Forget Baby Brain: Motherhood Helps Your Memory

You know all those times in the first few years of motherhood when you lost track of time or forgot an appointment and you blamed it on baby brain? Well it might not be a valid excuse any longer. A new study out of the University of Miami says that having a baby might actually improve your memory.

For decades, conventional wisdom has told us that the hormonal changes of motherhood can make women forgetful. I’m not going to lie, it’s an excuse that I’ve definitely fallen back on. But Melissa Santiago has proven that old adage wrong, though she admits that her sample size was small and that the experiment will need to be replicated with more participants.

I think the entire idea of “baby brain” probably doesn’t come from actual memory function, it’s simply that new mothers have new things to distract them. It’s not so much that you aren’t able to remember anything, it’s that your brain has more to think about. You have new priorities, which can push old things to the side.

Maybe those new priorities actual help women’s minds juggle more information quickly. Perhaps the very presence of a new priority is like another exercise for the brain. On the other hand, this one a single study with a small sample size.

Either way, it’s an interesting bit of information. And it might just stop mothers from falling back on that “baby brain” excuse in the future. I’m not sure if I appreciate this study for that, or if I wish we could push it under the rug a bit. Who doesn’t want a free pass on remembering birthdays, anniversaries and the time your staff meeting starts every week? I’m just saying, moms might be able to benefit more from the lowered “baby brain” expectations.

(Photo: conrado/Shutterstock)

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