Apologies for the radio silence. I’ve been bound up in the fog of a new place and I have a severe case of writer’s blog. I mean block. I’ve got actual baby brain, but for a new environment. It is absolutely same condition I assure you. If you have a six week old baby then you and I are in the same place, mentally. (However a godsend of ’emigrating’ baby brain is that you don’t have to also attend weigh-in clinics or hear any midwives referring to your delicately recovering bits as ‘a good shade of blue’… Ah happy days)
So having had baby brain 3 times before, I recognise the signs. I have figured out (some of) the root causes as follows (all sufferers/partners of sufferers please help me out here on my diagnosis):
1. All structure is gone! Your old schedule of school/errands/chores/socialising/fitness is in the bin. Try not to think about it as this is a mere distraction from your new environment. (Nb it’s really hard not to think about this)
2. A new structure is forging ahead – faster than you can keep up with it! For me this is new clubs for the kids, school starting for my big boy, pre-school for middle mule, a childminder for work days, some time just for me and my littlest boy (yay!) and new working hours for MrMule (Nb it’s really hard to remember any of this)
3. One of my all time challenges – There are new, friendly faces you meet almost every day whose names you are given, and by the power of unexplained forces the details are almost immediately vacuumed out of your brain into a black hole on the other side of the solar system. Historically I am SO awful with this that in a desperate and determined attempt to ensure that I would remember the names of a group of new mums in a baby massage group (with firstborn mini-mule) I managed to inadvertently erase my own child’s name. When publicly asked the name of my newborn I blankly stared at this tiny bundle of beans and heard myself thinking ‘ah yes, your name…. what iiiiiiiisss it?’. I have made a concerted effort not to do this since, but now see the logic in tattooing your children’s names onto your own body.
4. Everything is new. Simply put, everything is new. Everything; except for your own children’s names, which you can hardly remember anyway.
5. Sleep depravation – I haven’t got this. Sorry, I didn’t want to rub it in but it felt ridiculous not to miss it off a list of items proposing to be responsible for baby brain. If you have sleep depravation right now I want you to give yourself a soft, warm hug. You’re amazing! Hang in there!! It won’t last forever!
6. And finally, the overwhelming life questions – just as I felt when I started a family I have the same questions: What is this tiny being (or for me – this new land)? Who am I as a mother? What are our opportunities now? How does our life work logistically? Oh crap do I still have to do all the laundry? What is life? Why are we here? …. Ok so I’ve not gone that deep, but you get the picture.
And so in summary at present all I can say is there is something fundamentally exhilarating, life-affirming, and exciting about emigrating to a completely new country. It is also confusing, at times frustrating (many of the administrative systems are simply different over here and we have had to learn to expect the unexpected), and bewildering. But also it creates an opportunity to stop, reevaluate, reassess and reflect, and to see your own life with fresh eyes.
If you need me I’m over here in the fog …. I’ll be out in a bit x