32-Year-Old Mom Wakes Up Thinking She's 13 Again & Doesn't Remember Her Child (LISTEN)

Movie plots like Big and 13 Going on 30 love to hinge on the idea of someone suddenly waking up much older than when he or she went to sleep -- but the opposite actually happened to a woman in the UK. Naomi Jacobs went to bed as a 32-year-old mom, but woke up as a 15-year-old girl who not only didn't have a son, but had never seen a cell phone.


Jacobs, who has written a book about her experience called Forgotten Girl, told the BBC:

My last memory was falling asleep the night before in my bunk bed with my sister.

But when she woke up, she saw a strange 11-year-old boy staring at her. Stunned, she tried to crawl back into bed and make it all go away, but it didn't. She finally got out of bed and faced the reality -- she had no idea what she was doing in this weird-looking home with all of these strange sci-fi-like gadgets -- and this kid who looked so much like her. Says Jacobs:

Everything from fear to joy to seeing this child that I didn't have any memory of giving birth to but knew undoubtedly that he was mine because he looked so much like me. [And] the terror of having responsibility for this small child. For the first 24 hours I was just in complete shock, and I was convinced that I was going to fall asleep that night again and wake back up in 1992.

What Jacobs had was something called dissociative amnesia, which experts believe can be brought on by extreme stress. Jacobs says stress and a bout of illness probably brought on her mind's desire to hide from her own life -- and it did it pretty successfully. Dissociative amnesia isn't that uncommon, and every once in awhile you hear of someone in the news who just shows up somewhere, not having a clue who she or he is.

Luckily for Jacobs, the amnesia only lasted six weeks, though that must have been some very strange six weeks. She also was given a gift that will last a lifetime -- the ability to see her adult life as the child that she used to be would see it. She told the BBC:

At the age of 15, you imagine what you're going to be at the age of 32, and to wake up 17 years later and see that your life and the world hasn't quite turned out the way you expected to.... But seeing it again through my 15-year-old eyes gave me a new and fresh perspective to make the changes to ensure that it wouldn't happen again, and to improve my quality of life.

Seems like a pretty awesome gift to have when you think about it. I kind of wish that I could suddenly see myself with the eyes I had when I was a teen. What would I change? What would I be proud of? What would I love and not love about my adult self?

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I think I'd tell my adult self not to work so much, to enjoy myself more, to allow myself to be happier, and to stop brushing my teeth so hard, because at just about my age, my dentist is going to tell me my gums are beginning to recede from hard brushing. So stop that!

What would your 13-year-old self tell your adult self?

Image via bachmont/Flickr

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