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Take a deep breath, mama, and pat yourself on the back. You’ve officially made it through your first year of motherhood! That’s 365 days, 8760 hours, hundreds hours of feedings, and thousands (thousands!) of diaper changes.
Your year also, no doubt, included a few tears, some stressful moments with your husband, and a few panicked phone calls to your best friend to ask “what on earth have I gotten myself into?” In short, it’s been a year of hard work. However, we hope it’s also been a year of joy, happy surprises, and sweet snuggles as you’ve gotten to know the newest member of your family, refined your talents as a mother, and settled into your life as a mom.
So as you round the bend of your first year, take a moment to celebrate these 10 milestones that we hope have been sprinkled throughout the past 12 months:
1. Your body has likely returned to some semblance of its post-pregnancy shape. Those first few months were brutal and no one can prepare you for the night sweats, bleeding, and soreness that follow your little one’s arrival into the world. However, with a year under your belt, you’re likely feeling much closer to your old self than you did at this time last year. Celebrate your strength and fitness as they return!
2. Your days are probably more predictable than they were in the early months of motherhood. Remember when you couldn’t leave the house, due to eating and sleeping schedules? Those days are likely behind you now and you’re able to get away for at least some alone time, even if it means a trip to the dentist. Celebrate the onset of some predictability in your days!
3. You’re likely sleeping through the night. Some things are hard to appreciate until they’re gone – with a full night’s sleep topping the list! As your little one turns one, naps and nighttime sleeping should be more consistent and you may be enjoying some uninterrupted slumber. Celebrate the truth behind the saying “this, too, shall pass!”
4. You have a new friend in your little one. While newborn snuggles are one of life’s greatest pleasures, watching your child’s personality unfold is a special privilege. You’re probably learning what makes her laugh, what makes him afraid, where she likes to be tickled, and what his favorite animal is. As your little one reveals what makes him tick, celebrate the chance to watch him or her discover the world and enjoy the ride!
5. You’re not alone. The early days of motherhood can be isolating. Hopefully you now have a circle of mom friends who can provide comfort, encouragement, and companionship as you journey through motherhood together. Celebrate the moments when you were brave enough to introduce yourself to the new mom at Starbucks, on the playground, or in your neighborhood!
6. Your husband has found his groove. Dads can be all thumbs when it comes to changing diapers and fitting tiny bodies into tiny onesies. When kids turn one, however, they’re at the prime age for playing with daddy and dads have usually grown more comfortable with the tiny person they’re expected to care for. Celebrate your husband’s growth as a father and the ways – big and small – in which he cares for your children
7. You’re seeing the world anew. Life is busy and so often we do not see the wonder that is all around us. As your little one becomes mobile and wants to walk oh-so-slowly down the street, examining every rock and crevice, join her in seeing the world for the first time. Celebrate the opportunity to see your surroundings with fresh eyes and through the lens of an innocent child.
8. You’re now an expert. Remember when you hardly knew anything about babies? You didn’t know which diapers to buy, how to get her to sleep, which grocery store had the cleanest shopping carts, how to introduce solids, and on and on. Now you DO. Celebrate all you have learned in the past year about baby products, infant development, your child’s health, and managing life with a child.
9. You’ve survived so many “firsts”. The first year brings so many new things – first bottle, first tooth, first immunizations, first experience with daylight savings, and perhaps even the first plane ride. These moments can be scary and overwhelming but you did it! Celebrate how you rolled with the punches and made it through these new experiences.
10. You made it. Most importantly, celebrate the fact that you’re here, at the end of your first year. Your little one is likely thriving, all thanks to your good work. Know that you are a good mom who is investing a tremendous amount in her child’s social, physical, and emotional development. Know that, despite the bumps along the way, you are doing it – you are navigating this new world with your little one beside you. Know that, even though there are hard days along the way, you are raising a person and there is no more important work in this world. Hats off to you, Mom, and congratulations on a job well done!
Photo Credits: Jenika Burden Photography