Reflections after (almost) one year of being a mom:

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 ❤️.

Pictures from Rachael D Photography

15 thoughts on “Reflections after (almost) one year of being a mom:

  1. Wow, I am actually feeling tears of joy roll down my cheek as I read this lovely, beautiful blog. Honestly this may be the best blog you have ever written, thank you for this. I so admire you as a mother and I mean it when I say you are truly an amazing mom to Quinn. I too never felt I lost my identity as a mom but my identity kept growing in a most magnificent way through all three of my children as they grew up into the phenomenal young adults they all are today. God has given you and DJ the treasured and precious positions in life to parent Quinn and you are both doing this with love and God’s wisdom being tremendous parents to her. Quinn is flourishing and in part due to your loving parenting to her. As Mother’s Day approaches I wish all new moms could read this honest review of mothering in the first year. Much love to all three of you, and Moose! 🙂 Love, Gigi

    1. This comment means more than you know ❤️❤️ Especially coming from one of the best moms ever AND one I’ve been lucky enough to call my own! Thank you for always being a great role model for me, and listening to my rambles for hours on end. Love you and so thankful for you!

  2. Mackenzie, I have chills!!!!! I have a note on my phone where I have “dumped” only a fraction of my thoughts and reflection as well. I find myself always nodding along to your posts because we share SO many of the same sentiments. I am by no means perfect when it comes to body image, and I do wish I had handled myself better at times. That said, I am now in a good place. But even a few weeks ago I just felt crummy and questioned my body/self, but now that has resolved. I reached my “pre-pregnancy” weight rather quickly too, but I also love that I am not the same person. I grew, birthed, and have nursed our precious girl, so why society wants women to have no evidence of that is beyond me! I have my beautiful C-section scar and a permanent “outie” belly button – both of which don’t bother me.

    I am a sappy, emotional person, but even still, the only tears I’ve really shed have been around pumping. I only have three weeks until I wean, and I am excited! But I feel very strange at the thought of our journey slowly coming to a close. As far as the aforementioned body image, something that isn’t really discussed a ton is the change in one’s chest. I accept my nursing chest has been on loan, ha!, and I know they will reduce in size. It sounds so petty and silly to say I do dread that a tiny bit, but it’s not a big deal in the grand scheme of life at all.

    You definitely better use that “I omitted dairy and soy for you” card for sure, haha! But in all seriousness, that is an unreal sacrifice that you ought to be so proud of. You were determined and committed!

    I haven’t ever understood the “losing yourself in motherhood” either because I feel that I was born again as a mom on April 27th. I am celebrating one year right along with Ansley, and I have never been more sure of myself or felt truly whole until she came into our lives. I can understood in the teen years feeling some of this as she gets ready to embark on her own, but even then, I think I will feel very similarly. Our girls make this world a brighter, richer place.

    Motherhood = BOTH AND. It can be both unbelievably beautiful and messy, exciting and nerve-wracking, fun and hard, certain and unsure. There are so many instances where two emotions co-exist.

    Thank you for sharing all of this with us! I have the utmost respect for you always. <3

    1. Aw Kori!!! I don’t even know where to begin.. your comment means so much to me. I’m really grateful you resonate with this!

      On the body image topic- I’m really happy to hear you’re in a good place ❤️ you are stunning always, and that C section scar and outie are truly beautiful because they represent bringing Ans, your greatest treasure, into this world!! Also- c sections are no small feat, it’s a MAJOR surgery.. One of the many beautiful sacrifices you’ve made for Ansley!!! I think you’re incredible.

      With pumping and the changes coming- do you feel a general huge sense of change as her one year birthday approaches? I’ve been so extra emotional and sappy lately- and reflective…. I see how Quinn is changing SO fast right now, and it’s like I can’t hang on tight enough to time!

      Also the 🍈 🍈 situation… so true 😅… I also have just resigned to the fact that things will forever be different.

      I LOVE that- born again on April 27th ❤️❤️. I so share in that sentiment with Quinn, and that’s a perfect way to put it!

      Both And- so true. I love this. Your comment could be a blog post because it has such profound truths in it!! I hope others read your comment. Thank you thank you for sharing with me your thoughts and taking the time to read!

      1. Thank you so incredibly much!! I truly appreciate this and you. I feel very proud of my body’s ability to grow and birth Ansley. I honestly am excited to one day show her my scar and explain how she came into this world. I hope my comment could and does help some women! Motherhood is different for everyone, but it’s such an honor.

  3. I’ve never been a mother, but it is clear that you shone during your pregnancy and relished that role as well as nurturing Quinn every step of the way.

  4. This was such a beautiful read and such a treasure for your baby girl to read one day. Being a mom really is THE most beautiful treasure there is. 🙂

    1. Thank you tons, Nicole!!! I never thought about how Quinn could read this some day, but I love that ❤️. So agree – being a mom is the BEST

  5. ALL OF THIS was a spectacular read coming straight from your mama heart. This post is incredible in so many ways and on so many levels. You are an incredible Mother and the love you have for Quinn is so very apparent. So happy for all of you! XO

  6. I can relate to a lot of the points you’ve made here. I find myself constantly reflecting year after year about what motherhood has meant to me and how it has helped me grow emotionally/mentally. It’s a journey of constantly evolving, it feels like. Even through the tough times, I am grateful for it all. 🙂 All the best Mackenzie! <3

    1. Aww thank you, Rossy!! You are so right- always always evolving, minute by minute it feels sometimes!! Thanks for reading ❤️ motherhood is such a wonderful adventure

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