Thursday, June 13, 2013

Memory loss

(Caution: children and parenthood mentioned)

Does anyone else notice that, since having children, your memory has gone down the tubes?

Pre-children, I had an excellent memory.  I would remember names, faces, things I needed to do, things I had read, things people told me, things that happened to me (and to others) years back.  I could rattle off facts and details and deadlines about my cases without looking them up.

Even while I was pregnant, I congratulated myself on not having developed problems with my memory, as so many other women report.  I did sometimes have difficulty concentrating, but I attributed that more to my extreme fatigue/exhaustion and constant nausea and heartburn than to my pregnancy itself.

Then my sons arrived, and with their arrival, my previously excellent memory departed.  At first, I chalked it up to lack of sleep.  But my sons have been sleeping through the night fairly consistently for some time now, so I can no longer use that excuse. . . and the problem seems to be getting worse instead of better.

Nowadays, I sometimes cannot even remember basic things without a reminder.  At work, this state of affairs isn't too much of a problem because law offices are set up to have safeguards in place to remind the lawyers of tasks and due dates (a safeguard against malpractice claims in a setting where nearly everyone is very busy all the time).  It's a mild inconvenience having to look up things I used to be able to remember, but it's workable.

At home, though, this is more of a problem for me.  I will go to the grocery store, and if I do so without a list (on which I tick off each item one by one as I find them), I will leave without the main thing(s) I went to buy.  I have forgotten to mail friends' birthday cards (or worse, cards to their children).  Right now, I have a baby gift that I have been carrying around in my car for over a month for which I keep forgetting to buy a mailer in which it will fit so I can mail it.  (It's a good thing I didn't buy a newborn-sized outfit; the baby has probably already outgrown that size by now!)

I have completely spaced on appointments.  I forgot my last hair appointment until I got the reminder on my Phone 30 minutes before (thank goodness for the iPhone and its calendar!).  I completely spaced a doctor's appointment earlier this week because I never set a reminder on my calendar, and I forgot to check the calendar that morning.  Didn't even remember I'd made the appointment until the office called me to tell me I'd missed it.

I also find that I cannot remember people I grew up with.  I grew up in a small town--population 5000-ish, only 350 kids in my entire high school--and I attended school with pretty much the same group of people from K through 12, so you would think I would be able to remember them.  Nope.  Every few months I will get a friend request on Fac.ebo.ok, or hear of someone from my hometown who died, and I have NO CLUE who this person is.  None.  Not even after other people who know the person (like my sister) try to jog my memory.

[Actually, I think the problem I describe in the last paragraph is related to a mental block I have about my hometown because, come to think of it, I had the same problem pre-pregnancy.  Hmm.  So maybe scratch that.]

One day last weekend, I actually forgot to put a diaper on one of my sons.  Yep.  I took them both in after breakfast to change out of their pajamas and into fresh diapers and clothes.  I changed and dressed MJ and then moved on to AJ.  A few minutes later, while playing with them in the living room, I picked up AJ and happened to pat his bottom. . . and noticed, hmm, there's no padding here.  That's because the poor guy was just wearing a romper with no diaper underneath!  (Thankfully, I realized this before he peed or pooped on the romper.)

MM jokes these days about how, once I leave the house in the morning, I will always come back in at least once to retrieve something I forgot. . . my iPhone, my lunch, the key to my car.  It's true.  And I can't even tell you how many times I have driven to work in the wrong car or driven off with the boys' car seats and stroller in the back, when our nanny will be needing them that day, without even noticing until I'm almost to the office.

I am not sure what the root of this problem is.  Stress?  Hormones?  Too many things on my mind?  Early onset dementia?

They say you give up a lot of your old life when you become a parent.  I guess my memory is just one of those things I've given up.


  1. Oh I hear you. If I don't write things down or do them immediately, they're gone. It's awful.

  2. I'm exactly the same - missed appointments, leaving things behind (went to work without taking my morning medication AND without watch and wedding ring this week), walking into a room and then wondering why I meant to go in there . . . I hope it's just the combination of full-time work and child-rearing (and I only have one child to deal with)!

  3. I'm right there with you. I missed an appt for Olive and screwed up a hair appt for me-something I have never done in my LIFE. I will leave the grocery store without things even WHEN they are written on a list! But it's because I'm only mentally checking them off, not literally, and that clearly isn't good enough! Yeah, I don't know what it's attributed to either, but it's damn annoying.

  4. I was already getting bad before I had a baby, and now it is ridiculous. Brain full! No more room! :-)

  5. THANK YOU!! I have been secretly fretting for minths that I've got early onset Alzheimers (runs in my family). This makes me feel a little better....

  6. Yep, memory is diverted to more important matters like feeding/diapering/not locking baby in car and you no longer have the luxury of remembering where you put your keys, if you took your pills, what that person's name is, or how you spell auxiliary.


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