Tag Archives: women

Pregnancy Brain Is A Real Thing*

This is her brain. This is her brain on pregnancy.

When we were pregnant (and, if you’ve read that nearly-a-bestselling-book A Dude’s Guide to Babies: The New Dad’s Playbook, you’ll know it’s a two-person event, pregnancy), we liked to refer to it as PIS, or pregnancy-induced senility.

That way, she could say she PISed off and we could laugh when she locked her keys inside the car in line at the car wash and I had to leave work to come rescue her because she was crying and upset. It was that or start screaming my own self and that would have been a bad idea.

Hell might have no fury like a woman scorned, but even they run in fear of pregnant women. And it’s not simply because of the wacky hormones running amok in their bloodstream. But that is a post for another day.A woman's brain really does change during pregnancy, but I'm pretty sure that would be a bad thing to mention to an actual pregnant woman. Because pregnancy also does wacky things to their emotional lability.

What my wife, known to me as She Who Must, While Pregnant, Be Getting What She Wants So That I Might Be Allowed To Continue My Miserable Existence, and I called PIS also is known as pregnancy brain. There are those who say it is a myth.

They are, according to science, very much wrong. Pregnancy brain is real. However, it’s more than merely pregnant women forgetting stuff.

“Pregnancy brain” definitely exists, but it may not be as negative as you think. In fact, it can make you more perceptive of other people’s emotions, according to new research presented at British Psychological Society Annual Conference in the U.K. 

Pregnant women were more sensitive to facial emotion in all of the pictures, which could mean that the right hemisphere of their brains (the one usually responsible for recognizing visual emotion) was more active in them than in new moms, meaning they could process emotion from all angles. This might be the body’s way of preparing a soon-to-be mom to be more responsive to a baby once it’s born.

But, I hear you calling**, dude! That has nothing to do with putting a box of cereal away in the fridge. True, but this does.

One meta-analysis of 14 studies in 2007 found some evidence of memory impairments in pregnant women, though the findings weren’t totally consistent. Another 2010 study says that hormonal changes during pregnancy can affect your memory of spatial locations, but the research only looked at less than 50 women. 

All of which goes to show that, while pregnancy does make some demonstrable physical changes to a woman’s brain, we can’t say with certainty that it’s what causes her to forget stuff, to lose stuff, to become absent minded, to get mixed up with simple directions or any of that stuff.

In fact, I’d go so far as to say, even with conclusive scientific evidence to back you up, it’s probably a good idea to not mention any of the negative stuff that might have something to do with pregnancy brain.

If you’re not able to simply turn and run (which, oddly, seems to be my most frequently offered bit of advice for dudes dealing with pregnant women), I think your best bet would be to say that, yes, pregnancy does change a woman’s brain.

But it’s for the good. Pregnant brains are actually changing so moms-to-be can better bond with the little dude or little dudette.

Then turn and run.

Footnotes & Errata

* But don’t think that gets you off the hook for even considering the possibility of maybe mentioning it. Sort of like saying the word menopause when talking to ladies of a certain age. Not a good idea.

** But I’d better not hear you call me Beth. (Wow, that was an obscure and very old joke.)

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Charlotte Parent: Go Read

Don’t we all love surprises?

I’ve been told that most people do, in fact, like surprises. I am not most people, but I’m assuming you dudes are. Mostly because you’re more than me and more equals most. Some of the time.

Moving on.

I mention surprises because the topic of today’s post is a surprise.

Today at Charlotte Parent, where I’ll be blogging under our Stay-At-Home Dudes column name, I’m worrying about something really, really cool. It’s a surprise.

See? I told you it would be a surprise.*

Go read.

Footnotes & Errata

* Mostly to me because I have no idea what I’m going to write about. But you already knew that, didn’t you?

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Pajama Party

I could spend every day in my pajamas.

But I don’t.

As a stay-at-home dad, I don’t have to dress up to go to work because I’m already at work and, for most of the years I was the SAHD (not really sad with a Southern accent like it looks), wearing a tie would only give the little dudes something else to grab.

As a freelance writer and editor, I don’t have to change out of my pajamas because most of my work takes place at the computer screen.

Heck, I’ve even seen people wearing pajamas when they’re out shopping or getting the groceries. So wearing pajamas out and about is now a pretty mainstream thing.

I, however, do change out of my pajamas. I do get dressed every morning in clothing different from what I wore the day before. And, no, I’m not expecting a medal for it. I merely wanted to set the scene before I got into this.

I recently read an article on the Huffington Post by Aaron Gouveia. He’s a dad who now is able to work from home instead of going in to an office.  And he decided it would be okay to wear his pajamas while walking his kid to the bus stop. The occasion of his column, though, was sparked by having to defend this practice from his wife, who objected thoroughly.

The only ones out at the bus stop are our neighbors on the other side of our duplex. We live on a quiet street with hardly any traffic, so it’s not like I’m setting up shop in Times Square. But even if we did live in a highly trafficked area, I mean — THEY’RE PAJAMAS!!

I told her I work hard, and up until now I’ve had to get up early and get dressed in button-down shirts and slacks with dress shoes to head into the office. The beauty of working from home, I told her, is the ability to just laze around like a bum while I do my work. It doesn’t make sense to me to get dressed just to go out to the bus stop, to impress our neighbors (who don’t care what I look like) and 15 elementary school kids who are too busy talking to notice my Patriots PJs.

Sorry, dude, but you’re wrong. Very, very wrong.

The issue here, to me, is that Aaron is confusing what’s good for him with what’s good for everyone else. He might be able to laze around in his pajamas during the day and that’s great. However, no one else wants to see him in his pajamas.

He might assume that the kids on the bus are too busy talking to notice him standing around in his pajamas, but, allow me to assure you, they notice. And they’re saying they notice to Aaron’s young child.

I’m going to have to agree with Aaron’s wife here. People should take a minimal amount of pride in how they look when they go outside and face the world. Yes, I realize that to many folks who have known me for a while this comes as a shock. What can I say? I’ve managed to mature a bit over the years, despite my best efforts otherwise.

Going outside means you’re interacting with other people. I’m not advocating that women must be fully made up and in pressed clothing or men should always have a clean shave and be wearing a tie. Clearly. However, I do suggest the least you can do when you go outside is wear a shirt and some pants.

You might be perfectly comfortable walking around in pajamas, but I assure you that not everyone you meet is nearly as comfortable. This is what it means to live in a society.

We don’t always get to do what we want. We have to sometimes moderate our behavior or appearance, to think of others’ comfort.

Otherwise, I’d probably be lumbering around in a gorilla suit most days. And no one wants that.

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