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The Domestic: Sophie White on the benefits of baby brain - and how it led to this cheesy watermelon salad

Baby brain is not a concept Sophie White ever got behind, until it became a great excuse for everything from forgetfulness to petty theft


Watermelon Feta Salad with lime & Chilli dressing 

Watermelon Feta Salad with lime & Chilli dressing 

Watermelon Feta Salad with lime & Chilli dressing 

I don't subscribe to the baby brain thing. Why would I support a theory that suggests women are compromised mentally when they have kids? Baby brain is what new mums might ruefully blame for being forgetful, but it kind of feels like a tool of the patriarchy - a retrograde argument for why women must not hold positions of power, in case we get PMS or something.

Baby brain suggests that our new mother status is eroding our mental faculties. And while this is not wrong, I suppose what I object to is that it kind of also assumes that mothers are operating at the same level as everyone else and that's simply not true. At any given moment, a mother is doing the mental equivalent of rubbing her tummy and tapping her head. While riding a unicycle. Across lava. There's a lot on our plates. So my admittedly pretty self-serving theory is that baby brain only brings us down to the level of other people.

"That's fairly obnoxious." Himself is not on board with my theory. "Also, didn't you just accidentally tell someone your name was Terry last week?" I did. It slipped out when I was introducing myself because I was thinking about someone called Terry. Himself was still talking: "That's not you coming down to our 'level' that's baby brain, Sophie. Or should I say Terry?"

The awful thing about the Terry incident was trying to reverse out of it. I was chatting to a woman I semi-knew to see from around the school gates (remember those?). I went to introduce myself, thinking maybe I could take this relationship beyond the school gates and into perhaps a distant coffee.

"I'm Terry, by the way." She smiled, until: "Sorry," I blurted. Smile froze. "Wait. No I'm not. I'm not Terry." The smile slid from her face to be replaced by a look of nervous bewilderment. Then I heard myself say: "Don't worry, I have a very small baby." And she smiled and nodded, completely reassured. Just the words "small baby" gave perfect context to my slightly bizarre behaviour.

Maybe I need to give my position on baby brain a rethink - if I can manage it? It's certainly a handy cover for any and all missteps. It covers a multitude, everything from forgetting a neighbour's name to leaving the car keys in the fridge, and occasionally leads to ingenuity such as this salad.

Baby brain saw me stick a watermelon under the pram and forget, only to come across it days later and give it a new life in this fresh, fruity salad.

Watermelon Feta Salad with lime & Chilli dressing

Serves 2-4

You will need:

200g watermelon

100g cucumber, de-seeded and chopped

60g Feta, crumbled

40g whole blanched almonds, chopped

Juice of 1 lime

2 teaspoons honey

Generous pinch of chilli flakes

5 large mint leaves

10 leaves fresh coriander


1 Cut the watermelon into bite-sized chunks and place in a bowl along with the chopped cucumber, Feta and almonds.

2 Combine the lime juice, honey and chilli flakes in a separate bowl. Finely chop the mint and coriander and stir into the lime dressing.

3 Add the lime dressing to the watermelon, cucumber and Feta, and toss together. Serve as a side to some nice grilled meat.

Sunday Indo Life Magazine