You lose your mind when you have a child. Quite literally. Studies show that there are ‘significant grey matter changes
’ happening for at least two years after birth.
It’s been an area ignored for centuries, but more and more studies
are finally looking into the astonishing changes women go through when they become parents.
In this eye-opening Refinery 29 piece
, novelist Emma Jane Unsworth explores not just the huge changes occurring within women’s brains during pregnancy and early motherhood, but how little we know about them, and how they can affect so much of our early experiences as mothers:
Could this help to explain the heightened anxiety many new mothers feel? The forgetfulness of some things and the hypervigilance when it comes to others? The unmooring from our sense of identity?
The piece interviews Kelly G. Lambert, a professor of behavioural neuroscience, and cities studies suggesting that women may indeed become more creative after having kids. Some choice cuts:
On brain changes:
“…a mother’s brain requires cognitive, emotional, and behavioural flexibility. This helps us adapt to new environments […] flexibility and thinking outside of the box—isn’t that what creativity is?”
On the urge to create:
“Diaper changes might cut into the time spent on creative work, but they don’t cut out the drive to do it”
“My own creativity these days may come out in a thought tapped and auto corrected on my phone at 2 a.m., or it could come out in a method of bathing three small kids without anyone drowning.”
“I feel like I can’t get my ideas out fast enough. Sometimes it causes me pain to leave. At the same time, I love going home to my family, switching gears and going into mom mode – it helps normalize me.”