Your baby's first birthday is supposed to be a special moment. The excitement of splashing out on presents and decorations. Having cake and a big number one balloon. Having family and friends round with music and party food.
I guess this is how it should be?
I dreaded this day. I laid awake most nights, weeks before, wishing it wouldn't happen. I wished we could skip a day. I felt guilty as it's her special day. People didn't understand that this was a terrifying day for me. Remembering, hour by hour what they did to me. Still trying to piece things together and fill in the gaps.
The flashbacks and the sick feeling in the pit of your stomach. The tight pains in your chest. No matter what you do, you remember that day. The day you wish didn't happen, as it ruined your life.
I remember not sleeping well that night and waking up exhausted. I woke up to my husband bringing me a cuppa in bed. He gave me this box and in it was a letter and a rose, some bath stuff and chocolate. He gave me a photo album with pictures of her as a baby. There were some in there of me and her too. He said in the letter:
'This day will be known not only as her birthday but our strong day, the day you proved how strong you are. This album will only have pictures of you and her in, so you can make memories of the two of you together as you have little memory of her as a baby'
Safe to say I spent the next hour crying.
The time came to get her dressed as our relatives were going to arrive soon. The balloons and decorations were out. The food on the table and the cake all ready to go.
People arrived and I put a smile on my face. Not one person asked how I was. I think people need to remember that as much as we want the day to be about our baby and celebrate them turning one, if you have experienced a traumatic birth it's an awful day as it's a constant yearly reminder of the day you nearly died. I managed to hold it together. It was like I was sat there smiling and my head was elsewhere. By the time they left I was so tired. I had a cry and felt like I wanted to be alone. I needed an hour to myself.
I remember saying to my husband, 'I did it, she had a good day' which is all I wanted.
I went upstairs and had a hot bath. After we stuck a film on and ate lots of cake.
It was a very hard day.
Remember to give yourself time, take a breather and relax at the end of the day. Support is key, that's what I've learnt. Without my husband's support I would be lost.
Remember to look after yourself and celebrate getting this far and remember it as your STRONG day.
The day you had to be strong.
Be kind to yourself and don't feel guilty.
Find what works best for you as a family. X
Please share your experiences or any advice if you have any. For the new mums and dads out there, so they can be prepared.