The Mommy Brain
It being almost mother’s day, I thought a few tips about mothers as wives would be good. My comments here are based on information found in The Female Brain by neuropsychiatrist Louann Brizendine, M.D.. As a student, Brizendine realised fundamental gender difference meant we need to look at male and female brains differently. She has made the study of the female brain a major part of her professional life, and founded “The Women’s and Teen Girl’s Mood and Hormone Clinic” so what she has learned could be put to good use.
In another post I will discuss some of the significant differences in male and female brains at birth, as well as changes that occur at puberty move the two even further apart. Today’s topic is what Brizendine calls “The Mommy Brain”. Women are pre-wired to be more nurturing than men, with pregnancy causing changes making women more nurturing still. Even before a woman knows she’s pregnant, hormones caused by the pregnancy change how she thinks and feels. Priorities change; she become far more concerned about caring for her body, and she feels a growing need for safe and secure surroundings. Hormones make her slow down, eat more, and sleep more.
Even the brain is effected – and changed. Some parts of the brain grow larger, others get smaller, as the brain is restructured. Science is a long way from understanding all of this, but the reality is pregnancy literally changes a woman’s brain.
Birth, nursing, and general contact with the baby produce huge amounts of oxytocin, and this further changes a woman. The needs of her child take precedent over her own needs – and the needs of others around her, including her husband. Mothers reassess almost everything, including their life goals and the baby’s father. A man’s brain is also impacted by birth of a baby (the “daddy brain”) but the changes are not nearly as sweeping or significant.
The bottom line is this, if you married a woman who had never had children, when she became a mother she became a different person. Not completely different, but also not the same. This means you will need to reforge your relationship, making changes, accommodations, and sacrifices all around. Husbands need to understand is this change is not something his wife has done – rather it is a change God ordained by the way He built her. A woman who becomes a mother can no more staty the same than a boy becoming man could choose to keep thinking like a boy.