A letter to a mama on her baby’s first birthday

Dear Mama,

You did it! You survived your first year and your baby is growing just like everyone said he would, too fast. You probably have a lot of big feelings today, and that’s okay.

You’ve probably spent some time over the last few weeks looking through the 10,000 pictures in your camera roll, dating all the way back to a year ago. It’s amazing, isn’t it? How fast they grow? How much they change? How time stands still yet flies through your fingertips at the same time? The beginning was such a blur. There was self-doubt and maybe some tears. Okay, there were a lot of tears. But as you scrolled through the photos, maybe you noticed it wasn’t just the baby growing and changing as the weeks ticked by, but you were too.

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A year ago, the 12-month sized baby clothes hanging in the nursery probably seemed outrageously big, and your pre-baby jeans seemed outrageously small. But now that tiny baby fills out those 12mo sized pajamas with little room to spare. Your jeans may still be small, but that’s okay. Really mama, it is.

Maybe you feel like you just barely survived the last 12 months. Maybe you’re finally getting your postpartum depression under control. Or maybe you’re still working through some trauma from your birth story or the early weeks. Maybe, you, Mama, are still a work in progress. We all are, aren’t we?

You look at your baby now, almost a toddler. That alone is enough to make you weep. A TODDLER? How did that happen? Maybe they’re crawling, walking or a combo of both. You wonder how they used to need you to feed them every 3 hours around the clock. There were feedings and burpings and spitup and blowouts. Round and round you went on the foggy new mom carousel, wondering if you’d ever see the day that tiny baby could hold their own bottle, or feed themselves dinner and not need you at 12, 3 and 6am. But here you are, your baby is now a lot more self-sufficient and you inhale them when they cuddle up and need you. Because truth is, they just don’t need you as much as they did a year ago. They’re always on the move, exploring, learning… Not just laying on your chest as you lay pinned on the sofa. They’re doing everything they’re supposed to do, and everything you taught them.BLUR1

The work you have done this year may seem small. It may seem like you barely got anything done at all, it may seem like a blur. But no mama, some of the most important work of your life happened this year. You learned things no book could teach and trusted instincts you didn’t know you had. Mama, you’ve never worked harder.

You may have stayed up too late planning the perfect first birthday party for your little one, scouring the internet for all the adorable party hats and decor to perfectly fit your theme. Maybe you even went a little overboard. Who cares. Your baby’s first birthday is reason to celebrate, so celebrate it how you wish.

But on your baby’s birthday, with all the balloons and big feelings, all the strolls down memory lane and birthday cake, don’t forget to celebrate you too. Mama, what you have done in this past 365 days is worthy of it’s own smash cake, and maybe even some champagne.

So, Mama, cheers to you.

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