Mommy Brain. Loosely defined, it is a mysterious medical condition where a human postpartum female’s mind is so overwhelmed with care giving tasks that she develops a pervasive, persistent personality change, often affecting her ability to function properly within society.
I wept like a baby, dear reader, when I goggled my symptoms and the diagnosis lit across the screen. Time stood still and in a fleeting, clichéd second, my life flashed before my sleep deprived eyes. Yes, I don’t look sick. But I assure you, I am an ill woman.
It has not been easy. My darling thinks I’m a histrionic hypochondriac. My child continues to selfishly demand milk, diaper changes and other pesky personal care needs every 2 hours, round the clock. The internet has been my closest ally. I’m glued to WebMD, searching every symptom, loitering and lingering in Mommy Brain support group forums. The disease is complex, and hot tears fell as I recorded each sign and symptom. I have them all. For your benefit, dear reader, and out of the goodness of my ailing heart, I will avail to you a list, a manual of sorts, just to give you a sense of my weighty prognosis, and an appreciation of how very strong I am.
Symptom one: Thick, scaly greasy flakes that form an impermeable, water resistant rash. My beautiful, cocoa colored skin for which I was admired is gone forever! However, I find a strange advantage to this new covering of mine. Petty gossip, malicious remarks, that dig about my expanding waist line – anything that does not pertain to the wellbeing of my family and I, or contribute to the greater good bounce harmlessly off me.
Symptom two: severe tunnel vision. My insecurities about how people perceive me – that need to live up to society’s expectations – are fading. Do they like me? Am I dressed right, talking right, playing the right “part’? Dissipated. All I see ahead of me, in sharp focus, is my future- better and brighter than today.
The third symptom: selective amnesia. Albeit inconvenient when one forgets to make the baby’s doctor’s appointment, thus incurring no show fees, or said individual forgets to pays the T-Mobile bill on time, resulting in ones’ account being suspended. The upside, you ask? That fracas with my bff? Forgotten. The scathing comment passed by a trusted ally? Like it never happened. I even found, dear reader, that this applies to old wounds as well (I’m looking at you, guy who broke my heart back in 2007!)
As 2013 winds down, I find that I am stronger and wiser. Having Mommy Brain has taught me to shake off the veil of public opinion that I (and many of us) have worn for so long. Forgetting what is behind, and pressing on towards my hopes, goals and dreams. To put it plainly, life sucks sometimes. We rise, we fall, we laugh, we cry. But still, with my selective amnesia, tunnel vision and greasy rash; clad proudly in baby vomit stained clothes, I forge ahead. Single minded, focused, forgetting old grudges, and doling out generous measures of forgiveness, grace and love to cover every offense. So, dear reader, as we cruise into 2013, I dare you. In fact, I double dog dare you. Come on, you can do it. Catch a bit of Mommy Brain today.
About the Writer
Ewurama Hayford learned to write by penning romance novels to cope with the tedium of Math class in high school. She enjoys writing and reading fiction, and is currently working on an anthology of short stories inspired by life in the diaspora. In her other life, she works as a nurse practitioner for a bustling family practice, where she draws inspiration from her glimpses into other people’s lives. When she isn’t writing, reading, photographing or nursing, she makes her home in Hartford, Connecticut with her husband Isaac and their little boy.