This Is Your Brain on Kids and Other Pregnancy Side Effects

The beginning of the end
The beginning of the end ….

As our family embarks on our third go around with parenthood (surprise!! THIS one really is the last!), I’m happily discovering that this pregnancy is going well. Please don’t hate me, but I seem to be one of the few moms I know who don’t experience godawful pregnancy symptoms. Other than occasional leg cramps and the first semester tiredness, I’ve been fortunate to escape many of the less than pleasant side effects of growing a human in my stomach. Similar to my previous two, this latest pregnancy is sailing along swimmingly. 

That being said, I’m still going to gain 25 to 35 pounds over the next nine months, and I do have two other small children, three dogs, a home to care for and a husband. I’m not a freaking unicorn and things DO get harder the further you go in pregnancy. Many of the pregnancy books out there focus on explaining symptoms like nausea, heartburn and skin changes and how to handle them, but let me share a few additional, less-read-about side effects of pregnancy. 

Mismatched shoes, crazy printed pants and striped socks. THIS is your brain on kids.
Mismatched shoes, crazy printed pants and striped socks. THIS is your brain on kids.


This one is often talked about as a sign of impending labor and preparing the house for baby’s arrival. What the books fail to disclose is that it applies to more than generalized cleaning and organizing or preparing the nursery. You will find yourself knee deep in the junk drawer, organizing coins/paper clips/stamps/tape dispensers as if that will actually help your family function smoothly when the baby arrives. 

No closet will be left untouched, no dresser drawer not dumped and refolded neatly. In a recent burst of first trimester energy, I washed and folded and put away EVERY. SINGLE. PIECE. of laundry in my house. I also found matches to every solitary sock, and those that couldn’t be found, were tossed in the rag bin. This includes the socks that we’d been carting around for years because I was so SURE I was going to find their companions.

While you’re in the midst of these excessive cleaning, sorting and organizing sprees, you might realize it’s over the top, but it will make you feel better. There’s something about a well organized pantry that can keep the panic of impending motherhood (or the thoughts of how to manage three under age four) at bay.

Most of these nesting tasks will not actually help you prepare for the sheer exhaustion you’re about to face when the baby arrives, but hey, your medicine cabinet never looked better girl. 

Getting your sit on

Once ordinary events like putting on your socks or tying your shoes will seem overwhelmingly exhausting. You will need to start sitting down for these simple tasks. Once down, you will also not want to get up. I recommend investing in a nice comfortable pair of slip-on shoes. I love my Toms and slip-on sneakers – Naturalizer and Sketchers have some cute options like these that are comfortable and can be put on without having to bend over. Later in your pregnancy, you may find yourself weary halfway through brushing your teeth or making dinner. Get your sit on while you can. 

Just days before we became a family of four. Back when I could find two matching shoes.

Letting things go

There will come a point in your pregnancy where you may drop something – a pen, a book, your towel etc., and the mere act of bending down to pick up said object will seem insurmountable. You will leave the dropped item on the floor, find a replacement or just do without it and move on with your day. The other option is that it is totally OK to call your spouse or other children in from the next room to pick up your needed item.

As another preggo mom friend said recently, unless it’s food, it’s waiting until someone else picks it up. Amen sister. 

Your brain on kids

This may be dating myself a bit, but some of you may remember the “This is your brain on drugs” smashed egg advertisements from the 1980s. Weeeeellllll, this also is your brain on children. I’ve found it gets worse with each successive pregnancy as I’m already worn out from raising/taming one and now two wild little boys. You will find yourself doing inane things like using body soap for hair conditioner or staring in front of the washing machine looking for the milk. If this symptom doesn’t present itself during the actual pregnancy, count yourself lucky, but definitely be aware of brain deterioration after the baby arrives.

This is your brain on children – any questions? 

Food spillage

This last symptom doesn’t typically occur until your bump is nicely established, but at some point in your pregnancy there will come a time when you look down at yourself during a meal and see you’ve spilled parts of it down your front. Your cleavage and new belly will become a receptacle for various bits of your meal and your maternity clothes/husband’s t-shirts will develop some lovely stains. Hi there tomato soup, I was saving you for later! Even if you are a normally neat eater, this will happen. I took to draping myself with napkins during meal time because I’m that classy. If only they made bibs for adults.

So there you have it ladies. Real talk about real pregnancy side effects.

I’m happy to say that most of these disappear once the baby arrives – your organizational skills will go out the window and there won’t be much time to eat, let alone spill anything down your front.