As your little one’s first birthday fast approaches, chances are you’re brainstorming all the special ways to celebrate. Should you get a smash cake? What’s the perfect first birthday party theme? Which gift should you give your baby on their big day? But instead of solely focusing on your baby’s astonishing growth and development over these past 12 months, consider taking a moment to focus on yours, too. After all, your first year as a parent has irrevocably changed you. Your body is different. Your sense of self is different. Your relationships are different. Your once spotless living room is different. Even your brain is different. And through all the joys and challenges, here you are—filled with so much strength and love. 

So, please, when it comes time to blow out that first birthday candle, save some space to celebrate all that you’ve accomplished, too. Here are some ways to do that.

Write yourself a letter.

Steal away for 30 minutes or so and reflect on the past year and all the life-changing experiences, challenges, and joys you’ve faced as a new parent. Allow yourself to feel all the feels, which can be complicated. Then take a few moments to envision the next year, and the next, and the next. What are your hopes? What kind of parent do you want to be? Next, channel all that emotion into a letter to yourself, designed to be opened and read on your baby’s 18th birthday. You can write a letter this one time—or on every birthday leading up to your little one’s adulthood.

Have a Me-Day.

Celebrate your body, brain, and heart for doing hard things by pampering yourself silly. A massage, a facial, a sauna, a yoga retreat, a hike in the woods—whatever floats your particular boat, do it with glee and without a whisper of guilt!

Revisit your birth story.

If you birthed your baby, you’re now approaching the one year anniversary of creating your birth story. With time and reflection on your side, it’s often the ideal time to get your experience down on paper. Keep it for yourself or write it with the knowledge that you’ll be sharing this with your baby once they’re older. Need some help getting started? You can sign up for a free workbook with exercises and prompts designed to help you tell your whole story.

Pick out a sentimental present.

Why should your baby be the only one getting gifts? If presents are your love language, feel free to pick something special out for yourself to commemorate this momentous day. Some ideas to mark your first year as a parent: A delicate mother and child necklace, a dual birthstone ring, a custom mother and child portrait, or a tattoo featuring your little one’s name.

Have a Date Night

Partnered? Then you both deserve a cheers! If you’re able, book a babysitter, gussy yourself up, and have yourself a good old fashioned date night: fancy dinner, beers and a game, bowling, you name it. If booking a sitter is just too stressful, no worries: Order in, light some candles, get your very own birthday cake to enjoy, and have your date night in your kitchen.

Throw a party…for yourself!

Yes, of course, have a first birthday party for your baby if that’s something you want to do! Just consider making the festivities a little more parent-focused than baby-focused. So, instead of hiring a clown or a real life princess that 1-year-olds simply can’t appreciate, consider a backyard happy hour, a dinner party, or a game night with your nearest and dearest to celebrate this significant occasion.

More celebratory ideas:

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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.