it scares me to think that it could’ve been much worse.
This was just a reminder for me that it takes us a while to get back to ourselves after having a baby. Sometimes we never truly return to the person we were before becoming a mom and as scary as that may sound, I’m completely fine with that, as long as I’m healthy and able to take care of my son.
Take it easy on yourself, ladies.