I was really fascinated to see an article published in wired this month on the fact that science has made a new discovery: dad’s brains change with children too. We’ve long known that Mom’s brain’s are different, but this is the first time I’ve heard a study looking specifically for changes in a male brain, since we don’t have the pregnancy thing as marker.
The changes that they discuss are largely focused on the development or reduction of gray matter in specific areas of the brain. What each of those changes means, however, is mostly a guess. They discuss, for instance, changes to the pre-frontal cortex which is involved in memory and decision making. They discuss, the anterior cingulate cortex which is all about emotion. They even discuss changes in the parts of our brain that are thought to activate when we retreat into ourselves, and the reduction therein as a result of baby. None of these things, though, are really a surprise to me.
Having kids should change you. You should have a visceral need to alter you normal behaviours and decisions in order to ensure the best life for your kids. You should have a deep, previously un-felt, emotional experience since there is no love like the love for your child. You should have to pull yourself out of that self-centeredness that we’ve all experienced and give your everything to your child, because as a new born they can’t understand that daddy just needs a minute. In short, if having a baby doesn’t change your (and your brain), not only are you doing something wrong, you’re seriously missing out.
There are no cooler people in my life than my kids. My wife is pretty special, and I couldn’t get through life without her, but kids are different. They can push my buttons better than anyone else on earth. And they bring me joy like nobody else on earth. And frankly, they make me a better person. So thanks kids, for my daddy brain. It is a deep and unabiding improvement on the previous model.