Smart moms

Motherhood sharpens the brain and senses, says Mommy Brain author Katherine Ellison, interviewed in the Washington Times.

Motherhood, she writes, appears to be linked to enhanced perception, with greater sensitivity in smell, vision, hearing and physical contact. “Mom radar,” as Mrs. Ellison puts it.

Mothers are also likely to become efficient and resourceful multitaskers who are strongly motivated to set and fulfill goals. Other hallmarks of motherhood are improved social skills and emotional intelligence, which allows them to reduce stress and encourage resilience.

Well, it works for rats. Human mothers often report their brains have turned to mush, notes the Washington Times.

Other studies have found that pregnancy can temporarily shrink a woman’s brain, and pregnant women and new mothers can be distracted or falter on memory tests.

In addition, there is ample anecdotal evidence that pregnancy and new motherhood bring difficulties in concentration, deterioration of expressive language skills, mental fogginess, forgetfulness, confusion, disorientation and poor concentration.

Ellison says this shows the old brain is in the process of being transformed into a better brain. Sleep deprivation is a persuasive explanation too.

My hearing improved significantly when I became a mother; when my daughter hit her teens I started to lose the ability to hear high-pitched sounds, which the audiologist told me is common in 40-somethings. It’s Mother Nature’s way.

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