Wednesday, April 15, 2009

who am I? who are you? Where am I? Where are my keys?

I am afraid I could do no better, especially in my current state of affairs. I have copied this from "view from the seat" a blog from one of my dear friends.
Recently, a friend was bemoaning her loss of memory. Recent, as in first noticed soon after she had an affirmative + sign on the home pregnancy test. Recent, as in even more intense since she was asked, “Do twins run in your family?” Many women believe that they become more forgetful during pregnancy: a new study by Australian researchers suggests that they are right - and that their memory can be significantly impaired for at least a year after giving birth.
Until recently, much of the evidence for pregnancy-related memory deficits was either anecdotal or based on subjective reports. The new study, published recently in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, is the first to assemble and analyze data from a wide range of scientific studies into the phenomenon.

The results indicate that the impairment - dubbed "baby brain" - is still evident a year after childbirth. Since none of the studies has extended beyond that time, scientists claim not to know how long the deficit continues.

Nor do scientists understand why a woman's memory should be impaired at such an important time, although several theories have been put forward. Luckily, readers of this blog are about to be on the front row of a scientific breakthrough: Baby brain is the fault of Albert Einstein.
It all has to do with the Law of the Conservation of Matter. Those with a scientific interest are well aware of this fundamental principle of physics: that matter cannot be created or destroyed in an isolated system (with apologies to Dr. Einstein for my abbreviated definition).Is there any better example of an isolated system that a gestating woman?

It boils down to this. As the baby, or in this case babies, grow in the mother’s uterus we have a veritable explosion of new cells. We’re talking placenta, lots of amniotic fluid, extra breast tissue, some additional fat stores, and last-but-not-least the piece-de-resistance – BABY. If we follow the laws of physics, and really what other choice do we have, there must be a counterbalancing diminution of cells within the isolated system. Enter into the equation the mother’s brain. Yes, it is official, mothers lose brain cells with every pregnancy. And the really bad news? They don’t come back (brain cells that is).This is why after a first pregnancy, new mothers note that they have more difficulty assembling all the items needed to leave the house; car keys are misplaced; and there is no recollection of a good night’s sleep. The second pregnancy results in more irretrievable brain cell loss. For instance, mothers feel an increasing need to write things down so that task won’t be forgotten (eg. “Wash face, brush teeth.” “Eat”) It is no coincidence that more post-it notes are sold to households with two or more children than to all the Fortune 500 companies combined. The problem is as with all home/office supplies, mothers can never find them once purchased. Somewhere in most family homes lies an enormous pile of post-it notes, tape, pencils, pens, and notepads. Meanwhile, we take phone messages by using a frozen chocolate chip to write on the side of the refrigerator.
By the third pregnancy the issue is noticeable even to strangers. When asked the expected date of arrival for the new baby, mothers awaiting the birth of number three have been known to say “2009.” Mothers cannot recall their own child’s name, resulting in the “litany of the sinners” frequently heard in homes everywhere, “Tommy, Michael, Jason, Fred, Chad, Alex…you know who you are! GET DOWN FROM THERE!” (Child’s name is actually “Joe, Jr.”) When leaving for vacation Moms no longer ask, “Did I unplug the coffee pot?” That’s a post first pregnancy level question. No, after #3 we hear, “It’s YOUR turn to count. They are all back there aren’t they?” I’m sure that third pregnancy syndrome was the cause of my niece Jessica being left at the picnic area after a long ago family gathering. Don’t panic, she was twelve at the time, but still…

For my friend, the news is nearly tragic. From a competent educator, recently enrolled in a prestigious PhD program, she will soon be reduced to attempting to deposit grocery coupons at the bank drive through and wandering mall parking structures hoping to locate her car by pushing the remote and hoping to hear a friendly chirp of the horn. With twins, she jumps directly into Level 2 brain cell loss.

To her husband, good-old “What’s His Name,” be proactive! Stock up on Post-It notes. Investigate whether infants can be microchiped at the vet’s office. And start wearing a name tag – who you are will soon be the least of her worries.

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