Super mom powers
May 15, 2019 1:34 PM   Subscribe

There’s research showing that pregnancy can alter women’s brains (most often reported to be a grey matter shrinkage for up to two years after birth) and stories that women can, say, lift a car off of their baby because of their magical mom powers. Do you have any personal experience of such marked change, and did it stick aroun for you?

I noticed after having a kid that I felt zero pressure to please others in social settings that previously would have made me nervous. More interestingly, I somehow gained the ability to be a super name rememberer—where I could never remember people’s names on a first, second, or third introduction, I suddenly could remember every parent/baby pair from classes, random acquaintances, new colleagues, etc. I imagine this has something to do with building supportive social networks to ensure the survival of progeny. What other such changes have you experienced?
posted by stillmoving to Health & Fitness (17 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
The ability to catch things, including catching my baby daughter several times from across a room as she began to fall from the bed we were playing on.

The inability to tolerate difficult or potentially unstable people. I am now so much happier to just leave a situation if I start to feel my spidey senses pinging for no apparent reason.
posted by RandomInconsistencies at 1:46 PM on May 15 [4 favorites]

Ditto on the ability to catch things, especially as they fall off random surfaces. In particular, I can catch tiny syringe caps before they hit the ground or on the first bounce. However, now that my kid is 6 I have noticed my reflexes slowing down again - I think my peak catch reflex years were ages 1-4.
posted by Maarika at 1:51 PM on May 15

I became the lightest sleeper ever. x1000 after we had a house fire (that I awoke to) when my oldest was 18 months old.

Oldest is now 23, youngest almost 17... and the detrimental effects far outweigh the benefits for me, most days. I *wish* it would go away! I'd love to be able to sleep in once in a while!
posted by stormyteal at 2:25 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]

I got a kidney stone when I was pregnant. I was hospitalized and told I needed surgery because it was the size of a pencil eraser. I refused because I was afraid of the effects of anesthesia on my baby but they said I had no choice. We compromised and I asked them to give me until the next morning to pass it. They were pissed at pushback (tough crap) but agreed to give me until 7:00 am the next day. The lead doc came in any room about 6:00 the next day and smugly told me they were prepping my room. I passed the stone at 6:45 because there was no way in hell I was going to be anesthetized while pregnant. (It really was the size of a pencil eraser. Not fun.)

After my first son was born I lost the ability to ride roller coasters and watch scary movies for about 20 years.
posted by _Mona_ at 3:02 PM on May 15 [7 favorites]

Gained super human ability to smell my child's BMs as soon as they have silently arrived. Spouse and friends can verify that my alerts are not smell-able by other people's nostrils.

Also gained super ability to just FRIGGING GET IT DONE at work. Like, no more quibbling over this/that/the other -- straight up, what do I need to do, DO IT, breathe, pump, DO IT, breathe, pump again, WRAP UP, run to pickup.
posted by vacuumsealed at 5:05 PM on May 15 [4 favorites]

Mrs. Proust said that the most amazing super power mom's get is the ability to turn food and water into milk. (Eight years after the last baby her super power has waned.)
posted by Winnie the Proust at 5:36 PM on May 15 [2 favorites]

Also became a super name remembered! Around the one year mark it wore off. I haven’t met another mom who noted this before so I was super psyched to read your post.
posted by CMcG at 5:56 PM on May 15

I can recognize strep in my children even if they’re essentially asymptomatic. Not very useful now that my daughter had her tonsils out and doesn’t get strep anymore, but it was uncanny. Even my husband was flabbergasted.
posted by lydhre at 6:18 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]

I'm much better at saying no to things without regret or compunction (kids give you lots of practice). And I never really had any interpersonal empathy before I had kids.

I also can name many parts of a train.
posted by potrzebie at 6:33 PM on May 15 [3 favorites]

Gained the ability to tell when babies and toddlers have to go potty or are currently going in their diaper.
Honestly, it’s kind of gross when it’s not my own kids and I’m at a restaurant or something. Ew.
posted by The Toad at 8:42 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]

My immune system improved dramatically immediately upon the birth of my first child.

Before then I seemed to catch every cold around, after then, less than one cold a year, really I seriously almost never catch anything.

And it's not the classic preschool teacher exposed to everything now immune to everything effect of having toddlers who catch everything. The onset was noticeable immediately because sadly my first baby was very sick and died when she was 4 months old. I was spending all this time in hospitals and doctors offices and under the greatest stress of my life and yet was not getting sick. I noticed. I thought, jeez you'd think I'd be getting sick. And it has stayed the same ever since.

It's weird. But nice!
posted by Jenny'sCricket at 3:33 AM on May 16 [1 favorite]

I just got completely over being grossed out by anything. When my daughter was a few months old, I went out with friends to play poker at someone’s apartment who I didn’t know well. My close friend drank too much, and ended up vomiting sangria, with a whole lot of red wine and cut up fruit, into the tub. So I finished the evening picking chunks of vomit out of a strangers tub-drain and cleaning the tub, and thinking that if this had happened a year earlier, I would have been revolted, but as it was it didn’t bother me at all.
posted by LizardBreath at 4:33 AM on May 16 [2 favorites]

I forgot: Also the ability to hear my daughters breathing from the next room at night, I could hear her turning over in her sleep too. This only seemed to last for two years or so but it was a real non imagined thing. I also can tell how deeply asleep she is by the specific sound of her breathing.
Great question!
posted by RandomInconsistencies at 4:59 AM on May 16 [2 favorites]

When my son has a fever and I put my hand on his forehead, I feel a little sting in the palm of my hand. It's never wrong, and even when he has a minor fever. It's the strangest thing. I don't know if it works for other children, but it doesn't work for my husband.

And yeah, agreed to being much less easily grossed out. And also, when my husband and son get sick, I don't usually get sick. Those two have, like, the same immune system. If my son gets sick, my husband gets it. And I don't. When I get sick, they don't usually get it. They both had the flu this winter and I slept in the same bed with both of them. I took minor precautions but didn't wear a mask or anything. No flu.
posted by Aquifer at 6:52 AM on May 16 [1 favorite]

I feel like my brain is much more efficient when it comes to "gathering" -type tasks, for example doing a grocery store run. Before kids, I would kind of meander and dither and it took me a while to find what I was looking for. Now I can do a week's worth of shopping in 10 minutes - grab the milk, cheese, frozen foods, meats, bread, produce, canned goods bam-bam-bam-bam go and get diapers and purees for the baby, go to checkout, and DONE.

My second-born is only 8 months old so it's still unknown if this will stick around.
posted by castlebravo at 9:32 AM on May 16 [1 favorite]

I have [Ross-voice] UNAGI.

- My mother used to say I turn into a rock when I'm reading a book; now, while reading a great book, I can somehow simultaneously monitor one kid who's in the kitchen making edible slime and make sure the other kid is making progress on homework, all without slacking in my reading speed to any noticeable degree.

- I still sleep like the dead and a storm won't wake me... but a cough from a tiny person will. (Is not specific to my child. Can be any child. Makes me wonder whether this superpower will basically last forever.)

I have ADD, so this to me is as incredible as an amputee growing back a tiny section of their missing limb. I have no idea wtf happened. But I am hyper attuned to child-related activities in my surroundings now.

Second: I have GOBS of patience. It's fucking incredible how I will not yell no matter how many times I have to say, "We gotta go, please get your shoes on." Also how long I can listen to an idiot child blather on about their computer game or their friend who is mean, and convincingly fake interest by maintaining my attention and asking empathic questions.

Oh and also nthing everyone who is saying they have no trouble saying "no" anymore and will not suffer terrible people. It's great!
posted by MiraK at 10:28 AM on May 16

Ability to remember numbers and names better than before. Ability to do things one handed just as well as with two. Carry my son in one arm and lug waaaaay more bags than I used to think possible in one trip. Also, agree with setting better boundaries and not dealing with B.S. At the same time, I feel more empathetic and am a better listener and more patient.
posted by jj's.mama at 10:55 PM on May 19

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