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What is Brain?

In what is widely regarded as the worst (and possibly most sexist) Star Trek episode ever, the crew of the Enterprise runs into a group of alien airhead women, the Eymorgs, who steal Spock’s brain to think for them and run their society’s infrastructure. It seems they have lost the ability to think for themselves.

About now, I feel like an airhead Eymorg myself and wish I could get my hands on a fully functional brain. Because mine is not what it used to be. I read about “mom brain” when I was pregnant and arrogantly thought it wouldn’t happen to me.

Well, here I am, 39 weeks post-partum and struggling each day with my recall. It’s not that I can’t think of new things or do decent work at my job. In many respects, I’m a better editor and employee than I was last year. But I’m afraid that improvement is due to improved time management skills and greater job satisfaction, not sharpened critical thinking skills.

In the past 24 hours or so I have struggled to remember the name of an Addison-Wesley author-I can’t now remember which one-I have struggled to come up with the word “diffuse”, and I finally recalled the word “portmanteau” approximately 48 hours after my dad asked me what a “blog” was and I tried to conjure it.

My recall of facts, names, and words used to be regular and unthinking, like breathing or having my heart beat. Now it’ s more like a 40-minute workout on the elliptical trainer; I practically sweat with the effort. And it’s so slow! My brain has gone from being a sprinter to a race-walker.

I sincerely appreciate my new-found efficiency and ability to multi-task, heaven knows. I love it when at the end of the day I realize I have handled email, taken author calls, worked on my annual budget, washed multiple loads of laundry, cooked for the whole family, and nursed Simon seven times. When I can tick off a long list of accomplishments like this, I get anI-am-woman-hear-me-roar charge. But I’ve gotta be honest: On any given day, I’d trade that in a heartbeat to get my old brain back, preferably before it begins to deteriorate from age.

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