Welcome to the club!
Amy’s passed over that threshold that switches wide-eyed hunger for those big feelings over to the new mum default of freaked-the-heck-out.
It was The Handmaid’s Tale that confirmed this, with the popular comedian and champion of candid glimpses into new mum life taking to Instagram to share the news.
“Oh ok so I can’t watch handmaids anymore. #filledwithregret,” Amy wrote.
Granted The Handmaid’s Tale is gruelling for the best of us, but commenters highlighted their supercharged sensitivity after having a baby and noted that they could no longer handle the tension and trauma of the Margaret Atwood classic – and many other programs.
“Oh yeah. I give myself at least two hours to watch each episode with pause and sob breaks. Started watching the series soon after my kid was born and was like ‘wow dang the hormones are still raging!’ 2 years later – still raging,” one fan commented.
“Yeah, there’s a lot I can’t watch anymore after I made a human,” another follower posted.
“Had the same feeling after my son was born,” someone else sympathised.
“There’s a lot you probably won’t be able to handle now that you’re a mom,” another commenter predicted.
Changes in the brain
Perhaps it’s helpful to note that this shift from hardcore tension fan to tissue-grabbing wimp is prompted by some neurological changes sparked by pregnancy.
Basically … mums can’t help it!
A brilliant piece in The Atlantic reports neurologists observing that during pregnancy “gray matter becomes more concentrated. Activity increases in regions that control empathy, anxiety, and social interaction.”
“On the most basic level, these changes, prompted by a flood of hormones during pregnancy and in the postpartum period, help attract a new mother to her baby. In other words, those maternal feelings of overwhelming love, fierce protectiveness, and constant worry begin with reactions in the brain.”
The amygdala – the part of the brain that controls functions such as fear, anxiety, and aggression – grows during pregnancy and it’s thought that this happens to help a mother be more vigilant and tuned-in to her baby’s needs.
But it can also turn us to mush when it comes to things that aren’t our babies.
While these freaked-out responses might seem a little unhelpful, especially when they happen during an insurance commercial, it’s suggested that they actually show the amygdala is working as it should, and that the brain is priming mums to better empathise with and care for their babies.