“The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.”

Why do babies get to have all the birthday fun?

We’ve started to think that a baby’s first birthday should be occasion to celebrate a different type of birth that happened that day: the creation of a mother. Yes, baby’s first trip around the sun is absolutely a cause for celebration—so bring on the smash cake. ?

But allow us, too, on our 1 year birthday here at Motherly ?, to mark the incredible journey that women go through in their very first year of motherhood.

The sacrifice of labor. The cramping, contracting, pushing. The incomparable, heroic struggle to bring a baby into the world.

The victory of birth. The sweetness of that first kiss. The chubby little cheeks.

The wacky first newborn poops. Woah baby.

The engorged breasts. The fumbling breastfeeds. The postpartum recovery.

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The diapers—for baby and for mom. So many diapers.

The feeling of—oh my goodness, what did I get myself into?

The night sweats. Ohhh the night sweats.

The midnight feeds. The 3 am feeds. The 5 am feeds. The 7 am feeds. The why does this tiny human eat so much feeds.

The sense that there is not enough coffee in the world to save you from the depths of this exhaustion.

The proud first family outing: Here we come, world!

The realization that nothing will ever be the same.

The thought that having another child seems overwhelmingly impossible.

The shock at the cost of childcare.

The first attempt at intimacy. The fear of pain. The taste, again, of physical pleasure. (You’ve still got it, mama.)

The first day back to your new reality at work—whether now staying-at-home or back to the office.

The moment when you try to put on your pre-pregnancy pants. The moment when you curse those pants and put them in the back of your closet.

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The day you painstakingly style those luscious postpartum locks. The day your hair starts falling out.

The day your baby laughs out loud at you for the first time. The day you laugh back and pee yourself a little bit.

The time you confidently give advice to a pregnant or new mom with less experience then you.

The feeling that you’re kind of an amazing woman and mother.

The coming to terms with the shape and texture of your new postpartum body.

The sense of being willing to pay a babysitter any price for a few hours by yourself alone.

The rethinking of your identity at work, in love and at home.

The first big fight about roles and parenting and why can’t you just do a single load of laundry without me asking???

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The thought that having another child might be doable—some day.

The hell of teething and stomach viruses and sleep regressions.

The soft snuggle of a sniffly infant.

The first big outing with girlfriends—only to spend the whole trip texting to make sure baby is okay.

The thought that you are a crockpotting, babywearing, child-whispering cross between Martha Stewart and Beyoncé.

The thought that your house will never be clean again.

The grateful notion that someday your clingy baby will be more independent.

The heartbreaking realization that your baby won’t always need you in the same way.

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The pride of seeing your partner rock at parenting. You chose well, mama.

The scheming and planning for a 1st birthday celebration worthy of the journey you’ve both been through.

The confidence of looking back at your magical, beautiful, transformative first year.

Happy birthday little one. And happy birthday to you, too, mama.

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