Pregnancy Brain

Monday, October 22, 2007

Andrea and I are currently expecting our third child and are again experiencing the wonders of the first trimester. You know, that blissful period of time when your wife says common everyday phrases but they now end with a reference about vomiting, such as, "Mmmmmm, look at that turtle cheesecake.....I think I'm going to throw up", or "The guy in the car next to us is eating a Fillet O' Fish.....I'm gonna to hurl", or "Ew, the creepy guy on Survivor just took his shorts off....I'm going to be sick". Wait, I said the last one, but you get the point.

During her first pregnancy, Andrea read a time honored book called "What to Expect When You're Expecting" that explained all of the magical, beautiful, and painful experiences that awaited her.

(Side Note on "What To Expect": I actually think that book is a sham. It never makes a definitive statement. There are nearly 300 pages of wishy washy passages like, "Some women experience severe morning sickness while others enjoy nearly perfect health to begin their pregnancies. Remember, every body responds differently to pregnancy." It should be titled, "What You May or May Not Expect When You Perhaps Become Pregnant, Or Not". They should have just written in large, bold font on page 1, "Every Pregnancy Is Different!", and then filled the remaining 300+ pages with practical, helpful tidbits like "1,487 Smells To Avoid" and "500 Ways to Enjoy a Day Passed Out on the Couch". Does anybody know a publisher? I think I'm on to something here.

Also, wouldn't it be funny if they had a progressive series of the "What To Expect" books for each of your pregnancies. I had a lot of fun with the titles, which could be:

Child I: What to Expect When You're Expecting
Child II: It'll Probably Go A Lot Faster Than The First One
Child III: Now You're Outnumbered, Knuckleheads
Child IV: There Is An 87% Probability That You Thought You Were Done With Three Kids, So Let's Make The Most Of The Other 13%
Child V: You're Mormon, Aren't You?
Child VI: Since Child I and Child II Can Babysit, Why Not?)

Anyway, getting back to the point, there is a lot of material available about the changes a woman's body experiences when she is pregnant. This time around, however, Andrea has made me aware of a condition known as "Pregnancy Brain" that women often suffer when they are expecting. The theory is that since so much of the blood flow is redirected to the uterus, there is precious little blood left for the brain. This lack of blood flow to the noggin prevents pregnant women from being able to use their full mental capacity and causes them to be generally forgetful. However, the part of the brain that reminds the expectant mother that the smell of carpet makes her want to throw up somehow manages to continue to function on all cylinders.

I thought that Andrea was just pulling my leg and was devising a foolproof way of covering herself in case she forgets anything until May. If she forgets to pay the phone bill, she can just play the Pregnancy Brain card and get a free pass. Her memory continues to be much better than mine since I am the one who keeps asking her questions like, "Which night is Whitney's soccer practice?" and "Is tonight garbage night?", so I decided to Google "Pregnancy Brain" and was surprised to get 22,700 links. Many of the entries were from sites that I had never heard of, like momminitup.com, but there was one legit site, Babycenter.com, that came up and it said the following:

"Many pregnant women say their short-term memory isn't up to par during pregnancy, particularly during their first and third trimesters....Research on pregnancy and memory is limited, so no one knows for sure what's really going on. While some studies have found evidence of verbal and memory deficits during pregnancy, others have shown that pregnant women actually do just as well in cognitive tests as women who aren't pregnant."

Gee, thanks, that clears everything up. Let me guess, the writers of "What To Expect" were the contributing authors to Babycenter.com who gave us that definitive, all encompassing insight into Pregnancy Brain. Whether Pregnancy Brain exists or not is debatable, wouldn't it be fun if we could all play a Pregnancy Brain card and just get a free pass for missing a deadline or forgetting something important? Which brings us to this week's question for your comments:

If you could purposefully "forget" to do something, play a Pregnancy Brain card, and suffer no consequences for the oversight, what would it be?

Mine would be forgetting that we agreed that we do not need cable TV and then accidentally purchasing a package that would give us ESPN and Discovery Channel. I'm typing this blog entry all by myself on a Monday night (my exhausted pregnant wife fell asleep at 9:39) while Peyton Manning and the Colts take on the Jaguars with Maurice Jones-Drew, who is on my Fantasy Football team. There has been a tiny, though vital, piece of my soul that has been missing ever since MNF was moved from ABC to ESPN.