When I returned to work after having my first child, I was horrified that I couldn’t get straight back into the swing of things. I was fuzzy, distracted, forgetful, not myself in the slightest. Gone was the photographic memory that meant having a diary was pointless. Gone was the sharpness, clarity and all the other abilities that I had taken for granted.
Obviously, this isn’t an uncommon complaint for many mothers returning to work but I wasn’t prepared for it. My pregnancy had been smooth, with no moodiness or “baby brain”, much to the disappointment of those working with me. Many had been impatiently waiting for “baby brain” to kick in, so that they could take me down a peg or two, I’m sure!
The thing that I believe made a huge difference during my pregnancy was my consumption of omega 3 supplements (linseed, flaxseed, fish oil etc.) I was a bit wary about chemicals and medications during my pregnancy and had started seeing a naturopath, one who insisted that omega 3s would be the best thing for me. She assured me that I wouldn’t lose brain function if I was on omega 3s. I must admit that at the time, I wasn’t all that convinced, but took them anyway.
Sometime during my maternity leave though, I stopped taking the supplements. I can’t quite remember why. Perhaps I thought that I’d had my baby, so didn’t really need them anymore. Then I went back to work.
After the first couple of days feeling like I was living in a fog, I realised that I needed to do something about it and in desperation, went back to the omega 3s. Within two weeks, I noticed a considerable difference. Just about everything was back to normal, provided I had enough sleep of course. Lack of sleep unfortunately, can’t be compensated by ANY supplement!
I then suggested that my husband start taking omega 3s as well. He had always complained that reading was a laborious process since he would often forget what he had read at the start of the page once he got to the end and so had to re-read everything. I suspected that fish oil would probably help and indeed it did! He too noticed a difference and has been so impressed, he’s even more conscientious about taking his supplements that I am!
I have shared this story a number of times with friends and family, especially when the topic of baby brain or mother brain comes up. Detractors have usually had one thing in common – they’ve found the recommended dosage (up to 10 capsules a day) a bit confronting and have taken 1-2 instead. Perhaps an insufficient dosage to make a difference?
I should state that I’m not trained in any health-related field, just a great believer in the benefits of omega 3 for brain function. This article is about my personal experience and having shared it so many times in person, I felt it might also be helpful to a wider audience.