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Mommy Brain

Dina Roth Port had been a mom for only 48 hours when she realized that she'd lost her mind  -- at least temporarily. "My first evening home from the hospital, the baby nurse we'd hired asked where the kitchen trash can was and I gave her a totally blank stare: I couldn't remember!" says Roth Port, of Boca Raton, Florida, mom of Samantha, now 1.

Call it what you will  -- baby brain drain, maternal absentmindedness  -- the phenomenon of forgetfulness is a fact of life for moms, often setting in even before they give birth. This particular brand of memory loss can reduce the kind of person who once never forgot a face (let's call her Mommy A) into a blithering idiot. Now, when Mommy B waves Mommy A down in the frozen-food aisle, she has to introduce herself three different ways before A finally remembers who she is: "Jake's mom? From the playground last week? You know, I had an extra strawberry-watermelon Go-Gurt?" It's the gremlin who hides the car keys and allows cookies to burn to a crisp and permission slips to go unsigned.

What makes a mom become so forgetful? A variety of things. Is there any chance of returning to the way you were  -- able to remember names and faces, birthdays, and when it's your turn to bring in snacks? Absolutely. Read on for the biggest memory zappers (and be sure to take notes, lest you forget).

Maura Rhodes is a mom of four (ages 14, 6, 3, and 4 months) and a senior editor at Parenting.