It's Your 1st Birthday & I'll Cry If I Want To
This week marked a major landmark in a parent and child’s life - the first birthday. My baby girl turned 1. I planned meticulously - the presents were wrapped, the balloons blown, and even her big brother had a little something to open (A little nod to my wonderful Mummy who used to do this for each of my siblings and I on a birthday so we felt included in the excitement of the present opening). This is the second time I am experiencing a baby turning 1 and each time has brought with it the same confused emotions. On the one hand so much joy with reaching the milestone - having survived the sleepless nights, the endless nappies, the never-ending crying bouts (both baby and myself), the mind-blowing experience of watching a totally dependent newborn develop into an independent moving, eating, communicating being - you get to celebrate the year and all it’s memorable moments. It is a wonderfully emotional, incredible, joyful and love filled day.
However, I can’t help but feel sadness that the first year has passed so very quickly and my teeny tiny newborn is growing at a rapid rate before my eyes. You remember the birth and early days like they were yesterday and begin to miss the newborn smell and snuggly snuggles that come with those first few weeks of meeting and holding your baby. I vowed to try and enjoy the baby stage more with my 2nd child, telling myself they all sleep eventually, they don’t always feed forever off you or take hours on the bottle, every stage is a phase. I knew with my son how fast it all went, but when you are in the midsts of the sleep deprivation and cluster bouts of feeding this all goes out the window and you can’t help but wish the time away a little, but then have such regret for it going by so fast. I genuinely cannot believe tomorrow my little girl is 1 - I feel like I have blinked and gone from her arriving in this world like the speed of lightning to today. And what a year in between that blink and today it has been.
I wish I could sit here now and say that the year was all sunshine and happiness (as much as my Instagram account may paint this picture). But I think it is important to say that it wasn’t. It was tougher than anything I have experienced in my life. My daughter had terrible reflux, intolerances and suffered awfully with pain and discomfort for the first few months of her life. In turn I felt like a failure, struggling to know how to help her at times, whilst also feeling like I was neglecting my first born much of the time. A friend who recently had a 2nd child mentioned how sad she feels about not being able to put her 1st child to bed and it opened a floodgate of memories of those early months when I too couldn’t put my little boy to bed. My baby girl was a cluster feeder at that time of night and it was impossible to get away for more than a few minutes at a time. It felt like I would never get to grips, but slowly it all did become more manageable and now I can put my son to bed every evening whilst my daughter sleeps soundly. You see - it really is all phases, so if you are in the midst of a challenging one remind yourself 'this too shall pass'.
In the first few months of my daughter's life, I was sleep deprived more than I thought humanly possible to be. Months on end of broken sleep had worn me down. My back was all kinds of messed up from having to swing my daughter in what can only be described now in hindsight as the most mental way for her to go to sleep. For a long time, I felt a shadow of my former self and was unsure of how to find my way back and rediscover that important balance of being a mummy and being me.
It goes without saying that my kids are my life - they are my everything and have made my world fuller and more fulfilled than anything I have experienced prior to them. They fill me with pride daily and make me feel like I've achieved the greatest of achievements in the universe because I get to be the lucky lady that they call Mummy. I am besotted with them and forever grateful for the healing they have provided to my whole being after losing my own Mummy. But for 31 years I was just little old me, not defined by my children, or how I parent. I had passions and hopes and dreams aside from wishing for a family - and I think it is so important to reclaim a bit of this old me alongside the new Mummy version of me. Finally feeling a bit more myself I can see this on the horizon. My brain isn’t as mushy (although baby brain is a real thing and should be taken A LOT more seriously!), my daughter is so much easier and I'm finding I can leave her with people a lot more now freeing up my time, and I’ve even started fake tanning again (a major milestone for those that know me personally)! I think the fact I am feeling more myself is adding to the emotions of this year coming to an end, as it has seen me as a person change, grow, develop and learn from all it has thrown at me. I feel like I am stronger because of it and I am excited by what this second year as a mummy of two has in store. I plan to make every second count as I know that the days may be long but the years are far far too short.
Happy 1st Birthday to my darling daughter. Thank-you for showing me what true strength, bravery, and courage look like and for making me smile daily, whether you are roaring like a dinosaur.....
......or using anything you can find as a phone, including garlic bread - you have me in fits of laughter. You are adored and always will be.
P.S if you are planning a birthday party for your special little ones, we now also make specially curated Party Packs filled with well thought out, age appropriate, quality items!
Have a lovely week x