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Here’s the third instalment of Sameera Bhayat’s story – the day her daughter turned one. It may be the last part but it is definitely not the final chapter of her motherhood journey. For part one, click here and for part two, click here.

This piece was written the day my daughter turned one in 2019. It stemmed from a place of achievement and reflection as there were times I could not foresee successfully reaching such a milestone.

There are key events in my life that I can playback hour by hour in my memory. The days leading up to it, the days after it, and of course, the day itself. Such as today. November 30th. The day my daughter was born.

Today she turned one.

A first birthday. The cake, the balloons, and some gifts. Yet in the last few months, I did wonder how a mother may feel on that day. Granted, it is a special day. Seeing the little human, you grew and have been nurturing, babble as they play with new toys. But there is also a heaviness – at least that is what I felt. The realisation that she is growing and changing. Reality hit me. Life is moving on and I need to keep up. For the first time ever, I felt my age. My fingers scrolling through her newborn baby photos wishing for just one moment that I could hold her when she was tiny.

One year of motherhood has taught me an endless list of lessons. A surreal journey which has flown by. Sometimes I feel that time has snatched this past year from me. Other times I argue with myself for not making the most of it. A short list of lessons learnt this year?

  1. Babies don’t need all the material things that society and shops convinces us they do. All the need is warmth, cuddles and an abundance of love. My heart shatters when I think of any baby anywhere that doesn’t have these things. It kills me internally. Guilt over everything my baby has. A warm house. Family. Clean clothes. Kitchen filled with food. Toys. Time spent with them. Affection. Protection. Everything.

  2. What a mother experiences pre and postpartum is unique. Every woman has their own story. A mother requires the upmost respect, and to be given consideration due to their delicate physical and emotional state. Don’t intrude. Don’t overwhelm. Give them time. Be understanding. The journey of becoming a mother is no easy matter.

  3. Postpartum baby blues are real. Tears are real. A whirlwind of emotions are real. It’s all real.

  4. My love, respect and compassion for my own mother reached heights I never knew were possible and were matched with levels of guilt and inner distraught for all the difficulties I’ve put her through.

  5. I look at the world through a new lens and am terrified to my core for my daughter’s future and what the younger generation has to deal with. In an age of technology, social and racial tensions, and climate change, I pray with every fibre of my being that their innocence is not snatched away, and they can live happy and full lives.

  6. If you are in a relationship, it takes a lot to meet each other halfway and understand what your partner is experiencing. A partner goes through so much, especially one who is there for you, but it is easy for everyone to forget them.

  7. My time flies by watching her. Every day she learns something new. Every time she smiles. When she giggles or laugh, my heart jumps. A world of knowledge that she can’t wait to absorb. I am captivated by her.

  8. A baby changes the lives of those close to it. I’ve seen how my own baby has given some relatives a new lease of life. My faith teaches me that a baby brings its own blessings. I’ve seen it with my own eyes.

  9. My view on life has changed. My goals and aspirations have adapted to fit my new family. My demeanour has softened, but is still feisty. I can shed a tear but maintain my composure. I choose my words and actions carefully, always thinking about implications. I aspire to be a strong and positive role model for my child. Everything I do now, I try as hard as possible to be in line with teachings from my faith.

  10. It is incredibly hard to accept I will never experience the first year with my baby again. The time with your first born and everything ‘new’ that comes with it is something words can’t describe. The joys and difficulties, I would never change any of it. But I always wish I could have five minutes with her as a newborn. Just once more.

And now, after the past year, here we are. A new chapter but revisiting an old one simultaneously. My pride and joy will start nursery whilst I return to work. I embark on a new journey: The Working Mother.

Do I wish I could stay at home with her? Without a doubt. Do I, or many other women have a choice? Not all of us do. Will I get through it? Yes. My drive and determination comes from my little one.

Sacrifice makes sense. The need to protect and nurture makes sense. A mothers love makes sense. It all makes sense now.

One year on.

I made it.

For part one – A Beautiful and Terrifying Amanah – click here.

For part two – Strong Vulnerability – click here.

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