Our daughter will turn one this month, so I’m going through the inevitable nostalgic phase ahead of her first birthday, looking back on this time last year with rose tinted glasses firmly in place.
Pregnancy was so great!
Recovering from the birth didn’t hurt that much, did it?
Weren’t those first few days with a new baby just magical!
I relive the moment she was born everyday. I wrote about it soon afterwards to help make sure I wouldn’t forget it, but really there was no danger of that.
When we’re having a tough day or a tricky moment, I look at her face and I see the baby who was handed to me almost a year ago. I see the tiny person I’d kept warm all those months who’d finally come out to say hello. I see all our naivety about how challenging this job would be, and all our potential to get it right. Sometimes it feels like we’ve travelled so far from the start that it’s difficult to connect that baby girl with the one crawling around our house now, determined to gnaw on everything in sight. But they’re both my girl.
I feel guilty for feeling nostalgic, like I’m saying that I preferred her at the beginning to how she is now. But I understand from other mothers that EVERYBODY feels this way. Everybody misses the start, because we had it all to come. It doesn’t mean we’re not enjoying this moment too – I am, she’s so much fun – we’re just doing it whilst also stunned by how quickly time passes by.
I’ve been asking myself whether motherhood is what I thought it would be, and the answer is: of course not. When I imagined having a baby, I imagined cuddling them on the sofa and sitting reading them a story in their bedroom. That was about it. But there’s a bit more to it than that. Parenthood is the steepest learning curve I’ve ever climbed but I wouldn’t change a thing. It feels good to have finally grown up.
I have more to say about this first year – I’ve been writing another blog in my head for days – but I needed to talk about this first and then move on. To acknowledge the weight of nostalgia on my mind as we approach this milestone, and to give myself permission to feel it. I really can’t be bothered to add ‘Spent too much time thinking about how wonderful it was when she was born, and crying over newborn photos’ to the list of stuff I feel guilty about, so I’m simply not going to do it.
Nostalgia only comes along when something in our lives has been so good that we want to go back and do it all again, so I’m grateful to have such an incredible reason to feel it. If a year this emotional, challenging, joyful and life-changing doesn’t justify celebrating with a piece of cake, a party hat and a look back through the photo album, I don’t know what does.