Did I forget my baby in a hot car?

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After suffering, and still continuing to suffer from Mommy Brain effects, I feel compelled to write this article, as I often wonder if I am the only mom who suffers from this ‘mommy brain’ syndrome?
Are you reading this thinking, “what is mommy brain? Is it even real?”; especially you dads who are lucky enough to not experience it (although I have heard of “sympathy mommy brain”, similar to how fathers also have cravings during pregnancy). The other question would be, “does daddy brain exist?” (another topic for another day).
For those that do not know what mommy/pregnancy brain is, however way you want to slice it, it is that spacey, sleep-deprived state, when new moms tend to forget things and act scatterbrained — may not be the whole story on what happens to women’s brains after giving birth.
Is it a myth, or is it reality? In my case, it is a reality!
Especially after suffering from post-partum depression after my baby (currently 11 months) was born, I find it even harder to regain and restore my memory to what it was.  My latest episode of mommy brain occurred when I was cleaning up my whole entire apartment before bed, and when I woke up was completely shocked and befuddled to see the house clean!
The shock is that I did not remember cleaning the house at all and had absolutely no recollection of it. I walked in just a few moments ago and still wonder how the house got so clean all of a sudden. This sounds like a petty issue, but the big issue would be if it was something that involved the safety of my child.
Just yesterday, I somehow completely forgot to strap my baby in the car seat, and as I was driving and looked through my rear view mirror, I saw her standing up in her car seat! The shock and horror of seeing her like that initially made me panic, but I did not react in that manner. I immediately pulled over and strapped her in. But those few seconds really got me worried.
How could I forget to strap my baby in when it is a daily routine and something I know better than to do. Am I negligent? Am I a bad parent? No, I don’t feel so, but do wish to know more about my actions, and how/why they occur. A lot of mothers, especially in the Western world suffer from the mommy brain and tend to forget a lot of things, including  their babies in rare but often cases these days. These loving and well intended parents suffer this in many different ways, and how long it lasts depends on various reasons.
This forgetfulness may not seem like such a big deal, but recently has been seeming more and more dangerous, such as in unfortunate cases involving child negligence, and may even result in severe results to the child, such as death, as statistics have shown a number of 40 children dying in hot cars in 2013 and 2014 already. Research has been done, and it speculates that pregnancy hormones prime the brain to be open to reshaping when a newborn arrives.
During pregnancy and the post-partum period, women often feel their brains turning to “mush”. New moms report that they have trouble remembering things that they used to remember easily. It’s such a common phenomenon that women often call it “Mommy Brain.” Some research has even shown that women’s brains shrink slightly during pregnancy.
What causes mommy brain you ask?

 

A variety of things. The biggest one on the list is:

  • Lack of sleep

Insufficient shut-eye can cause many memory lapses. New information is solidified in the brain while we sleep, and not getting enough can greatly affect our ability to remember things. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine compared the response times and memorization skills of people who’d slept for four, six, or eight hours per night over a period of two weeks to those who stayed awake for three days. They found that the eight-hour sleepers did fine, but the four- and six-hour ones performed just as poorly as the folks who hadn’t gotten any shut-eye at all.

  • Lack of a good diet

Your memory may be affected if you lack a huge supply in certain nutrients, such as folic acid, zinc, and vitamin B-12. Iron has the greatest impact on a mom’s memory and was something I greatly lacked while pregnant. Many pregnant women are iron-deficient. During pregnancy, not only does the baby’s growth sap your stores, but the increase in your blood volume dilutes them as well, and after the baby is born, you are so occupied caring for the little being that you desert you own diet.

  • Toxic Stress

Raising kids is very challenging, to say the least. There is a lot of stress that comes with being a new mommy or even a mom of more than one. Moms have to constantly worry about their babies needs and meeting them, as well as other house hold necessities and errands. They are under a lot of stress to keep everything together, and consequently, toxic stress levels may start causing major damage to our health, our mood, our productivity, our relationships, and ultimately our quality of life. This affects our memory a lot, and the key is to avoid stress as much as possible (easier said than done).

  •  Doing it all in one shot (multitasking)

As a new mom, I tried to multitask and do everything all at once in order to “save time”. I would put my baby in a sling, cook and do the dishes while on the phone trying to keep up with my friends and family. This method worked some days but resulted in poor performance overall, including my short-term memory loss. I would forget instantly the conversation I had just had, let alone remember the name of the person I had just spoken to because I am so busy and distracted with the million and one things I am trying to do all at once.

What can you do to reduce mommy brain effects?

SOLUTIONS

Start with getting a lot more sleep
Whenever possible. Do not over work yourself with house chores, it’s better (and of greater importance) to be sleeping than doing housework. Sleep when the baby is sleeping (although, admittedly, I myself do not always do that). Whenever I do, I always awaken feeling more relaxed and energized. A 60- to 90-minute nap is enough to give your brain the boost it needs. If naps are out of the questions, try to get to bed an hour earlier on most nights so that you can get close to the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep.
Eat healthier and strive to boost your iron intake for higher energy levels
Eat more lean red meat, iron-fortified cereals, legumes (such as peas and beans), and nuts. Eating iron-rich foods can help boost your energy levels. To increase iron absorption, pair legumes with vitamin-C-rich foods, such as peppers. Save dairy foods for between-meal snacks as calcium inhibits absorption. My midwives recommended I take an over-the-counter multi-vitamin like Martena to meet my daily recommended iron needs.
Focus more on  de-stressing
Easier said than done? I can certainly relate. Even though it might be difficult to find time to de-stress during our hectic daily routines, there are things that can enable you to relax. Think of what  relaxes you; is it hearing your babies’s over played lullaby like me? Is it having a great work out (like my husband)? Is it after having a steeped tea? is it painting or making crafts? Is it taking a nice warm bubble bath?  Whatever it may be, use it to help you relax. As impossible as it might seem for most moms, make time for mommy time, close your eyes and take deep breaths, learn to meditate even if its just for 10 minutes.
Limit the number of your to-do lists
Learn how to manage time and dont try to remember everything. Write down what you need to get done and cross it off the list once its done. Since technology is taking over the world, simply write it in your phone journal to have it portable with you wherever you go.
Start playing memory games
Sometimes doing puzzles or playing video games that help restore memory function could help fast track the process.
Although you may never completely eliminate mommy brain altogether, there are things you may try to speed up the process, which is clearly something  I obviously need to start practicing on. The best thing to do is try to live in the moment and embrace the utter joy of being a mom.
A little note for mommies all around the world: no matter what your circumstances may be or what your situation is, do NOT kick yourself and feel like a bad parent because you forget almost everything including your’s baby’s name. It’s going to happen from time to time. Try and avoid situations that could affect your child’s safety at all costs. If a tragic accident does occur, it occurred for a reason, and only God knows what that reason is.
Comment below with more POSITIVE tips or share how YOU deal with the mommy brain. Please remember to share this article on Facebook and  Twitter. But most importantly, remember to stay POSITIVE even during the most trying, frustrating and exhausting of times. Your babies are too precious to receive otherwise.

Resources:

Baby Center
Hormones Matter
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Are you stressed and don’t even know about it?

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I took this stress level test today and failed miserably! I knew somewhat of the stress that I am under, but did not realize that it was as bad as it is until I took this survey, which I have posted below.

Stress can be difficult to understand. The emotional chaos it causes can make our daily lives miserable, and sometimes even unbearable. It can also drastically decrease both our physical and mental health. Strangely, we are not always even aware of the stress that we are under, let alone why .  The habits, attitudes and signs that can alert us of problems may be hard to recognize because they become so familiar.

Find your stress level right now by completing this test.

STRESS LEVEL TEST

Comment with your results and and be sure to look out for the results article and the impact of stress on you and your child/ren. 

 

Peel Young Parents Picnic

Every year, the region of Peel hosts the Peel Young Parents Picnic for young parents in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. It is organized for young pregnant and parenting moms, as well as young fathers and their children. Those who attend enjoy a day of fun, including such activities as:

Petting Zoo
BBQ Lunch
Games and Activities
Great Prizes

This year the Gormans attended this magnificent event on June 12th. To learn more about the Go Go Gormans initiatives to support young parents programs and to raise funds, please read more on Yonge Walk 4 Young Parents to help support this cause. Check out the picnic photos in the album below.

                Peel Young Parents Picnic

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Longest Street In The World Sponsored Walk

 WATCH VIDEO HERE

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View Gallery HERE

The Go Go Gorman’s initiative, in partnership with Metamorph Events proudly presents: Yonge Walk 4 Young Parents, a fundraising walk along YONGE STREET in Toronto, Canada, which was was once (and still is by many Torontonians) recognized by Guinness World Records as the “The Longest Street in the World”.

Yonge Walk 4 Young Parents was conceptualized to mirror the long and rewarding journey new and expectant parents take to enter parenthood, while also promoting and educating parents to be on the effects of Positive Parenting and its vital importance to children. This walk was founded in the interest of garnering interest and to raise funds for Vita Centre and The D.A.M (Develop. Assist. Mentor.) community organizations in the Region of Peel.
The Gorman’s, Shingi and Vinni, will walk  1,896 kilometer route over 40 days, starting or commencing on Monday 4th August, 2014 in Rainy River, ON. They will be making four city stops in which they will host three Family Fun Festivals on-route to Toronto, aka the finish line. The main event, set to take place in Mississauga on Saturday 13th September, 2014.

The events will take place as follows:

1. Rainy River, ON – Start – Monday 4th August, 2014
2. Thunder Bay, ON – Sunday 10th August, 2014
3. Sudbury, ON – Sunday 31st August, 2014
4. Vaughan, ON – Sunday 7th September, 2014
5. Mississauga, ON – Finish – Saturday 13th September, 2014
The Yonge Walk 4 Young Parents initiative was developed to provide an opportunity to promote the many (free) services offered by our supporting community centres, while also encouraging the generous spirit of individuals to become patrons of these organizations and to donate needed items as well as their time.

ABOUT THE GORMANS

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Shingi, originally from Botswana, Africa and her husband, Vinni, from Montreal Quebec, are the founders of Yonge Walk 4 Young Parents and proud advocates for Positive Parenting. Both take great pride in educating their fellow parents/parents to be on the knowledge and services that are available to them, as well as the positive impact such resources have on our communities and children.

They have an adorable little daughter, Elora, 11 months. From the moment they found out that they were expecting. the Gorman’s have been helped tremendously by both the Vita Centre and The D.A.M. and strongly feel that they have come as far as they have because of such organizations and thus feel the need to give back in any way possible in order to keep these organization’s  work going strong and continuously growing for future young parents and their children.

ABOUT VITA CENTRE AND THE D.A.M.


Vita Centre is a charitable organization dedicated to providing life affirming community support to all pregnant and parenting youth in the Peel Region via their weekly parenting classes as well as providing it’s patrons with various food and baby items. Vita Centre takes leadership in promoting awareness and understanding of the impact of unplanned pregnancy on families and the community, and are therefore dedicated to excellent support, education and counseling for pregnant and parenting youth. Their vision is to achieve a community where its youth can make a choice for life, even in undesirable circumstances, where they will be accepted and supported; allowing positive outcomes for their child. Last year alone they helped over 400 clients within the Peel Region through counseling and parenting programs.

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The D.A.M. is a safe community for youth and young moms offering love, respect and dignity for all. Since 1995 they have been a relational presence in the lives of youth. Through the relationships they form they Develop, Assist and Mentor youth and young moms along the journey towards reaching their full potential. The D.A.M’s Young Moms’ Group is a community of young moms, volunteers and staff that seek to be positive and supportive of each other; growing into healthy individuals and families. Pregnant or parenting girls, ages 24 and under, will find support, resources, friendship and a non-judgemental, safe community.

To  donate or to sponsor our fundraising walk, please Click Here 

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For more information and contact, please click on the following links

Blog: www.gogogormans.wordpress.com
Facebook: Go Go Gormans
Twitter: @GoGoGormans

Email: shingigorman14@gmail.com / vinnibgorman@gmail.com