Having a Baby Actually Makes You ... Smarter?

nicole fabian-weber
I will eat your brains!
Whenever I mentioned that I was tired during my pregnancy, nine times out of 10 it was met with the response, "You think you're tired now? Wait 'til you have the baby!" And similarly, whenever I mentioned that I felt out of it, mentally, I would often hear, "Wait until the baby gets here. Then you'll have Baby Brain!"

Baby Brain? What the hell is that? I always wondered. And then I had my daughter and went, Ohhhh. Once an incredibly organized person, with checked-off to-do lists as far as the eye could see, after I became a mom, I became forgetful. Disorganized. Frazzled. Some chalk it up to iron deficiencies. Others to the surge in hormones. I kind chalk it up to a little bit of everything. But mainly a lack of sleep (yes, you were all right), and the fact that you have less time for minutiae than you had pre-baby.

But now a study has come out that says actually motherhood may make you smarter.

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According to this study -- this one study -- having a child may improve women's memories. Melissa Santiago, a doctoral student at Carlos Albizu University in Miami, conducted an experiment in which she tested the visuospatial memory of 70 women -- 35 with children, 35 without. Her findings showed that the women who had kids had better memories than those who didn't. She postulates that the reason for this may be two-fold. One, she suggests that when the brain returns to its normal size six months after birth, it may remap itself. And two, she said that improving visuospatial memory is beneficial to moms so they're able to quickly pick up on possible hazards to their kids in any given environment.

Santiago's experiment still needs to be replicated in a larger pool of people, but if her findings wind up being fact, great! I would take great solace in knowing that not only will my old brain "return" one of these days, but it may be a 2.0 version! However, I will be a little bummed out that I won't be able to use my "Baby Brain" as an excuse anymore. I'm actually going to have to look at my calendar each week to see whose birthday and anniversary it is. And I'll probably need a Post-It to remember to do that.

Did you suffer from Baby Brain?


Image via Nicole Fabian-Weber

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