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01st Mar 2015

Mother’s existence amnesia – MEA: It’s a thing, you know

..." these symptoms tend to subside when there is a dirty nappy in the environment"

Gail Condon

Becoming a mother is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I truly feel it has allowed me to grow as a person in ways that no other experience could. I am so honoured to be Rosie’s mum, because she is the greatest little human of all time, obviously…

However those around me have suffered from a phenomenon called MEA – mother’s existence amnesia. The people that tend to suffer the most from this are your own mother and mother-in-law. Other people that suffer MEA are your friends and sister though they are not as severely affected. Your husband or partner can also occasionally suffer, as can the other men in your life, although men tend to have milder symptoms.

The most common symptoms are:

  • Not greeting you, or severe delay in greeting you.
  • Ignoring what you are saying regardless of your desire for a grown-up conversation.
  • Referring to you as Mummy as they have literally forgotten that you have a name.
  • An inability to make eye contact with you, your child is too cute.
  • Not saying goodbye or a delay in doing so. This may be followed by a text later to say goodbye or to finish off that conversion.

A common observation is that these symptoms tend to subside when there is a dirty nappy in the environment or when there is a loud screeching noise emanating from the child.

My personal antidotes are:

  • Tell them how you feel. Avoid the old ‘poor me’ attitude and say “I haven’t seen you in ages, can we please speak adult-to-adult, I would appreciate your advice on something…”
  • Arrange to meet the sufferers of MEA when you are baby-free on occasion (I should take my own advice on this one).
  • Call your friends and family when your baby is asleep. Take the time to talk to them properly, remember they may need to talk to you about something that is going on for them.
  • They miss you too. You need to stay true to you. Even if you have been changed somewhat by motherhood, you are still you. You are still a daughter, a wife and a friend so don’t let them forget that, and don’t you forget it either.

*MEA is made up…