The Amazing Mother Brain

Uncategorized May 31, 2021

I've been reflecting on our amazing brain, and how awesome it is to navigate motherhood with us. So I thought I'd share with you some of the ways that our brain totally has our self.

Before I do that though... a bit of reflection. Because what are those things that society tells us about our brain or our smarts as we progress into motherhood:

  • that we will have pregnancy brain
  • that our memory drops
  • that we can't focus on anything but our baby (because somehow this is a bad thing)
  • that you must love motherhood "because you are a woman"
  • that you can expect to be 'dumbed down' because of it.

Well, let me tell you Mama, your brain is so much more than that, and so are YOU!

Our Amazing Mama Brain 100% has our back. During pregnancy our brain does a pretty amazing think, it shrinks our grey matter down. Don't be alarmed by this, because this is a good think. Our brain goes through a process of streamlining. This occurs in specific areas that relate to social cognition, empathy and theory of mind. These are the areas that are vitally important for us to 'relate' to our baby. 

Research conducted shows us after birth, that if we are shown an image of our baby crying, it is these areas that fire in response. And interestingly, if we are shown an image of a different baby crying, we don't fire them off much at all. How cool is that? Your brain has rewired itself to adapt to your child!

Our maternal attachment and bonding is increased in mothers who undergo more of this streamlining or pruning in their brains!

There are also some common questions around how our brain structure changes, and if it is impacted upon by certain things... so lets bust some myths!

Myth 1

The method of conception, ie natural or assisted fertility, does not impact how the mothers brain alters itself.

Myth 2

The gender of the child doesn't impact on how the mothers brain alters itself.

Myth 3

How your child is born, be it vaginal or caesarean does not impact on how the mothers brain changes itself.

Myth 4

The way your infant feeds, be it exclusively breastfed, combination of formula and breast or exclusively bottle, doesn't impact on the mothers brain structure.

Also some awesome news - the flood of oxytocin that occurs at birth actually creates the ability for maternal instincts to emerge (in studies on rats). This is generally able to be transferable across to the human population too. Basically, instinct kicks in when the babe is born! Hooray!

The final piece of this puzzle (for now, because research is always being conducted), is that for human mama's, we really really need our village, our tribe, our social connections and our generational support systems to be able to fully express our motherhood.

Ain't that the truth!

Dr Ali

Chiro, Mama, Lover the amazing mama brain living inside of YOU.


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