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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    80

    Default Do you lose IQ points when you have a baby?

    My husband and I are thinking about TTC #1 in about 6-8 months (summer 2006). But I am starting to worry about where this new, exciting adventure will take us. My husband and I both have advanced degrees, and most of our friends and family have some type of college education. But what scares me the most about having children is losing some of that intellectual spark.

    Please take this seriously, as I am asking for this to be a forum to analyze the ways in which men and women change when they become parents. Do you notice changes like what I see? And I ask this in all sincerity, since it seems like the women I know who become mommies just become a completely different person. (I will use 'she' as the generic women we can discuss.)

    She used to debate politics, discuss the environment, travel, shop, hell, even tell you the best way to defrost a turkey. Now, literally any topic that requires more than five minutes of uninterrupted phone time is impossible. Yes, I get it that you're busy with a child. Yes, I do ask how he/she is doing. I try my best! But I get nothing in return. Even when she calls me and then ends up speaking to her child for at least five minutes out of our seven minute call, I end up saying "It's ok. Why don't you call me back when things have settled down." But even when things have settled down and she is able to leave the house for an hour to grab coffee, it seems she is so flighty, unable to sit still and focus, or generally talk about anything significant.

    I am so frustrated. Part of me feels like I will be able to have more in common with these lovely women in my life once I have a baby of my own. But at what expense? What if I "cross over" and have a baby and discover that these women aren't much more of a conversationalist even though I am part of the club. What if I discover that I have become "one of them" and my child-free friends now view me the same way? Please tell me that I am not alone in this fear!

    Argh. Sorry to just dump all of this out here, but pre-TTC brings out a lot of emotions! I don't mean any disrespect to any moms or dads...parenthood is the toughest job you will have. I recognize this, and this may be why I have been (over) analyzing everything.
    "It seems like you agree to have a certain personality or something, just to make things easier for everyone. But when you think about it, how do you know it's even you?"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    288

    Default

    I will field this one honestly. Yes, Iíve changed immensely since the birth of my daughter. I donít know how it happened, but it did. In brief, I went from Best Buy to Babies R Us. I went from dressing myself to the nines at Nordstrom to dressing my daughter to the nines at Janie and Jack, and allowing myself to be not nearly as fashionable as I wasÖand I donít even care. I went from actively attending sporting events (hockey!) to not even knowing where any of my favorite teams are in the standings.

    I used to somewhat follow world events; now Iím only looking for that e-mail saver that Gymboree is having a clearance sale.

    I never worried about keeping my job, the future, money, where Iíd be in 10 yearsÖit was all about ME and my good times. Those were the days.

    I honestly didnít think having a baby would change me to my absolute core but it has.

    YetÖ Iíd have it no other way. My life seemed to have been one big span of 29 meaningless (although excellently fun!!!) years.

    However, I make time for myself, my FH and my friends/family. I have a very supportive FH (her daddy) that gets we still need to be adults, and do adult things. I donít hang on the phone, trying to have a rational conversation with my child nagging in the background. I make sure to plan dinner/time out with my friends while she stays home with daddyÖsometimes itís appropriate to bring your child with you and sometimes itís not. When I didnít have a child I stayed FAR away from people who did, so I get that people arenít going to be an enamored with my little one as I am.

    I believe there are many many many aspects of parenthood you emotionally canít control, but there are so many that you can, and it takes time to individualize yourself from something that you created and something that will definitely redefine love/devotion for you.

    But itís possible, so donít think youíll lose all your marbles!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    1,019

    Default

    Hey Cilantro,
    I must say that this has crossed my mind, also. Not so much that I'm worried that my IQ will decrease, but that I won't be the same person. And I accept the fact that I won't be.

    My DH and I both have advanced degrees, too, and almost all of our friends are in academia. We have postponed TTC for DH to finish his Ph.D. and now his post-doc.

    The observations we have made of our current society have, if anything, increased our desire to reproduce. We hope to raise a child to value the things that we think are important... to be an environmentally conscious, scientifically literate human being, whom is respectful to all people (not just white, christians). This may be naive, but it is our goal...

    A friend of ours has a young daughter who can recite pi to 15 decimals! Another friend of ours told the story of his daughter standing up in science class and telling the teacher why "Intelligent Design" is not science. I think that's great and hope that our child(ren) will do that, too! I don't think you will lose yourself in the path to mommyhood if you include your child in your interests, as opposed to abandoning your interests to raise the child.

    Good luck! I'm sure you'll be awesome parents.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    6,604

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TLynn

    YetÖ Iíd have it no other way. My life seemed to have been one big span of 29 meaningless (although excellently fun!!!) years.
    Don't get me wrong, I am not intepreting this comment as you think that people that do not have children have meaningless lives, but I am wondering why you felt your life was meaningless until you did have a child. Is there something that wanted to do before the kiddos came along?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
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    3,819

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    I still am interested in and care about things I did before pregnancy, I just have less time for them because DH & I are now responsible for raising another human being. It takes a lot out of you and is such a massive commitment.

    I love being a mom, and never thought doing that would override my desires as a working woman. But if some of those people who used to see me kicking a$$ in my power suits a few years ago saw me now singing in baby yoga class...well, they'll actually be seeing a better part of me. I may be doing something different, but I am the same person.

    Because parenting can be so all-consuming, you need to make a point to watch the news and read the papers/magazines and keep in touch with the outside world. I journal in LJ and often discuss controversial current events that get me fired up. My mommy friends and I talk about a lot of things - the poop discussions just take priority. But we do get to other topics!

    What's hard at first is that the beginning is exhausting and your focus is simply on making it through another day. Over time you get better at what you're doing and gain confidence as parents...and then you suddenly have actual time for conversations outside of baby. But you have to be deliberate about it and prevent the bad habits of being all baby all the time. Baby does better if you are well-rounded and happy (IMO). If you fear losing touch, make keeping touch a priority.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    80

    Default

    Wow, a lot to think about. Thank you for so many varied yet honest responses. I hope no one took any offense to what I posted yesterday (PMS, crap...) but I am feeling so emotional. One part of me is getting sad (why are we waiting to TTC? why not just do it now?) and another part of me is freaking out over the complete life change it brings.

    And this, I get this, and I'm not even a parent!

    My life seemed to have been one big span of 29 meaningless (although excellently fun!!!) years.
    I read it as, even with all the wonderful accomplishments in your life, creating a human being is more important than anything you ever accomplished before (be it a raise and promotion at work or sleeping with a rock star, whatever floats your boat as successful.)

    Thanks again, ladies! I think I'm just emotional.
    "It seems like you agree to have a certain personality or something, just to make things easier for everyone. But when you think about it, how do you know it's even you?"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    NJ girl
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    762

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    Quote Originally Posted by batgirl
    I don't think you will lose yourself in the path to mommyhood if you include your child in your interests, as opposed to abandoning your interests to raise the child.
    I love that and totally agree. Since having my daughter in May of 2006, I definitely discuss poop more but I still wear my power suits, kick a s s in a male dominated field, can beat anyone on "Jeopardy" and love to catch up on gossip with my girlies. I still go out to dinner, to the movies (although now it's matinees), participate in my bookclub and go to parties and other people's houses for dinner but now I just do it with a baby in tow. What I DON'T do anymore is go out to clubs, attend any weekday party that starts after 7:00 or go to anything that I don't have an honest interest in even if there's an "obligation". My main interest is my daughter and raising her to know all the amazing things in the world. There is more to life than Barney and Babies R Us (although I love both of these )and DH and I will explore it all WITH our children while boosting our own grey matter in the process.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
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    USA
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    3,912

    Default

    But even when things have settled down and she is able to leave the house for an hour to grab coffee, it seems she is so flighty, unable to sit still and focus, or generally talk about anything significant.
    having a child is exhausting and unless you have a child you can't possibly understand. However, that is the main reason it's hard to keep up with some of the things you used to do. Plus when you are running on limited sleep, it is likely you will come across as "flighty". You don't actually lose brain cells, though.. In fact...if you nurse your baby you gain brain cells. There are chemicals released in your body that create more brain cells. Too bad your too tired to use them!

    I'm sorry you're feeling frustrated and I hope you feel better after the pms has passed.
    Collin 6/13/05
    Brady 1/17/07

    Caitlin 8/3/10

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    195

    Default

    How old is her child? If the child is under one, you should really cut her some slack. Think of it like the first year of law school, or the first year of an intense residency. You wouldn't say they'd lost IQ points because they were often frazzled and unable to detach from their all consuming jobs, right? The first year of parenthood is much like that, though it is even more consuming. There are so many details; it's a really hard thing to create all that brain space. And she is probably not sleeping(really, very possibly has not slept more than 2 hours in a row for 6 months. You can't overestimate the affect sleep deprivation has on your concentration, and you simply cannot understand until you go through it. It's not the same as when you stay out late twice in a row during the workweek. You never get to catch up.), has not had a space to recenter herself, and has to solve a million tiny but tedious problems a day.

    There are actually some studies out there that show a woman gains IQ points from having a child(whether or not she breastfeeds), but I doubt you were asking about actual IQ points.

    Now that my child is 16 months, I find myself able to return with the same concentration to topics that interested me before, but it is still true that my life has changed, and some things that used to be a priority for me are not any more. And also now that she's a toddler I find myself less able to just tote her along like sophia does, so my social life has changed somewhat. That sort of thing happens after every really big milestone, though, doesn't it?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
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    2,790

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    Quote Originally Posted by batgirl
    Another friend of ours told the story of his daughter standing up in science class and telling the teacher why "Intelligent Design" is not science. I think that's great and hope that our child(ren) will do that, too!
    While I hope my children are able to stand up in class and tell the teacher why "Evolution" isn't good science, but religion, I agree with the point. Sleep deprivation and time consumption at first may seem to "dull" your friend, think about being able to pass on your intelligence to another human being. I think it may be that it's just an interest that she has right now that you don't share, so you find it boring. Kinda like someone that goes on about, say basketball, but you don't know anything about basketball, so you think it's terribly boring. Don't get discouraged. You'll know when you're ready.

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