There’s a word for the condition in which you frequently blank on words but I can’t remember what it is.
My mom, who is going to be 70 in a few weeks, and I were talking about it after I held a Thanksgiving yam in front of her face asking if she wanted me to cut it up and neither of us could make our mouths form the word. For whatever reason, I could remember that it was a tuber, but not a damn yam.
OK, Googling it (forgetting words, condition, help!). The word is aphasia. I’ve had it ever since my kids were born seven-plus years ago, and it’s worse in periods of stress (Thanksgiving was stressful, as usual). The words come back, often in the middle of the night, when I find myself sitting bolt upright shouting “Yam!”
Naturally, every single mom I mention it to attributes it to “mommy brain,” the result of too much running around, too little sleep, and multitasking to the extent that your brain simply can’t conjure the information you need when you need it. But my having kids just happens to have coincided with my crossing into Formerly territory, so maybe it’s a Formerly thing.Either way, Babble has a report on a new study debunking the myth of Mommy Brain–in case you haven’t noticed, you’re smarter–and there was a book a few years back that did the same.
The study, published in the journal Behavioral Neuroscience last month, wasn’t the first time scientists had shown that motherhood gives us a mental boost. In fact, decades of studies on animals and humans have revealed that our neurons reorganize when we have a child, making us more intuitive and wiring us to find our babies — and all the diapering, soothing, and feeding they require — highly rewarding.
Yeah, OK, but how about remembering your children’s names? How about “Sasha, pick up your dirty…um, stuff–NOW! And put them in the…thing! You know what I mean! Stop laughing!” That’s what I think of when I think of mommy brain, the periodic inability to recall words or to remember where you put things, like your offspring.
I write about health, so I know that this could be straight up stress (studies have shown that stress marinates your brain in chemicals until it’s essentially pickled) or it could be age thing (43 is a bit early for cognitive impairment, though) or it could be undercaffeination, as this usually happens in the morning.
But I prefer to blame my children, as generations of mothers have before me. Look, I’m all for science proving that we moms are superior to everyone else, but really, I think Mommy Brain is a real phenom.
What do you think? Is it kids, or just the exhausting life of a Formerly? I’d particularly love to hear from the child-free among you, to see if you have this um…thing…problem, whatever.