Our Editor in Chic shares a letter to her daughter as she reflects on her first birthday, and the second “birth” she wasn’t expecting.
One year. Tomorrow marks one year since your beautiful, happy, bright light entered this world.
I remember this day last year. It was filled with so much worry and so many unknowns. Would you be healthy? Would I be a good mom? Would I be able to balance everything ok?
You were fashionably late, so we enjoyed the convenience of a scheduled induction, which was nice (thanks!). The family didn’t have to rush into town. They got there the night before, we had a nice dinner together, and then got up super early to head to the hospital.
Although that part wasn’t stressful and I had our family surrounding me, I was absolutely terrified of labor. Especially when being induced — it wasn’t my body’s natural timing to have you, science was getting involved. Was that ok?
Oh, and the labor pains you always hear about. “The worst pain you’ll ever feel.” Would I be ok?
I just kept thinking, get through the birth and things will get back to normal. At least, that’s what I thought.
But eventually, after your daddy and I headed home with you from the hospital, and our family all went their separate ways, there we were. Alone. Brand new parents. Brand new baby. Brand new life. Brand new normal.
Everything all the sudden seemed new, different, and foreign. I was re-learning my life, my work-from-home-mom schedule, my breast-feeding body, my everything as I knew it.
From that point forward, you became my number one priority. This was very different for someone who quite frequently put myself first. I remember feeling guilty the first time I took a long shower. The first time I exercised. The first day I went back to work. It was like I was borrowing myself from you.
Over the past year, I’ve watched you become more independent. With every step, sippy cup, and word-like sound — you need me a little less and you’re becoming your own little person. Yes, your increasing independence means I need to “borrow” myself from you a little less each day. But now, it feels less like borrowing and more like I’m becoming someone new.
I think back to the person I was 365 days ago, and it’s a very different person from who I am today. Because I didn’t just give birth to you. Over the past year, I also gave birth to the new me: the mother. I learned how to push out that selfishness to make way for great sacrifice. Great love. A love deeper and more whole than I’ve ever known.
So, when we blow out the candles at your first birthday party this weekend, and you dive into your cake face first, I’ll also celebrate the mom I became a year ago. Because I’m raising her, just as I am raising you.
It’s not perfect. There is no manual. We’re both still a little wobbly. We’ve each taken a few tumbles. But even so, I’m proud that we always get back up and keep taking more steps toward the exciting new people we’re becoming.
Happy birthday, baby girl. (You too, mom)