E turning 1 had a bigger impact on me than I realized it would… It makes sense in hindsight, but I never realized that my baby’s birthday would become a milestone for me as well.
Before having E, every year end and on my birthday, I would think about what I had done that year. And whether or not I had accomplished as much as I believe I should have, I come to terms with the fact that another period of my life had passed. However, as an adult, unless significant changes occur like moving abroad and quitting my job while unknowingly being pregnant, I was never really in awe with how quickly the period had passed. It just seemed to make sense. So when E turned 1, I surprised myself by actually being shocked by the sudden passage of time. I could not believe that I had a toddler.
It totally makes sense to get sentimental with certain milestones that your children hopefully pass. And I am a very sentimental person so I knew I’d be affected by them. But for some reason, I didn’t really think I’d be impacted by E’s first birthday. I just thought I’d feel relieved that we had all made it successfully past her first year of life.
But instead, at her 10 month mark, the sentimental feelings around a child’s first birthday started peeking. Perhaps it was realizing that my infant was about to turn into a toddler (a rule created by ancient medical folk). Or maybe it was that I was still comprehending the fact that I have a child. But here now is this little girl, who went from not being able to do anything only a year ago, to running, talking, and being more social that I am as an adult.
It shocked me that this child had accomplished more than I had in the past year, and that the period of time when my baby could actually qualify as a baby was soon passing. In a good way, so were the potential horrors of having an infant, but I of course was only thinking about the initial quiet moments of her life that would never again return.
I am currently working on an entrepreneurship and it’s one of those things where if you don’t push yourself, no one else will. With that mindset, I resumed whatever I was working on just two months after E was born and all friends and family, even complete strangers would say to me is, “But you just had a baby. Shouldn’t you be focusing on her?”
I wasn’t working crazy hours, I was simply doing whatever I could whenever it made sense. But near E’s first birthday, I found myself reflecting on that and was thankful that I could be present during E’s infancy while working thanks to our nanny’s help.
E’s first birthday was certainly a massive milestone for her, but also for me. It was my first year embracing the new addition to my identity, motherhood. Even though I can’t say that I changed nearly as much as E did, I certainly grew mentally, and also physically because postpartum is no joke.
E ended up having five birthday parties globally thanks to our amazing friends and family. And each time it was a reminder that her birthday is and always will be just as much a milestone for me as it is for her.