Do Moms’ Brains Grow?

by gigi on October 28, 2020

I have two kids. One is seven, and one is five.

One of my running jokes since becoming a mom is that I lose brain cells every single day now. And it’s not due to drinking too much, like it was in college.

If you’re a mom, you know what I mean. You forget where you put things. You leave the house without your keys. You can’t remember where you parked your car in the Target parking lot.

I’m just not as sharp as I used to be.

But a new study, published in the journal Behavioral Neuroscience, suggests that I’m way off base.

LiveScience recently did an interview with the head of this study, Pilyoung Kim.

In the interview, Kim says that moms’ brains can grow ever so slightly within four months of having a child. Literally, there is an increase in gray matter in some parts of the brain - those related to sensory perception, reasoning and judgment.

Really?

Because I vividly remember my senses being completely dulled from lack of sleep. I recall being racked with indecision about whether I had adequately cleaned my son’s circumcision wound. I can recount a daily feeling of helplessness in trying to calm a colicky baby.

I can’t think of one way in which I might have felt my brain was growing while dealing with either of my infants. In fact, I truly felt as though my brain was completely shut down and inoperative. I was a MomBot.

The researcher Kim goes on to say, however, that those moms who frequently referred to their babies as “beautiful,” “special” or “perfect” saw greater brain growth, particularly in the midbrain area.

Well, this could explain me. I love, love, love my kids, but I had my babies late in life. I likely called my colicky child things more along the lines of  “inconsolable” and “unhappy” and “driving me to drink.”

So maybe it’s my own darn fault that my brain didn’t grow.

Now I have no excuse for my horrible memory and judgment. I may need to go find another malady to blame it on. Or maybe I need to start really thinking quite literally about the whole “mind over matter” concept.

In this case, mind grows matter. The article says further larger-scale studies are required to corroborate their findings. It will be interesting to see what future studies reveal.

I’ve got to stop writing now, because I’ve lost my coffee cup and I need to go find it.

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