Articles

Motherhood brings the most dramatic brain changes of a woman’s life

IN THE WEEKS AFTER my first son was born, I squandered hours of precious sleep leaning over his bassinet to check that he was still breathing, or Googling potential dangers that seemed to grow into monstrous reality by the blue light of my smartphone. Among them: The lead paint my husband and I had discovered recently — a real but manageable risk — had turned our new home into a hazard zone. I cleaned our floors incessantly but still imagined a cartoonish cloud of poison dust following us as I carried the baby, so tiny and fragile, from room to room.

When the doctor screened for postpartum depression during my six-week checkup, she noted that my responses to the questionnaire were somewhat mixed though my score was within the normal range. She asked whether I had thoughts about harming myself or my child and, when I said no, she moved on. But I was struggling. Before baby, I had managed a tendency toward low-level worry. Now, it was as if the volume had been turned up. Among the biggest worries I faced was worry itself.

The way I saw it, motherhood made me feel this way, and I would be a mother forevermore. Would I always be this anxious? And would my baby suffer for it? I feared that something deep within me — my disposition, my way of seeing the world, myself — had been altered.Read the entire article on The Boston Globe