When My Brain Stopped Working

I wish that I was that cool, intelligent, down-to earth, clever-witty girl. The kind that can keep up with the best of them, and the kind that people want to be around. I know they exist. Sometimes I meet people, and I wish I could just sound like them for a day. I don’t want their life, their body, or their experiences. I literally just wish that my brain functioned on a regular basis and that my mouth could communicate how well my brain was working.

In time, I’ve realized that I essentially have two different problems. Problem one is that I actually can’t think very clearly, or at least not nearly as clearly as I could before I become a mother. Problem two is that even when I can think, my mouth doesn’t cooperate, and I can’t find the words. I genuinely know what I want to say but my mouth goes “nah, l’m on break, come back later”, and then everyone looks at me like I’m an idiot.

When my daughter was five months old my husband told her that my brain came out when she did. Yeah, like she understands. I hate that he’s right.

In my line of work I am at a new place almost every-single-day. I meet somewhere between 4 and 35 new people each time I go to a new place and I usually remember approximately 1 of their names. This is especially useful when I am given detailed instructions and they mean nothing to me because I have no idea where I am supposed to go or who I am supposed to go with. I don’t know where the bathroom and staffroom are, not any other important places or items. And I am not only expected to keep up, but to prove myself to each person I come across- because one day I will want a permanent job and need these strangers to vouch for me. This was difficult for me to adapt to before motherhood, it’s near impossible now.

I wonder if older mothers slowly regain brain power, or they just adapt by getting better at pretending they know what is going on. I still haven’t figured it out. I secretly get really happy when other people-women especially, do and/or say ridiculous things.

And I think this is something that men just don’t understand. I’m not saying they are smarter than us, I just think that their bodies are so capable of focusing on (only) one thing at a time, and they can’t comprehend what your brain feels like then there are 75 tabs open.

I can literally think of what I am making for dinner, what my work schedule is for the week, what I have to pick up on the way home, and how mad I am at my mother for something she did 6 years ago at the very same time. Oh, but you’d like to know the name of the person I’m covering today and what town I am from? Forget it.

The exhaustion from working and mothering a toddler doesn’t help.

The fact that I’m deaf and most people don’t know that doesn’t help either.

Other people: “Hey, what are you up to this weekend?”

Me: “No, I’d rather just have a Caesar salad and a bison burger”

Other people: “Could you stop at Sobeys and pick up some iced tea”

Me: “Europe is my favourite place to get pizza”

The worst part is when I see the look on their face, which is trying so hard to pretend like what I just said made perfect sense, while at the same time trying to figure out how to get the answer to the question they had in the first place. Then I start giggling manically, and my face goes red, because that’s less embarrassing.

Today someone asked me if I had met a certain other staff member, and asked me what her name was. I responded by telling her my name, and saying it was nice to meet her. I couldn’t figure out why she had a strange look on her face until an hour later, and it was too late to save myself.

Sometimes I wish I could just pause my conversations so I could take a minute to gather my thoughts, my words, and my cool composure while the other person was frozen in time having no realization that time is passing. I feel like I would omit most of my blunders that way.

It mostly started when I got pregnant, and of course I called it pregnancy brain. Totally understandable. Then I had my daughter and I was sleep deprived for a solid 6 months at least, so naturally the term baby brain made sense. Now I’ve got nothing. At no point did ANYONE tell me that I would lose ALL brain power as soon as I gave birth and it would never return to me. Is that the reason lots of women don’t return to work? It’s just too embarrassing? That would make total sense.

Either way I’m settling into my new normal. It used to shock me when I couldn’t remember what I did last night. I’m not surprised anymore.

Part of becoming a mother is learning that THIS is your new normal. Whether that means your new normal body, your new normal Friday night in, your new normal potty time parties, or your new normal anything. This is it, and you’ve got to embrace it.

One of my many new normal things is my lack of good communication skills and brain skills. Hopefully one day Ill get back to normal, but in the mean time hopefully my daily blunders can provide some crucial comic relief to those around me.


2 thoughts on “When My Brain Stopped Working

  1. You’ll regain brain power. I remember distinctly how after child number one I felt like my brain was a mush. I couldn’t formulate a sentence and then one day I noticed as I was talking to a neighbour that I can actually create coherent sentences again. My son had turned six months old at that point. Nowadays with two kids I feel like my brain is slower than ever. I can communicate clearly when I write and get the chance to think things through and edit. I too hope I can regain that power some day.


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