Can't Remember Your Kids' Names? Researchers Say Blame Your Birth Control

By Charlotte Hilton Andersen, REDBOOK

Eggs and a sympathy card. That was the sum total of my shopping list when I headed to Target today. $80 later I was back in the car heading home... minus any eggs or a card. (Nor did I get any of the new Missoni stuff -- holy balls of 70's dyed yarn was that a feeding frenzy! And all for cardigans that look like the couch cover my grandma knitted and then covered in plastic.) I was still kicking myself when I got home. No eggs meant I needed a new dinner plan and no sympathy card means I'm one day closer to the insensitive jerk cut-off. But new research says I may not be to blame for my memory lapses.It's not me, it's my birth control!

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Through a combination of whining, sleep deprivation and your hormones, having kids gives you the ability to you forget your own name, but now now in a classic lose-lose scenario researchers have found that even the act of preventing children may decrease our ability to remember details. In the study, women both on the pill and off were told a story about a woman and her son in a car accident. A week later they were given a surprise quiz and while the pill-popping mamas remembered the gist of the story, they were less able to recall specific details. Anyone who's heard me recount the plot to a movie recently knows that's pretty much the story of my life.

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It's not supposed to be bad news though. Says researcher Shawn Nielsen of UC Irvine, "What's most exciting about this study is that it shows the use of hormonal contraception alters memory." Adding that the pill doesn't damage memory she explains, "It's a change in the type of information they remember, not a deficit." You wouldn't think she'd be quite so excited considering using the pill correctly requires some attention to detail.

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But hey, it's not a flaw, it's a feature! What's the saying? "Details are for... devils?" That's not right, but while you're figuring it out, I'll be running back to the store. Because I can't think of anything else to make for dinner tonight besides quiche.

Have you noticed a change in your memory since you've had kids? Or have you noticed a difference on or off the pill?

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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.