Mommy’s brain Is Real, and This is how You can Get Over It
Because Lack of Mental Clarity Doesn’t have to be part of Motherhood
Picture this image.
You wake up in the morning, you open the door and the cleaner comes in; she devotedly clean the whole house, top to bottom, but she leaves the kitchen bench untidy; she is in a rush and she tells you she will finish everything up next time.
A week later she comes back and once again she starts cleaning the house, but she is slower than normal, and she doesn’t even get the time to step a foot in the kitchen.
The third week she drags herself into the house and it takes her ages to simply tidy up the living room.
This is a metaphor to describe the pain of a mother suffering from brain fog, also called “mum’s brain”. It creeps up slowly, and you go from being a super organized being to spending 5 painful minutes to remember what you had the day before for lunch.
Foggy brain normally comes with exhaustion, physical and emotional, feelings of shame, guilt and mood swings.
It is incredibly common, to the point that even the doctors brush it off, and everyone thinks it is part of being a mother.
I have news for you: it is not.
To some extent, being forgetful can happen to anyone; it is understandable that mothers go through it considering the lack of sleep and lack of relaxation time they can dedicate to themselves.
The following tips and nutrients are needed for the brain to function, and for the body to restore balance. You will be able to notice a difference in less than a month, and with more brain capacity and clarity of mind, not only you will be able to tackle different obstacles and feel more motivated to pursue your dreams, but you will also have more fun while doing it.
Omega 3. During the last trimester of your pregnancy, all your omega 3 stores get used up for the nerves and brain development of your little one. That’s when women normally start to suffer from poor concentration, loss of memory and lack of focus. It is important to start adding the highest quality of essential fatty acids and Omega 3 to the diet to protect and restore cognitive function. Essential fatty acids should also be on the top of the list for breastfeeding women. You can find EFA in walnuts, pumpkin seeds, olive oil, hemp seeds and wild caught fish such as wild caught salmon (stay away from mercury loaded tuna).
Iron, vitamin B12, zinc, vitamin C, vitamin D, magnesium, and copper.These nutrients are also needed to restore your depleted reserves, to support the adrenal function and to combat fatigue and lack of energy. They can be found in food, but depending on where you are on your journey and how tired and forgetful you feel, you may need a high-quality supplement to support your drained body and to speed up the healing process. Don’t self medicate yourself, always speak with a nutritionist or a naturopath.
Water. Water is required by every cell of the body; it is specifically needed by the brain for optimal functioning which means that the less you drink, the less clever you will be (not really, but bear with me for another second). Our brain is mostly water, which is why drinking assists the increase of blood flow and oxygen, reduce stress, maintain memory function and improve cognition. When you don’t drink water, your brain will shrink in size, giving you signs of lightheadedness and it will work less efficiently. Aim for at least 30mL of water multiplied by your body weight in kg. If you are breastfeeding, you need to increase that amount by 700mL (at least).
Hire a babysitter (or a grandmother). I remember that one day I opened the door to let the babysitter in and she (blatantly)told me I looked like shit, and I should go for a sleep. SO I did. The best money ever spent. It doesn’t mean that’s what you need to do; you may want to organize a date night, or being able to go for brunch without a squirmy baby wiggling around your arms. What I’m trying to say is that you need time for your self. I didn’t have my mum around to help me out, which is why I had to pay to get the proper support; but if you have family members willing to help, which won’t cause you to feel guilty or trapped….go for it!
Prioritise sleep. We can put all the right tools in place, work on the diet, and make sure your supplementation protocol is on point, but nothing good is gonna come out of it if you don’t start prioritizing sleep. Or rest in general. Your body and brain need quiet time to wind down and heal.
Get your meditation groove on. You can’t meditate yourself out of lack of sleep. But, and this is a big but, meditation works tremendously well when it comes the time to quieten your mind and when your body needs peaceful rest. It improves short term performance and decreases total sleep time.
Get rid of alcohol and caffeine. This is a tough one, and I do understand why a mother tends to reach out for the fourth cup of coffee. Having said that, caffeine and alcohol don’t help your brain (body and mental sanity). Limit your cappuccino to one per day; if you are really dying for a second cuppa, just go for a decaf version or make yourself a tea. When it comes down to alcohol…is dehydrating, taxing for the liver, and it depletes your body from important nutrients. If you still wanna be able to enjoy life, have 1–2 glasses of wine per week, and make sure you have plenty of water and food with it.