Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Mum-nesia

G&T - 29-and-a-half months   M - 7 months

Names, appointments, where I put my keys... My memory has always been a somewhat unknown quantity, failing me when I least expect. But even by my standards, my brain has completely short-circuited since having kids. Half the time, I can barely remember the word for crayon. But that's not what they really mean by mum-nesia. The trivia is expendable. As a mum, there are just so many things going on, your mind has to sacrifice something. What's odd is that the big things are gone too.
This week, I was reading Edspire's excellent blog (http://www.edspire.co.uk). She's a thirtysomething mum to twin toddlers, who's just had a baby, so you can see why I'm interested. Unlike me, she somehow summoned the superhuman strength to write blog posts just after the little one was born. It was fascinating to read about life with a brand new baby, the joy, the difficulties, the sibling jealousy. My first thought was to feel a little sad that I don't have such a memento of M's first few days. What a wonderful thing to be able to show your children in years to come. But when I thought about it, I realised I like my memories a little more fuzzy and sugar-coated. I loved M's tiny days. Simply loved them. There must have been hard days, but I don't really remember them. An excellent feeder from the start, she soon figured out night and day, and other than a little resistance from T when she realised this noisy little bundle was actually hanging around, her sisters took the change in their stride. As for the twins' first few weeks... They were so cute! My tiny little miracles with their squishy little faces, all pink and happy... Those rose-tinted specs are firmly in place. The brutality of the sleep-deprivation this time has taken me totally by surprise. When the twins were really young, I can recall complaining of exhaustion, and remember being stuck on the sofa, pinned beneath them for hours at a time. I can think of at least one tearful conversation to my husband, begging him to come home from work to help. But thinking about it is like reading someone else's story. They are just pictures.
Recently, I was sympathising with a friend in the throes of morning sickness. She was feeling sick from morning until night, begging for the relief of throwing up that never came. That was exactly what I went through, so I ooh-ed and aah-ed and dished out advice about peppermint tea and dry baked potatoes, but the truth is, it was difficult to really empathise. My mum-nesia has firmly kicked in there too. Before I fell pregnant with M, I remember discussing nausea with my husband. 'I felt a wee bit rough for a few weeks, didn't I?' I said one day over dinner. He nearly choked. 'A bit rough? You were a wreck for four months. You told me you wanted to die.'
But even having gone through it just as bad a second time, I still can't really remember it. And I don't care. Just like the scars and the saggy bits that make it hard to remember the toned midriff of my youth, the tough times don't matter when compared to the great ones. If I could go back, knowing fully how hard it all is, would I swap my girls for a bit more sleep? Hardly. Give it a few months, when M is sleeping through the night, and I bet I'll read this post and shake my head. 'I bet I wasn't really that tired... '