As a parent, you may have experienced the panicky feeling before; suddenly, you start forgetting simple things like names, tasks, phone numbers, addresses, or find yourself thinking, “why did I come into this room?” And occasionally, a panicked feeling crosses your mind that one day birthdays and child-rearing memories will be gone. In my discussions with clients who are parents of young children, the inevitable “I think I have developed a memory problem” often slips out. I’ve heard “I think I might have Alzheimer’s” uttered under the breath of new moms too often.
It’s taboo, isn’t it, to admit that you think you’re losing your memory… to admit your struggles as a new parent?
This phenomenon has been given a title – Mumnesia – and some say it is a genuine medical condition. Mumnesia is a symptom of complex life and societal situations and significant biological changes that happens to new moms.
Along with the stresses and pressures of being a new parent, there are also consumer-driven messages to be a “good parent”; maintaining nutritious feedings, ideal childcare, picture-perfect school schedules, extra-curricular activities, homework, friends, sleep-overs, shopping (the list goes on!) On top of the pressures to fit into the new parent role, the busy parents I meet with also balance the complexities of running a home, career, adult relationships and the struggle to find that work/life balance.
It doesn’t seem to me that most of the parents I work with have medical “Mumnesia”, but rather are just new parents lacking the organizational tools that are essential for coping with all the new changes.