Waiting for Agnes

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Disinterested ≠ Stupid November 3, 2010

Is there a mother anywhere who hasn’t been accused of having ‘baby brain’ at some point between conception and the present? Either your brain sort of leaks out (perhaps through the placenta or maybe your breasts?). Or you just ship your brain off into long-term storage for the duration of your intensive parenting years. And after this you’re basically peri-menopausal, so it’s not really needed then either. You can just write everything you need to remember on your patch. Then it’s retirement and no-one needs a brain to circumnavigate the country in a campervan, with only a husband, hair curlers and high-waisted slacks to manage.

Of all the dumb platitudes dumped on mothers, this one really pisses me off. Having a baby, at any gestation, doesn’t make you stupid. Pregnancy pulls your focus deeply inward, physically and emotionally, igniting your imagination, your dreams, your future-gazing. Your body carries secrets and you want to divine them. Your baby grows, their birth is closer every day, and other people, other things simply stop being interesting. Mothering stretches this focus to its limits, at once outward to this tiny new being, and inward to this new part of yourself. Somehow you need to feel and think and be in this new self, to take this new self and weld it into your original self. And you, this amalgam of welded bits of new and old, will look and feel and be different. But you won’t be dumber. Your brain will not be lying, dusty, in a forgotten corner.

In fact, it will be bigger and better than ever!

Thank you blue milk, for bringing this piece of research into my life.


2 Responses to “Disinterested ≠ Stupid”

  1. LMF1 Says:

    It might not make you dumber literally but that inward focus appears to others as vague, flaky and forgetful.

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