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Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Thoughts on a Mother's Forgetfulness

Have you ever heard a mother say, “Man, ever since I became pregnant, I became more and more forgetful. It didn't improve either after child birth. I forget a lot of things these days.” I just chuckle whenever I think of an incident where I made a blunder while I was pregnant with #1. When someone I knew came up to me to say hi at a wedding and without hesitation, I extended my right hand and shook his hand. I then proceeded to say, “Hi, how are you? My name is Lois, what is yours?” He was a bit surprised and didn't know what to say at first so he finally said, “Lois, it's me, Dan. We know each other.” Then all of sudden I realized I do know this guy. I apologized and explained that “I have a pregnancy brain.” So, that was my explanation. Well, my memory is still not what it used to be, so does this mean I have a perpetual pregnancy brain? So what happened exactly? Did pregnancy somehow wipe out brain cells so that a woman cannot remember things she normally would? I know I am not alone in this. I know a lot of friends, families, and acquintances who have said the same thing. I pondered about this for a long time and I just couldn't come up with an explanation until recently.

So, this is my theory. . . I believe a mother's sense of forgetfulness is not due to her brain cells getting wiped out. Rather, it's due to the fact that she has newly acquired an enormous amount of responsibilities that even an average person who is not a mother cannot without forgetting a thing or two. There are so many things to remember in caring for a child and you are bound to forget something. Let's take a simple trip to the grocery store for an example. What does a mother need to multi-task in this seemingly easy errand? Below is what I normally do:
  1. Are the kids dressed to go out? If not, then get them dressed and cleaned and hair combed.

  2. Make sure they go potty before we leave to avoid “Mommy, I need to pee” while in the car or in the grocery store.

  3. Is the diaper bag packed? If not, are there enough diapers? A sippy cup? Toys in case the kids become fussy in the store. Extra change of clothes in case something happens (believe me, that extra change of clothes comes in handy)

  4. Make sure I get the sling since #2 seems somewhat tired so he may not want to sit in the cart for long.

  5. Am I dressed to go out?

  6. Get my purse

  7. Get the grocery list

  8. Get the kids in their car seats

  9. Oh wait, gotta get their shoes on

  10. Hmmmm. . . do I have everything?

  11. "Mommy, I want to bring a book to read in the car." Oh, ok, hold on, let me get one.

  12. Ok, I think we're ready to head off.
Now, does this seem like a simple errand or what? In this short period of time, I had to juggle many things just to get out of the door. Of course there are lot more multi-taskings such as this example throughout the day while caring for two little ones. So, does it make sense then that it's only natural that a mother forgets a thing or two? Prior to having kids, her brain is not constantly required to multi-task a gazillion things so things that ought to be remembered are not forgotten. Whereas a brain over-taxed causes a mother to occasionally forget. Perhaps we should look at this from a different perspective. We should be thankful that we do remember the things that we need to remember such as doing the humbling task of caring for our next generation. After all, our kids are well and alive. More than that, they are being cared for physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Kudos to me! Bravo to all the mothers who take on such selfless task. Our brains still work! There's no malfunction here. The Lord is still good and able to keep us sane, and He continues to enable us to do the tasks that are of priority with occasional memory slips of things that are of lesser importance.