Motherhood Insight with Emily Mackley

By Angela Potter

Emily is a mom to a wonderful son.  She spent some time working in the film industry before having her baby and now she has her own line of beautiful handbags and accessories.  


Where do you call home?

Los Angeles is home now but we are moving our family to the Seattle area next year. On to the next adventure!


How many kids do you have?

I have one little boy who is 13 months old.


What was one of the hardest changes for you physically during your postpartum journey?

I think the hardest physical change was breastfeeding. So many things changed during and after pregnancy, but for me the breasts were the most dramatic. My breasts felt so foreign to me. They were huge and uncomfortable to sleep with and they leaked all the time.

Aside from those changes, I loved breastfeeding my son and had a difficult time giving it up when the time came. It was an intense job, and was a little overwhelming at times but very rewarding. I didn’t realize you could spend 5 or 6 hours a day feeding! It left time for little else in the early months!


What was one of the hardest changes for you mentally/emotionally during your postpartum journey?

Mentally the most difficult thing postpartum has been dealing with the intensity of the connection I have to my new son.  What I realize, is that it's a form of postpartum anxiety.  Not that I would be afraid to take him out of the house, but I did fixate on all the awful things that could happen.  I had to be very careful about the movies and news stories I saw.


At first the love seemed so big that I might be crushed by it.  The responsibility of caring for this new life was immense. It has been fascinating to experience this biological and emotional shift into motherhood, but sometimes it has been difficult to not get lost in it.


When they say life will never be the same, it is profoundly true, and not just in how much sleep you get and all the new chores you do, but in the way that you see yourself and the things that have meaning in the world.



What has been your greatest joy in motherhood?

My greatest joy has been to watch my son grow and reach new milestones. I still remember the first time I felt his little fingers clutch my shoulder when I was carrying him.

I remember how magical it was to hear him laugh for the first time, and recently I’ve seen him take his first steps. As much as I would like him to stay little forever, I feel so proud to watch him learning and growing.


What is one resource that felt invaluable to you during the postpartum time?

There are several resources I found invaluable from the time my son was born. One was the lactation consultant we had in the hospital who really helped us get on the right track after my son lost too much weight in the first couple days.

Another was friends and family who had valuable advice when we needed it. 

My biggest resource was my husband. We were both able to be home in the first couple of months, and he was up with me for every feeding, propping me up with pillows and making me snacks in the middle of the night. He also cooked all our meals and did the household chores while I recovered from my surgery and focused on feeding our son.  I am so grateful to have such dedication and support in a partner.


What is one piece of advice you would like to give to pregnant moms in preparation for their postpartum journey?

My advice to expecting moms is try to be surrounded by people who will give you real help and nurturing. Try not to do too much and be patient with yourself and your body. And especially for moms who want to breastfeed, find a good lactation consultant if possible. Above all, savor every moment and take tons of pictures because it really does go by too fast!


About Emily

I came to LA in 1998 a few years after finishing art school to work in the film and television industry as a camera technician which I did for the better part of two decades. By the time I met my husband I was already thinking of leaving the industry for a more regular schedule. Though I was 41 when we met and had thought having children was no longer in the cards for me, we decided to try. After a difficult year I conceived my son at 43.

I retired from camera work and started designing my own line of handbags and accessories as a way to stay connected to my creative roots and be able to work from home while being a stay at home mom.