So you want to learn German? You’re going to need some resources…
Great! Welcome back. I’ve noticed that the installments of this series are really popular with readers of the blog. I am so stoked. The point of creating this series was to make a resource for language learners, unlike any that already exists on the web. German isn’t easy. I know. I’m going through this right along with you. Finding a voice like your own in the sea of information helps to gird your resolve.
Let’s keep going! Sometimes that’s easier said than done. Life takes some odd turns and some that are even planned, but you have no idea how that is going to affect the choice to learn a new language. Quite frankly, I’m not turning down opportunities or life choices based on how it will adversely affect my German lessons.
This post is mostly going to speak to the affects of health and body changes in women, although hormone changes can affect men and women at any age.
Back in December, I was given the happy news that I would be expecting a new little bundle in 9 months. Since then, I have miscarried with a blighted ovum. I’ve spoken extensively this month on all of the things that I experienced through the rug being pulled out from under me event. One of the most interesting symptoms was the memory fog. Some of you out there may have gone through a pregnancy or known someone who has. I’ve known quite a few, as I am in the childbearing years, and a lot of them talk about Mommy Brain and Pregnancy Brain. Of course I realized this was a real thing as I saw many of my friends going through it. However, you don’t realize the deep levels at which this affects your day to day, until you experience it first hand.
I’ve been known to forget things easily in the past, especially if I don’t much care about them, or I’m not applying myself. In this case, it wasn’t that I wasn’t applying myself. Studies would take place every evening, sometimes earlier if it was the weekend, but I was getting no further. Everything needed to be repeated several times over before I could even get an inch ahead.
Were the lessons getting harder? No. Many of the things I was struggling with were things that I had already well memorized and just couldn’t remember. Retaining new lessons was difficult, and the lessons were easy, in my estimation. The frustration rose. What is going on?
The pregnancy hormones were what was going on. No, I wasn’t distracted by preparations, because I was two months pregnant when the miscarriage occurred and I hadn’t begun to do anything, as I was waiting to be sure there was in fact going to be a baby. Most people don’t start preparing a place for their new addition exactly for that reason. Not all pregnancies progress.
When I got the bad news, I decided to use it as a means for documenting the process and using it to help other women and families. I also realized, this would be a great opportunity to document the affects it had on my lessons and share those with you.
At the outset, I was at 28% fluency and dropped to 22%. That is only a 6% drop, but consider that in the fraction of what I have learned it’s quite a loss. A few days ago, I completed my lessons and raised buck up 1% already. I am completing new lessons and forging ahead despite this foggy period that lasted December and most of January. Hopefully I will catch up quickly enough.
So, for those out there making sure that they get enough sleep and eat properly, sometimes, it just might be your body chemistry that is off and affecting the functioning of your brain. This can be frustrating. I suggest that if you are pregnant or may have another reason that your hormones are off, that you take it very easy on yourself and just try to advance at a slower pace until you feel like yourself again. After all, they say that everything you do while pregnant has some affect on your child. Learning a second language must be a benefit, whereas quitting could release a lot of bad feelings that won’t be a benefit.
At least when you are learning on your own, and not in a class bound by dates, you can take things one day at a time.
I hope this has been an interesting installment, giving you much to think about as you journey forward. Subscribe to the blog to keep up to date with more Learning German installments. You can also browse the archive there on the right.