Prev Next

This is Your Brain on New Motherhood

By Amalah

bounceback_fog.jpgOne of my absolutely favorite not-about-me stories is this one, from Ezra’s two-month appointment with our pediatrician. She was very late getting to our appointment, thanks to a very brand-new mother who had an appointment ahead of us. And was very, very late for it.

Mommy Brain is a Real Thing, People

Summary: Very Brand-New Mother drives to doctor’s office with Very Brand-New Baby. She doesn’t know how to get her baby’s infant seat out of the car. She fights with it for awhile, gets (apparently) a little hysterical because OMG HER BABY IS TRAPPED IN THE CAR. She doesn’t have the doctor’s phone number, does not want to leave her infant unattended in the car…so she calls her mother to drive over from God-knows-where and help her.

She finally arrives at the office completely rattled and tear-stained and shaken, well after her appointment time, but our doctor sympathetically squeezes her in, because the front desk staff misunderstand the story and thought that the baby was locked in the car. Very Brand-New Mother relates her horrific encounter with the Graco latching mechanism to our doctor, who gets confused and asks her why the HELL she didn’t just unbuckle the baby from the car seat and carry him inside?

Very Brand-New Mother: Oh. I never thought of that.

And oh, how I laughed, when the doctor related this little comedy of errors — even though this dingbat was the reason I had just spent upwards of 20 minutes waiting in a boring-ass exam room with my two-month-old AND my preschooler and very few entertainment options — but how do you not laugh about that? I mean, dude. Your baby is not welded to his car seat. That’s an accessory. It’s sold separately.

Five Dumb Mom Brain Things I’ve Done

But I also totally understood the misfiring thought process that must have been happening out in the parking lot. Because I’ve been there, done that, gotten the sarcastic standing ovation for doing it in front of a crowded room. Behold, some of the Really Dumb Things I have done (or my husband has done) in the first few days, weeks and months of my new babies’ lives, thanks to hormonal paranoia and sleep deprivation and general postpartum brain fog:

1. Shown up to a non-existent doctor’s appointment because I neglected to notice that I was looking at an appointment card from six months earlier, and for the wrong child.

2. Driven Noah to school on a major holiday, stood at the locked front door for 10 minutes before wondering why there weren’t any other cars in the parking lot.

3. Held up the line at the grocery store because I forgot my bonus card and flubbed no less than four attempts to give the cashier my home phone number before calling my husband to ask him what our home phone number was. (Yes, I had my cell phone with me. Yes, I have our home phone number on my cell phone. What’s your point?)

4. Pulled over to the side of the road to double-check that I remembered to put Ezra in his car seat because he was being too quiet and I suddenly couldn’t quite guarantee that I hadn’t accidentally driven off with the baby on the roof of the car like a forgotten grande latte.

5. Left the stove on, left the iron on, ironed clothing while the iron wasn’t even plugged in, burned soup, lost my keys, left the house wearing two different shoes, left the house with my nursing bra unhooked, misspelled my last name on an insurance form, forgot to let the dog in, forgot to let the dog out, and once hysterically demanded a $20 tip back from a very happy cabbie in exchange for a $1.

HUSBAND BONUS: Jason once dropped me off at a restaurant, drove a couple blocks to find parking, then walked in and sat down at our table…without the baby. Who was in his car seat, in the car, two blocks away. When he ran out and returned with Noah, all the tables around us (who heard me shriek about the OMG BAYBEEEE) stood up and applauded.

Your turn! What’s the stupidest, most-embarrassing lapse of all common sense and problem-solving skills you’ve ever done as a Very Brand-New (and Very Sleep-Deprived) Mom?

Photo credit: Flickr/James Jordan

 

Amalah
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch

Amalah

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

icon icon
chat bubble icon

Comments

newest oldest most voted
Notify of
silver
Guest
silver

My family is all on my husband’s insurance plan from his work. Because of this, I need his birthdate when making appointments at new clinics. When making the appointment for my brand new baby, I couldn’t remember my husband’s birthday. I gave the woman two wrong dates before I finally got it right. She must have thought I was doing some kind of insurance fraud or something. My insurance company has a nurse line that we can call with health questions. They ask for my zip code as a verification that they are talking to the right person. We moved… Read more »

Melissa
Guest
Melissa

I can’t take credit for this one, but my sister-in-law (who is seriously one of the best, most devoted moms I know) locked herself out of her house. While her newborn was inside. She had to call the police to help her get in.

Nicole
Guest

Well, it would have been embarassing if anyone else had seen it. In the early days, Darren stayed home for a week with me and the next week, I started driving him to the horrendously early train in the morning. Often the baby would nap afterwords for 2-3 hours which saved me. Seriously. Anyways, one morning (I’m fairly certain it wasn’t that first week), I drove him to work, came back and went to bed. I woke up a couple of hours later, and due to the blackout blinds didn’t realize the sun had come up. I rolled over and… Read more »

RookieMom Heather
Guest

Amy, you nailed it. All mine seem like cheap imitations of yours. Here are two of my rookie mom moves: 1. Drove to pick up my sister (with baby in the car) and marveled at how nice it was to be kid-free for a few minutes before realizing OMG I was supposed to bring baby (and he was there the whole time). 2. Was absolutely stuck trying to figure out how to get car seat and baby into car when 2 cars were parked too close to me in parking garage. FREAKED OUT. Luckily, I had a friend nearby. That’s… Read more »

Klutzy
Guest

A few crazy “Doh” moments: * Wanting tea, I boiled water in a pot. 5 mins later, Husband came over to see what was taking so long.. and then asked why I didn’t use the microwave or our kettle – both of which would have been faster and were what I used to use. Uhhh…. * I used to cook couscous often before the Baby, yet, the 1st week after the Baby, I reversed the process and poured raw couscous into the pan 1st, and then wanted to add cold water. My husband stopped me on time, but I had… Read more »

Cass
Guest
Cass

I was talking on my cell phone to a good friend. After looking all around me, I told my friend that I could not find my cell phone. The search ended shortly thereafter…

paranoid
Guest

Ok, I’ll play. I have two: 1. When my first daughter was born, I was very hormonal and stressed about breastfeeding. She was tiny and scrawny and kind of had peely skin on her fingers (as most babies do, I now know). Nursing wasn’t going well, and finally I broke down in tears because I was 100% convinced that she was DEHYDRATED AND SHRIVELING UP!!!!! Because her hands are wrinkly! See? 2. A few months later, I went to the grocery store, armed for a big shop with coupons, etc. Got through the checkout, and reached for my wallet to… Read more »

Anne
Guest
Anne

Left our (very expensive) digital camera next to the (unattended) “Please Take One” bowl of Halloween candy.

Julie
Guest
Julie

We were using the infant carseat for two weeks before we realized the straps adjusted. I had heard babies grow out of those seats quickly, but given how snug my little guy was in there, I thought we’d be buying the next size up in a month. It wasn’t until a friend stopped over with her baby, and pressed the little button that loosens the straps, that we realized it. Hubby and I both went ‘ohhhhhh’.

Olivia
Guest
Olivia

-While getting ready to bathe the baby, accidentally turned on the shower and sprayed her with cold water.
-Knowing she is still unstable while sitting, got up to check dinner, thought “I should lay her down so she doesn’t fall backwards (on carpet)”, then left the room anyway. She of course fell and cried because of the scare.

Lindsay
Guest
Lindsay

My husband always wears a pair of soccer shorts to bed and in the midst of his new-baby-sleep-deprived state, he woke up one morning with TWO pairs on. Still not sure how it happened.
As for myself, I woke up just about every night and thought the baby was in bed with us. I would accuse my husband of putting the baby in bed and he’d have to lift up his pillow and say, “No honey, it’s just a pillow. The baby is in his bassinet.” Crazy.

Kristina
Guest
Kristina

After our first trip out of town with the baby (at 2.5 months), I couldn’t find my house keys when we got home. I swore up and down I’d seen them last at my MIL’s house. Had her turn her house upside down. Nothing. Had my mother do the same. And my FIL. No one had seen the keys. The next day, I found them… next to my computer in my home office. I’d never taken them on the trip. Just a few weeks ago, I was gearing up for a day of working without the baby. Packed my laptop,… Read more »

lindswing
Guest

So far, the only thing I’ve done that makes me absolutely kick myself with regret is the time I put the carseat straight into the car from the stroller after a walk so as not to wake the baby. When I got to my destination, I realized that I had never buckled the baby into the carseat between walk and driving, and he was simply flopped into the seat and covered by a blanket. I spent the next five minutes all but hyperventilating and the rest of the day imagining what would have happened if I had gotten into an… Read more »

Lindsay
Guest

With my 1st baby, who’s 13 now, I was a single college student mum, and I remember that 1st year fondly as “No Sleep Til Brooklyn” year. I also used cloth velcro diapers, because I was, well, poor, and a lady at my mom’s church gave them to me.
So one night I went to pick up a squalling sodden baby from his bassinet, only to realize I’d put him back with no rubber pants on. Ewwww it was like a baby lake in there.

geek anachronism
Guest

It wasn’t sleep deprivation but the severe (worse than labour) pain of having a stone stuck in a bile duct sans gallbladder – I asked my brother who was staying with me to look after the baby to ring my husband to come home to look after the baby while I was whisked away to the ER.
What I thought my brother would do is beyond me, I was just worried that I couldn’t look after her while puking violently and flailing (and peeing myself!).
My husband did forget her date of birth.

Kate
Guest
Kate

We had to take the baby to the peditrician when he (the baby) was 3 days old. I got up early and carefully packed the diaper bag with diapers, extra clothes, burp clothes, pacifiers, baby wipes, and a few toys. It was December, so I dressed the baby in a onesie, a sleeper, a warm snow-suit, and then put a blanket over him. I took a shower while my mother-in-law watched the baby, and put on real clothes for the first time since giving birth. I brushed my hair, brushed my teeth, and felt really, really proud that after only… Read more »

Elizabeth
Guest
Elizabeth

Was breastfeeding the baby in bed, apparently fell asleep and woke to a HUGE hickey that was about 2 inches from my actual nipple . . .

marlena
Guest
marlena

Put the cereal back in the fridge and the milk in the pantry. Then could not find the milk!
“Lost” the baby several times only to realize she was napping peacefully in her carseat where I’d left her.
Kept calling new baby by her sister’s name (they do have similar names, in defense).
Washed hair with moisturizer by mistake.

andrea
Guest
andrea

I’ve always had “only me” moments.. at least now I have an excuse for them..

Courtney
Guest
Courtney

When reporting to the receptionist for a doctor’s appointment, they asked for my name and so I gave it to them. Except that I gave my maiden name. I’ve been married for seven years.

Jamie
Guest

Here’s mine- I was sitting in the living room, sewing and watching tv while the little guy slept in his bouncer. About 20 minutes later I started hearing this little squeeking sound and I just about jumped out of my skin, I had completely forgotten that we had a baby and I had looked over to see if our dog was making that noise.
But I’m only 8 weeks out, I’m sure there are many stupider moments to come.

Jaymee
Guest
Jaymee

Someone else said that they wake up thinking the baby is in bed with them. I do the same thing! I startle awake thinking the baby is in the bed and then when I can’t find him I panic and start looking on the floor by the bed before realizing the baby is in his crib. Other than that the only thing I have done is forget to take the diaper bag with me, and it was only one time. It was my very first outing with the baby so I really didn’t feel that bad about it.

jodifur
Guest

I spent the first 2 months of my son’s life not being able to find either my palm pilot (this was 5 years ago), my wallet, or my cell phone. I have no idea why I couldn’t just put them all in my purse. I eventually got a smart phone. B/c then I could only lose the phone or the wallet, but not three things. Drove me crazy. I was normally the most organized person in the world.

Cheryl S.
Guest
Cheryl S.

Let’s see. Put the baby in the carseat, forgot to do the straps, and drove all the way to my destination. Went to Target, did my shopping, put all the bags in the car and started to put the cart back. It was only then did I realize “Oh, I forgot to put the baby in the car! She’s still in her carseat strapped to the cart!” Spent many mornings whipping around to stare into the back seat because either I thought I left the baby when I was supposed to have her, or forgot to drop her at daycare!… Read more »

Vandy
Guest
Vandy

My baby brain moment came after my first son was born. I set him in the car seat to carrying him upstairs and did not strap him in, after all we were just going up stairs right? Well the handle was up but not locked and when I picked up the seat I promptly dumped my son face first on the floor. He was fine but I was a wreck. My next stellar baby brain moment was not too much later. I had decided that carrying a wallet that would go in the diaper bag was easier than carrying a… Read more »

dcfullest
Guest
dcfullest

I have one month old twins. In the past month I have:
Thrown away my insurance card and driver’s license — they were in the bag with my prescription. I took out the drugs and tossed them.
Lost my wallet and keys for 5 days. They were in a pocket in my diaper bag.
Forgotten my PIN.
Gotten lost in my neighborhood.
Stood at the sink for 10 minutes trying to figure out which way to turn the handle to get hot water.

Laurie
Guest
Laurie

Our first trip out of town with the baby (he was about six weeks old) we had an early morning flight. We got to the airport and I realized I had put the baby in the car seat but never buckled him in. I don’t think I ever told my husband.

Christy
Guest
Christy

I remember coming home from a full day away with my little one to discover that I had left the front door WIDE OPEN. With a sinking feeling, I raced through the house to see if anything was missing and felt like such a fool for forgetting to shut and lock the door. We were lucky that nothing was missing, but I still double and triple check the door now even though my son is six months old.

Jennifer B
Guest
Jennifer B

Well, it’s not the most original thing, but I locked myself and baby out of the house. Going to the store in January with a 6-month-old, putting baby in carseat in car, reaching for car keys and realizing they were in the locked house. Luckily my cell phone was in the car and I was able to call my husband who worked not too far away and he came home to let us in before we froze to death.

gizella
Guest
gizella

My husband *just* called me this morning saying he forgot our kid’s birthday…but mine is this: When she was about 8 months old, I had a job as the subscriptions branch of a now defunct magazine. I was going to UPS to drop some off, and I got out of the car first to unpack the items. The doors were locked! OMG! I tried everyone except the trunk and my door (which i just came out of, and was open!) and thought I locked her in the car on a very deserted street. I panicked and started becoming hysterical, picked… Read more »

Heidi
Guest
Heidi

How about mistaking baby formula for creamer and mixing it into your coffee? Did that a few times…
Also, I had her all strapped into the carseat and drove off….Without buckling the carseat in. When I went to take her out I fReAkEd the eff out!!

Jessica
Guest

I went to give my son a bath the other night, which is usually a happy event, and he SCREAMED the second I put him in it. SCREAMED. I went to get the washcloth out of the water and realized why. In my sleep deprived state, I used freezing cold water. Whoops… I swore I tested that water too, but 4 hours of sleep is not a good thing.
My husband kindly pointed out it was good it was cold and not scalding hot. Aaah, there is that silver lining.

Kate
Guest
Kate

@ lindswing, I did exactly the same thing this summer when we were headed home from the beach. Luckily I realized it just as we were stopping for gas a few miles into the trip otherwise I might have driven all three hours home with him that way.

Sarah
Guest
Sarah

We’re going on 5 1/2 months now and my husband tells me that nearly every night I wake up thinking I dropped/rolled onto/threw/lost the baby. She sleeps in a co-sleeper NEXT to the bed, she refuses to sleep in bed with us…I apparently have very irrational arguments with him over this in my sleep (insisting that she is in bed with us and OMG WHY WON’T YOU HELP ME FIND HER!?). He used to try to calm me down and keep me in bed. Now he just lets me rant crazily as I search for the baby on the floor… Read more »

maria
Guest
maria

lindswing, I’ve done that too, i’d be driving down the freeway and wondering, “why is Jakob so squawky back there?” and he’d be loose and flailing without the straps done up… durr. I’ve also gone on shopping trips whilst leaving the car keys in the trunk keyhole and coming back after an hour! Thank goodness no one stole my car, I’ve done that a couple times now! Just this evening I took a VERY quick trip to Michaels to buy a photo album and met my aunt there. Jakob (who will be 4 months tomorrow) had been with my mum… Read more »

natalieushka
Guest
natalieushka

My son is 11 weeks old. I have called him by the wrong name (the name of a friend’s baby) while cooing at him when he was 2 days old (whoops!)

Kristina
Guest
Kristina

I went back to work when my first baby was 3 months old. The night before my first day back he woke up every hour all night long. While I was pumping at work the next day, I realized that I had forgotten to attach the bottles and the pumped milk was spilling right into my lap. Sooooo tiiiiired.

Andrea
Guest
Andrea

When my son was born, we kept him in a bassinet beside the bed. Every time he woke up during the night, I’d pick him up and give him bottle and once he was finished, lay him back down. One morning I woke up in sheer panic because I remembered waking up and feeding him, but not putting him down again. I woke my husband in a frenzy and tore all the sheets off the bed trying to find the baby…who was in the bassinet sleeping peacefully. It never occured to me to check there first!

Liz M.
Guest

Not my stories, but still fun to share…
Right after I was born, my parents temporarily forgot they had a baby and left me at home alone while they both went out to run their usual Saturday errands.
My in-laws had a similar incident with my brother-in-law. They forgot about him when going out for their usual Thursday night date.

Spinderella
Guest
Spinderella

I had that itchy pregnancy rash, and had Benadryl ointment on the bathroom counter. A few days after my daughter was born, and in a sleep-deprivation fog, I began putting the Benadryl on my toothbrush one morning…I realized seconds before I started to brush my teeth with the stuff.

Mary
Guest

Don’t beat yourselves up about the forgetting to buckle the kid thing. I have three and it’s happened at least once per kid, here. Just think of it this way — all of us here made it through our entire childhoods bouncing around the back seats of cars unsecured, so, while not ideal, it’s nothing to berate yourself over. The only thing that sticks out for me is when a friend and I went to the store with my two-week old son in the back seat. We arrived, parked, got out of the car and locked it and started to… Read more »

Mary
Guest

Incidentally I should mention that Forgotten Baby is now 6 years old and is still, currently, living, so no harm, no foul. I’ve redeemed myself, I think! Also he has a younger (2yo) sister and I never once forgot her anywhere, which is odd, as I had a lot less sleep when she was a baby than when either of the other two were that age. I think the experience made me extra-vigilant….I still to this day check the back seat for kids even when I know I don’t have any with me. And the wrong-name thing – I’m so… Read more »

Hannah
Guest
Hannah

Let’s see – when I took my first son to the doctor five days postpartum for his well-baby check, I forgot the diaper bag; wasn’t wearing a nursing bra and my milk came while in the doctor’s office, spattering my feet and causing the doctor to frown with concern; burst into tears in the pharmacy because I was supposed to buy vitamin D supplements for the baby and couldn’t find them where I thought they should be; then when I got home and the baby wouldn’t stop crying, I sobbed (again) convinced that I was a horrible mother… until I… Read more »

cee
Guest
cee

dcfullest, THANK YOU! I just went and retrieved my insurance card from the prescription bag in trash! Without your story reminding me, I would have thrown it away!

Laura
Guest

Called my husband while he was working late to tell him I couldn’t get our toddler to stop crying and go back to sleep. When he arrived home 10 minutes later and asked where the boy was – I handed him our sleeping newborn daughter and went back to sleep.
I had apparently dreamed the whole toddler freak-out thing and called him while still half asleep.

Breanna
Guest
Breanna

Threw the diaper in the washer and the laundry in the garbage can! Oh and my husband locked me and 3 day old newborn out of the house (we were on the back deck.) I had no shoes or keys… very very bad!

megs
Guest

@Sarah: It’s been over 4 months since the baby every slept in bed with us, and I wake up EVERY SINGLE NIGHT frantically searching for him and yelling at my partner to HELP! WHERE IS HE?! FIIIIIIIND HIM! While he slept with us, did I ever, even once, wake up thinking I had lost/rolled over/suffocated him? Nope. Not once. I never had any worries about his safety in bed with us (beyond initial precautions) until he had long been in the crib in another room. Wtf? The first time we left the house with the baby (for a trip to… Read more »

CJ
Guest
CJ

Put the diaper on the outside of my son’s clothes, then didn’t notice until I was carrying him around and why are his legs wet ewwwwwwwwww.
Woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t remember if I’d really had the baby or if I dreamed it and was still pregnant. Lay there for a few minutes before I realized that a) I could feel my stomach and there was no baby in it, and b) he was sleeping right next to me.

Dona
Guest

I love it when parts of my life crash together like this post did.
1) the fog photo by James Jordan: I’ve been reading his blog for as long as I’ve been reading Amy’s blog. He’s from my hometown (where I was born) Amy lives in the town I live now.
2) That photo is what I have for my cellphone wallpaper.
Oh, sorry. This is all about being sleep-deprived after having a baby. Yeah — I was there a long time ago. It sucked.

mfick
Guest
mfick

Loaded a kindergartener, a six-week old hunry baby, stroller, and daughters wheelchair (she has spina bifida) into trunk, left my purse sitting on the ground while I loaded things up. Got in, BACKED over my purse and sat in the car bitching about the potholes in the brand new parking lot. Then drove forward and DROVE over my purse in the effort to see what I had backed over. Thank god my cell phone was in the car!