“Mom Brain”: A Dad’s Perspective

July 23, 2017
"Mom Brain": A Dad's Perspective

I have vaguely heard of an element called “mom brain” just from being around my wife. If my definition is warranted, I would characterize the syndrome as when most thoughts become kid-friendly or involve the kids, even when they have nothing to do with the subject. Or, here’s a flatter designation: “misplaced momminess.”

My wife’s mom brain is actually hilarious. She will answer a question with a response that doesn’t have anything to do with anything. A lot of the time, I don’t point it out. Just last week, she randomly held out in the air at me one of Jrue’s sippy cups and looked at me like I was crazy when I sat there, confused as to why I was being instructed to take the cup. She then quickly realized with a laugh that I wasn’t Jrue.

This example can show that the mom brain primary feature includes a fuzzy forgetfulness. The poor woman.

Parenting article discussed when mom brain may arrive. “. . .Baby brain drain, maternal absentmindedness — the phenomenon of forgetfulness is a fact of life for moms, often setting in even before they give birth. This particular brand of memory loss can reduce the kind of person who once never forgot a face. . .into a blithering idiot. (Rhodes, “Mommy Brain”)

Mom brain seems to be exclusive to women, but I’m unsure as to if we can attribute the tendency to something environmental or something biological. Some research shows that mom brain is scientifically probable, but also really a positive thing.

“Does this condition have any basis in science?” asked Elise Proulx in a May 2017 article. “A new study in Nature Neuroscience suggests the answer is yes. Pregnancy does seem to change a woman’s brain—perhaps permanently—so that she can better connect with other people. . .Pregnant women lost a significant amount of gray matter, in a pattern similar to what happens during puberty. . .When the researchers scanned the brains of the same women two years later, the changes remained in place, suggesting they may be permanent. There were no similar changes in the brains of first-time fathers or childless men and women.” (Proulx, 2017)

Proulx went on. “The biggest changes were concentrated in the cerebral cortex, which—among its many functions—plays a key role in processing relationships with other people. The areas that showed pruning were specifically related to the ‘theory of mind’ network—that is, the part of the brain that tries to figure out what people are thinking and feeling. The researchers speculate that this may enhance mothers’ ability to accurately guess their infant’s emotional states and meet their needs.” (Proulx, 2017)

Additionally, many women are nurturers or “motherly” by nature, which is only amplified after she has children. According to science, she may be more easily able to empathize with people as a mom, which is especially needed in someone who didn’t have that, perhaps, growing up.

Could there be an equivalent “dad brain?” Not at all. Environmentally, dads are usually able to put most of anything into context. If we are in a meeting with our boss, for instance, we cannot imagine spitting on our thumb and wiping something stuck to the boss’s face with it. That’s something mom brain may allude to. Biologically, men cannot carry children. We cannot go through the brain changes.

I honestly don’t feel sorry for any of that.

Works Cited

Proulx, Elise. “Why ‘Mom Brain’ is Good for Mothers and Babies.” Lakeside Connect, May 11, 2017, Accessed Jul. 23, 2017.

Rhodes, Maura. “Mommy Brain.” Parenting, n.d., Accessed Jul. 23, 2017.

Photo by jesse orrico on Unsplash

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