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A Year of Firsts. First birthday: celebrating the first year of motherhood.

From that first pregnancy test, to the first scan, and the first time you hear that reassuring heartbeat, firsts are what makes the parenthood journey such an exciting one. Nothing quite beats the moment you first hold your newborn in your arms, feel their skin against yours and reach out to touch their little squashed faces, almost not believing that you created this tiny miracle; that they are actually here.

Then it’s the first feed (however you decide to do this), that first nappy change (that can be your job Dad), the first bath when, terrified of drowning them, you tentatively set about washing their teensy little bodies. We wont go into all the other post labour or c-section recovery ‘firsts’ here as not all the firsts are as enjoyable as the others!

The first car ride home from the hospital when you have never been so aware of the perils of the road and other people’s driving and the first moments at home including their first sleep in their new bassinet or cot. Are they still breathing? Yes, you probably should check again for the hundredth time! The firsts just keep on coming. Then that first time they get a fever and you have to give them panadol for the first time. It feels so wrong polluting their tiny little bodies in such a way and you tentatively check that the syringe is at the correct dose at least ten times before giving it to them. Fast forward 6 months and you are dosing out panadol with a hose for even a hint of a cold, but we aren’t there yet, we are still on that first time, where you have to have your partner also check the syringe dose for the eleventh time, just in case. Then the first tooth – how exciting! They have a tooth! A few teeth in you realise that they aren’t so much to be celebrated, more dreaded, but allow yourself the excitement over that first one!

Then there is that first time that they are really, really sick and the air gets trapped in your lungs and you realise that, without question, you would give your whole soul away willingly if they would just be ok and feel well again soon. When whatever medical staff are around you are your saviours and you genuinely can’t thank them enough, and you realise how lucky you are to live in a country with great hospitals.

The firsts keep rolling on in and there’s the first smile (was it wind? No definitely a smile) and the first babbles (why is the “dad” babble always first?!) which progress into that cherished first word. Then the first crawl and first unsteady steps… who knew that the every movement of such a tiny little uncoordinated person could bring you such unadulterated joy! Suddenly you realise that you’ve become one of those Mums whose phone is full of hundreds of photos and videos of your little one’s firsts (which actually happen every single day) and more surprisingly, you realise that you don’t mind this change one bit!

There’s the funny firsts, or perhaps the funny now on reflection firsts. Like the time they ate the dog food or poonamied at your baby sensory class. And of course the scary firsts, the first time your drop them or smash their head off the wall or the car trying to wrangle them into their seat, or that first fall off the couch. It happens to us all. Those firsts keep coming.

Suddenly you realise that they are nearly one. That big ‘first’ the actual first birthday is approaching. Mixed in with excitement is a little feeling of… sadness. You realise that all those milestones you were so keen to tick off are no longer firsts, that your little baby is now moving into toddlerhood. You swipe back through your phone, pouring over photos of them as a newborn and feel an unknown combination of powerful emotions. Your little one is growing up. And that is ok. The firsts don’t stop when they hit one! There are every bit as exciting firsts waiting around the corner. So relax.

Take the time to celebrate that first birthday. Get the cute outfit, eat the cake, throw the party, take the photos and celebrate in style. You have both made it through all the ‘firsts’ (good and bad) of that first year and now it’s time to mark that occasion. Celebrate all that has been this year and all that is to come. Who knows the journey that you have been on to get to this point. Perhaps all of your firsts this year have been all the more special because of some losses or firsts cut short in the past. Perhaps you have all the more reason to celebrate this occasion. Enjoy the day and celebrate with reckless abandon. This is your last ‘first’ of that first year so mark it with a bang!

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