Hey hey!! I have been chipping away at this post for the past year, and even then, I realize if I try to sum up all my first year mom thoughts, we’d be here all day- so I’ll just share a few! Warning: this is total stream of consciousness and is about to be all over the place!
Overall: I have never felt more sure and secure in a purpose in my life. I LOVE being Quinn’s mom. It’s also an emotional rollercoaster- it’s a real trip how many conflicting emotions can exist so strongly at once- joy, unimaginable love, guilt, fear, bliss, concern, self-doubt, gratitude, exhaustion- the list goes on!!
Body image: So this topic is an interesting one. I think “bounce back” culture is absolutely ridiculous (how is it even a thing?!), and I put zero pressure on myself to look a certain way or to be a certain weight after having Quinn. Weight is actually quite arbitrary for me personally too- I don’t think I’ve talked about this, but to even have a chance at pregnancy, I had to gain about 15/20 lbs. So while getting back to “pre-pregnancy” weight happened pretty quickly and naturally for me, my pre-pregnancy weight was higher than my usual weight for a long time prior to that. I wasn’t my healthiest at that prior weight, so I have no desire to go back to it. I’m just really grateful to my body for carrying and growing my girl, birthing her and then sustaining her post birth. I just want to focus on being my healthiest for Quinn (which for me does not equate to my thinnest), so I can be energized, strong and a good role model for her.
Body recovery: I learned recovery extends far beyond that 6 week checkup mark!
Identity: I have heard people say they lose their identity often as a mom. I definitely can see how people can say that with the total redirection of energy and focus on another human in a way you’ve never experienced. However, I personally want to shift that common narrative to seeing it as my identity has been expanded, enriched. Being Quinn’s mom, as you are likely well aware, is a massive part of my identity. And while the attention I once gave elsewhere may be shortened, I still have tried to foster those other parts of myself. Going into year #2, I think those slivers of time devoted to hobbies, friendships, exercise, time with DJ etc. will change too as Quinn’s needs change. The part of my identity that I want to nourish and foster most is my faith. I haven’t prioritized spending time in prayer, reading the Bible or attending Church like I used to. That is definitely going to be a big priority for our family entering into this next year!
Sleep: I didn’t realize how babies are all different in terms of sleep! I felt initially like a failure given Quinn wasn’t a traditionally “good sleeper”, but I’ve learned the idea of this aspirational perfect sleeping baby is more of a societal (and somewhat unnatural) expectation, and is many times pure luck (especially early on). Plus she had reflux pretty bad which I think was the root of her sleep issues for a bit. Anyway, I now know the fact that she doesn’t sleep through the night is totally ok, and she will get there when it’s right for her. I’m here for those cuddles and night feeds as long as she needs. While writing this, I’m oddly getting some great sleep even with the wake-ups because I often go to sleep not long after she does (I’m usually asleep by 9 pm and up at 6 am). In the beginning though, I realized how important sleep was when I was screening borderline for postpartum depression going on pretty much 1-2 hours until we made some changes to our sleep situation that I believe saved me/us.
Breastfeeding: I joke that in the miracle that is pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding, my one gripe about it all is I have never been hungrier and never have had less time to eat 😅. Forget pregnancy, this breastfeeding hunger is UNREAL. Overall, I’m grateful to have had a great experience breastfeeding, as I know everyone’s journey with that can be luck of the draw too with so many factors at play. And even though I have had a smooth ride overall, I have still shed tears while fighting with a pump that wouldn’t work and when we’ve had to dump/accidentally spilled milk (countless times) for one reason or another. Whoever said “don’t cry over spilled milk” surely never breastfed! Giving up dairy and soy has been pretty tough due to Quinn’s intolerances (although we live in a time of excellent substitutions). I’d do it all over again for her, but I cannot wait to order a greasy, cheesy pizza again. DJ and I joke if she gives me attitude, I can pull the “I gave up cheese for you!” card. I say we joke, but I 100% know I will use that at some point 😄.
Mom guilt is really really intense. I’ve never experienced anything like it. It’s been a challenging but important journey in learning how to be gracious with myself as a mom and as a person. I’ve also experienced tons of consistent guilt over not being able to give Moose the same attention I did prior to Quinn being born. I’m still working on finding that balance.
I thought I was going to be a type A mom- with a strict schedule and such? I am definitely not as much as I expected, only about certain things. There’s not really any set schedule here right now; I just follow her cues as the day goes.
As much of a homebody I am, it’s so important for both me and Quinn to get out of the house to elevate our moods! Mainly getting outside at least once a day for a walk has made a huge difference.
I’m convinced we have a black hole in our home that eats up all the Pacis. Where do they all go?!
I realize how easy it could be to compare milestones/ways of parenting, etc. I have learned to just be entirely focused on doing what is best for our family and tuning out the white noise. I listen to my maternal instinct more than I expected; it’s a powerful thing and sometimes “goes against the grain”, which I’ve made peace with, despite knowing others may judge my decisions.
Thank goodness for Google.
But also….Google is the WORST 🙃.
Trial and error is the name of the game!
Pretty much every cliche I have heard about parenting is true.
The whole mom brain thing is very real 🥴.
I’m terrified of anything ever happening to Quinn, but I know I can’t keep her in bubble wrap. I gotta give that one to God any time that general sense of worry sets in.
DJ and I started dating when we were 15/16 years old. Now venturing into this season of parenthood together, I’ve seen a whole new “why” behind God bringing us together as a couple. I am so grateful for the way he balances me out, calms me down and is my true support every single day. The way we have prioritized our relationship has shifted- it isn’t many date nights or spontaneous trips out of town right now. Yet I’ve grown so deeply in my respect and awe of him as a Dad and partner. He’s been the definition of supportive in every way. We’ve also faced new challenges in this season of parenthood. DJ is not a fighter, but I can be- so in my moments of low patience and exhaustion, I’m really working on not getting worked up, especially in front of Quinn. I want to maintain respectful conversation about frustrations without it coming out in my tone of voice or getting visibly angry- so this is something I’m working on.
This has been the richest, most beautiful, joyful year, despite the difficult moments. I’m doing my best to hold onto every second, but it’s true they do go by fast. I asked another mom recently-“Everyone says to enjoy every minute because it goes by fast, and I am trying to, but how do I actively make sure I’m treasuring it all?”. And she gave the best advice – she just said “just make a lot of memories”. I loved that, so simple, true and actionable. Being present & making memories is going to be central to how I approach Year #2 (and the rest of #1!).
As I’ve heard said before, my heart is now outside my chest, in the form of a soon-to-be walking, adventurous, curious, giggling, chunky legged, happy, teething machine- and I am so honored God chose me and DJ to be her parents ❤️.