Is my baby stealing my brain or is it just me?

Today I had about three minutes where everything that came out of my mouth was utter nonsense.

We were watching the Bulls lose big to the Cavs and I kept cheering on the Cavs by mistake. They were in red today and I kept thinking that it was the Bulls in red. Of course, Bob kept correcting me. But I kept making the same mistake. And then laughing…. like what is wrong with me?! And then I would try to construct a sentence and it came out all jumbled.

“Seriously, what is wrong with me?!” I exclaimed, laughing. Bob found it hilarious.

“The baby is stealing your brain!” he said.

Yes, yes. I thought. That’s exactly right. The only plausible explanation.

My baby is stealing my brain.

At least that’s how it feels sometimes.

Por ejemplo…

I remember when I used to write every day. Every single day. When I wasn’t working, I’d write for four to five hours a day. And when I was working, I’d get up at 5 AM just to get in a solid couple of hours before work. And at work, I’d write in my head. It seemed like I was always writing. And one thing I’ve learned about myself over time is that I’m happiest when I’m writing well.

Which explains why I’ve been frustrated lately. Ever since we moved to the island, my writing schedule has been… well, there just hasn’t been a schedule.

I write sporadically.

In spurts.

One morning after not having written a new play in almost a year, I wrote a brand new ten minute play before I even got out of bed. This was in January, I think. It took me all but two hours to write the first draft from beginning to end. It felt good. Great,actually. It felt so good because I had been worried that I’d lost something. My ability to write. Dramatic, I know.

In my more rational moments, I chalked this up to being pregnant. It’s not my ability that’s gone. But my usual focus.

So the baby is stealing my focus too?

Maybe. Yes. I believe so.

Well, wait a second.

Let’s not blame everything on the baby.

It’s just a symptom of being pregnant. It’s just been so dang hard for me to focus. And this worries me because I feel this ticking clock. I’m in my last week of my second trimester now. Only a few more months and our baby will be here. And if I think I can’t focus now. Well… ha. hahaha. The joke is on me.

It’s possible that this added pressure that I’m putting on myself is making it even harder to write. So maybe it’s not the baby stealing my focus, but me. I’m stealing it. Hmmmm….

Whatever it is, the result is that I have just not been writing. And it feels icky. It’s not me to not be writing. I have no real excuse for it. Only justifications that go something like this:

I’ve been busy

I’m too tired after work to write

I don’t really have anything to write about (haha)

I don’t want to force it

Perhaps it’s not lack of focus, but my self-imposed expectations that keep me from writing.

I haven’t been writing as much because I’ve been waiting for something really good to say. Or some well-crafted idea. Something inspiring. Worth writing about. Worth your reading time.

Or because it’s too daunting. This now or never mentality. The thought that I better write now because once I’m a mom I’ll never have any time again for the rest of my life!

This type of thinking appears not only in my writing, but all over my life. And it prevents me from taking action.

It’s a roadblock. And there are always a way around a roadblock. Right?

Right.

For example, I’ve never believed in writer’s block. I’ve always felt that writer’s block is a function of fear.

Oh… fear! Huh. Fear. Yep. That could be it. That could very well be what has been standing in my way. Fear. And more specifically, fear of failure.

Okay, now we’re getting somewhere.

But how to get around it?

First, acknowledge that it’s there. Check.

And keep going. Keep writing. Check.

Yes, check. I’m writing this post, aren’t I? That’s a start. That is something. I mean I had no idea what to write about…. but just needed to write. Because something had to be done. An action. Taken. Check! Check! And check!

And here’s the thing… it’s very possible that my pregnancy symptoms have made it more challenging for me to write. Perhaps it’s more emotional than physical. But the bottom line is that it’s certainly not as easy as it was before. Just like bending over to tie my shoes is not as easy as before I had a living being in my uterus. However, I don’t stop tying my shoes. I contort my body to make it happen. Often this means the laces are tied off to the side of my shoes… but they’re still tied.

What about you? Can you relate? Did this post make any sense whatsoever? If not… oh well.

Check.

What?

I just like saying that.

Okay. Check.

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13 Responses

  1. Steph: Your writing is so interesting to read, even if you wrote about your grass growing I’d read it! I look forward to every post you write and enjoy all your observations and experiences. NONE of your posts are mundane. Your humor is delightful, your eye misses nothing! And oh, the stories you’ll be telling in the months to come.

    • Joy! Thank you so much! And speaking of my grass growing… I was gone for 10 days and was shocked to discover the growth upon my return. Shocked and embarrassed. We remedied the situation this weekend. But man alive, the grass grows fast on the island! Crazy fast.

      Thanks for your comment! And for reading. Always.
      Steph

  2. You’re partially right. Pregnancy will do that to you, even if it is a cliche. And yes, you might feel that after the baby too.
    I did. Maybe you can set somewhat of a schedule now to write? (Ha, I should do the same, and yet I haven’t yet).
    And maybe after the baby (when you’re not sleeping) you can write while he sleeps?? Just a thought. Keep it comin’.
    I STILL feel like I’m a little dumber. Sucks.

  3. Hey girly! Just lettin ya know I think you are doing a great job! There’s really so much to just sort of take in stride right now, ya know? There is just so much going on in your body while you are growing a human being! Yes, hormones are definitely wreaking havoc during pregnancy. Ugh. (And fears, and expectations, and more.) They are so ever present during and after pregnancy. They just, at times, seemingly take over. Your brain feels hijacked at times. Focus is off. Memory is gone. It’s insane. To some extent we can try our best to keep the hormones at bay, sure, but inevitably in this time, the hormones may get the best of ya from time to time. It makes it easier, for one, just putting a name to it, and knowing we all go through it. Just knowing, ah, it’s the hormones actually makes ya feel a lil less crazy. So just laugh it off, that’s the best remedy and keep up the writing whenever ya can cause it does help keep those lovely cobwebs from forming. I mean, what else can ya do? But also just realize that maybe your body is trying to find a new “norm” for you right now. There’s gonna be so many different adjustments in life, this is just another area that will kinda get “reshaped,” if ya will. It’s true that ya may not get much time to write from now on. But it’s not that the writing goes away once you are a mommy, it’s just different when you are a mommy. Being a writer is part of who you are, its not ever gonna go away. And you’ll find more time to write once your brain is no longer being “hijacked” and you’ll find your groove. It’s alright girly. All us mommies, we got you’re back. Any time you need an ear just jump on here and we are all here to listen. Big hugs to you.

    • Thanks, Missy!

  4. Baby Brain….that’s what we called it at work. We noticed that working with a pregnant person, their brain wouldn’t function like it usually did….baby brain. There’s also a phenomenon called wedding brain…not real phenomenon’s, just something I’ve noticed over the years.

  5. Every time I find that I ‘cannot’ write it’s always emotional. Insecurities or worries or whatever. After the spell has passed I always, ALWAYS regret that i didn’t just write through the emotional stuff. I get fixated on what I think I should be writing and forget that writing about something else might just get me through whatever the roadblock is.
    Btw, I’m the girl you met (re-met?) at Rebecca’s bbq last labor day in Chicago who you USED to know from Boulder. Glad I found your blog!
    Erin

  6. Oh Steph, that is to funny. I used to call it the pregnancy stupids! I don’t know if it ever really goes away entirely because after the baby is born now your mind is always half on something else….the baby…specifically when on the phone and your baby is crawling towards something dangerous and you stop talking to who ever is on the phone mid sentence and start talking to your child. Then go right back to the conversation…while the other person is now confused. Or is that just me?

  7. Okay, I think this blog is a virtual brain for you.You’re like the “tin Man’ in the Wizard of OZ right now. When words won’t come in the moment remember to remember and then write them later here.
    Oh, and by the way…we baby boomers also call that “Menopause Brain”
    Love Mom

  8. To provide an assist with Baby brain here are possible topics I would be interested in (not that I have a vested interest in island life or anything:) ):

    Fast Food Nation/Slow Food Island or Don’t get a Big Mac attack here –on how food/eating is different on an island.

    More about the Ferry, frustrations and delights.

    also I saw someone saw the ferries functioned like a town square for the island–where you meet neighbors and exchange news/views

    A Dog’s Life — what does Pablo like/miss/not like

    Distance from mainland –barrier or moat. I saw a Seattle paper about San Island Real Estate –who said that people who see the s distance as barrier from they things they want on the mainland don’t settle, while those who see the distance as protection from things that frustrate them on the mainland stay. Where are you on the spectrum?

    Closer to nature — the good and bad

    Are you finding a 24 X 10 mile island has surprising variety, or are you fast approaching an already know every inch of this place claustrophobia.

    Do you get a feel for the ‘personality’ of the other islands?

    Island Art scene

    Also as summer comes, how the personality of the place morphs.

    favorite beaches and why

    A real islander has at least 3 jobs

    • All great topics! And what I spend a lot of time thinking about. I will definitely take on addressing these in a series of fabulously interesting posts 😉

  9. Oh funny. Yep, I remember those days. The shock of my unfocused brain, I mean, not that I ever got it back.

    Before my daughter I never wrote things down – didn’t have to. Day planner, birthdays, doctor’s appointments, grocery list… all pretty much squared away and organized by aisle in my head.

    In the third trimester it all went away. I completely missed an appointment with a client because I forgot to fix my clock when the time changed. I was horrified because my mental sharpness had been a reliable tool for 27 years up till then!

    No worries though, Stephanie. You’ll develop new skills – namely “adapt,” “improvise,” “forgive,” “apologize gracefully,” etcetera. I still hold my world together, and I still write when I can, like you do. Your BLOG is writing. Don’t you “write” in your head still, when you think about what you could blog about? Make writing time a priority and schedule it here and there. It’ll be good for Mommy’s mind and soul, and good for baby too.

    (oh p.s. your tulip story inspired me and so I forced my family to go see tulips too – ha! See my blog.)

  10. Babies totally steal your brain! But you are it’s partially that you are so anxious about becoming a mom and all the crazy ways life will change after that final trip to the hospital. It does make it hard to focus! The hormones don’t help either, but it’s possible to get through it. And there is hope, it’s gets easier to focus once the baby gets here, there are nap times! Keep doing what you are doing and pushing through, that’s the mark of a great mom, the ability to keep pushing even when things are hard. 🙂

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