Milk brain / by Susie Lubell

My maternity leave is quickly coming to an end. I'm actually very grateful for the extended leave (six months!) and I'm only going back three days a week which is delightful. But I'm sad to leave my baby girl. That, in addition to the fact that I detest pumping, my daughter won't take a bottle from anyone but me, or tolerate being held by anyone but me, and there are seven other runny-nosed germy kids at the family daycare where she's enrolled. How I hate snot...

But I'm especially nervous about being a professional again with responsibilities outside of the domestic domain. Because I tell you my brain is mush. And it's not so obvious at first glance. I don't say things like, "I'll be in the meeting in a second; I have to make poopy." I just can't remember anything and the wiring in my brain is a little wacko.

An example:
I took the baby to my mom's house in southern California for a long weekend a few weeks ago. I knew that my flight home was at 8:00 pm so we got to the airport at 6:45 but San Jose (my destination) is not on the monitor so I ask the curbside guy to go inside and see when the San Jose flight is leaving. He comes out and says it’s been delayed until 7:20. This makes PERFECT sense to me for some reason. I figure I have a little extra time. Baby is screaming and now I've leaked through my bra and shirt so I need to change in my mom’s car. By now it’s 7:00 and I bring her inside to nurse her before we check in, knowing the plane is leaving at 7:20 (!) but also knowing that my flight is at 8:00 (?!). At 7:18 I jump up panicked with the baby hanging off my boob and run up to the counter blabbering about having probably missed my flight to San Jose. They look up my name and I’m not even on the flight, which is currently taxiing down the runway. This makes no sense. Then they take my credit card number and look me up and apparently I am scheduled to leave at 8:00, as I thought, but to Phoenix! I booked my return flight to Phoenix! So they put me on the flight to San Jose for the 8:00 am the next morning and my mom comes back to get me at the airport. We get in the car and drive to a Chinese restaurant for dinner (15 minutes from the airport) and I realize my suitcase is not in the trunk. I left it outside the airport on the sidewalk. Praying that they haven't called in the bomb squad to blow up this "suspicious item" we drive back and it’s waiting for me at the Southwest desk. The woman there was about to send it off to Phoenix.

I asked my mom, did it make sense to YOU that my 8:00 pm flight had been DELAYED to 7:20? She said of course not, but apparently so much of what I say makes no sense to her that she just decided to go with it.

There was a study once which showed a statistically significant correlation between lactation and loss of brain functioning. I'd quote from it right now if I could remember where I put it...