As a first time mother, I was counting down the days to my daughter’s first birthday. It was an emotional time for me. I went down memory lane of everything, reliving the moments leading up to the day. But, for some reason, I didn’t want the day to come. Was this part of motherhood?
As cliché as it sounds, time really flies by. I couldn’t believe I would have a one-year-old when it just seems like yesterday I was trusted by hospital staff to take her home. I couldn’t figure out why her birthday was so emotional for me. Was it because it was a year of trials and tribulations? Because I survived challenges that were meant to break me? Or because it was just another milestone my little girl was about to hit?
It wasn’t until I opened a package from my friend who sent a gift for Isla which included a note that really struck me. She wrote wishes for Isla but also a note to me that said, “You did a good job.” It was then I figured out why her birthday was so emotional for me. It was my birthday too, the day I became a mother. My birth into motherhood.
I didn’t have quite the entrance like my daughter into the world; however, I’d like to think any mother’s entrance into motherhood is overlooked. The focus is usually on the baby, how he/she came into the world, and how much he/she weighed. No one ever asks the mother how she felt during the fact. How laboring it was and how difficult it was to recover. Yet, our new journey into this overwhelming yet rewarding life is never celebrated because it’s upstaged by our firstborn’s first birthday. But as mothers, we focus all our love and attention on them and our self-care comes second, maybe even last.
I reflected back on her birthday, rather…my birthday into motherhood. How afraid I was. How anxious even scared I was for the unknown. Giving her life and leaving me breathless. It wasn’t glamorous at all, but the joy and love she brought me was everything I ever needed to feel complete in a time of complete disarray. It was her birth into life and mine into motherhood.
Realizing this puts more meaning into her birthday. It may not be celebrated, but in my heart, I will blow out my own candles as well. But it’s also a lesson to reach out to other mamas on their children’s birthdays to just say “you did good.” Just to let them know that you acknowledge their story. As mothers, we tend to disappear into the background, but it doesn’t take much to reach out to another mom and say “I see you, I acknowledge you, and I’m here for you.”
So here’s to you mama, you did good.