The Female Brain

New mothers lose an average of seven hundred hours of sleep in the first year postpartum.

…In one study, mother rats were given the opportunity to press a bar and get a squirt of cocaine or press a bar and get a rat pup to suck their nipples…Those oxytocin squirts in the brain outscored a snort of cocaine every time.

Both are from the new and noteworthy The Female Brain, by Louann Brizendine.  Here is a very brief (and somewhat skewed in the direction of politically correct) summary.  Here is more.  Here is a Deborah Tannen review.

There are way way way too many books on gender differences.  Most of them just string together the usual well-known templates, but I read every page of this one with interest.  The best parts focus on the role of hormones.

Not everyone will appreciate the punchy style — "There’s a new reality brewing in Sylvia’s brain, and it’s a take-no-prisoners view" — but everyone who wants to marry or have kids should read this book.


Caution. It seems that Brizendine is quite careless about references and data:

Check out:

Seven hundred hours? I lost a lot more than that with each of the kids and my wife lost at least one thousand hours of sleep in each one's first year.

We was robbed.

Just from very recent experience (i.e., this morning), some kids require being fed more often than every 4 hours.

I got really big kids out of it, but it can wear a woman down. The addictive quality of baby-sugar is a pretty good evolutionary ploy.

Whereas if the rat had a coke addiction prior to giving birth...

/hormone substitutes and manipulators.

Saying that women behave like women due to hormones is not shocking. Men behave like men due to hormones. Give a big guy a good dose of pre-menstrual hormones and you'd find him bawling in the bathroom because someone slighted his favorite economist or book! Give it to him every four weeks for a year and he'll be ready to blow his brains out rather than go through it a 13th time. Men have it so easy.

It is quite surprisong that new mothers lose 700 hours of sleep but if you think about it, losing 2 hours of sleep a night for 1 year would be just that. I could imagine it would be very intimadating for a woman about to give birth but it is a part of life. I wonder if the rat had a cocaine addiction before giving birth. I guess a snort of cocaine would be a little much for a 3 ox. rat but I would have guessed the rat would be taken the snort given its terrible life style.

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