It has been the toughest, most gruelling, most rewarding and joyful year of my life. I can't help feeling that today is as momentous a day for me as it is my daughter. Not to take it away from her, but I too feel I need to revel ever so slightly in my own achievements. It is a birthday after all, and I was very much a part of that birth – believe it or not.
I remember as clear as if it were yesterday that moment the midwife put my daughter on my chest and I looked down on her little face for the first time. A lot of the early moments of my daughter's life are a bit blurry but her little face and how it looked then is crystal clear.
I can see those chubby cheeks – her face seemed to be all cheeks – and that little chin not yet fully defined and those blue eyes already looking intensely at her surroundings. She was instantly curious as she is constantly investigating her world now.
It is incredible to think how much she has progressed from that helpless newborn baby to the little personality she has become. So sure of herself, firm and confident on her feet and only weeks away now I'm sure from her first unassisted step.
Never again will she progress so quickly in terms of development over a year. It really is mind-boggling how all babies change over those first 12 months. If we as adults learned so many new skills, grew in confidence, understanding and intelligence as rapidly over a year as babies do, well we would be unstoppable – it would be a terrifying world to live in.
It hasn't been easy this first year. My earliest experiences as a mother are not fully documented on this blog but in short, it has been the greatest challenge I have ever had to rise to.
Its gruelling nature has been of my own making. I am sure a lot of mums breeze through this first year in comparison to me. Yes, there are the sleepless nights which make even everyday tasks very difficult but I have always burdened myself with so much extra pressure.
I have approached motherhood as I have always approached my working life, with 100 per cent application and dedication and a fearsome ambition to be the best at what I do. It is in my nature and I can't switch it off, even now as a full-time mother.
This has meant I have found situations where I have not had full control hard to handle, such as making sure my daughter gets enough to eat and gets to sleep at the right times. With me out of the driving seat and another personality to have to contend with, who is jointly responsible for our success, it has been very hard. This combined with my tendency to over think and analyse everything – well at times it has almost been game over.
I wish I could have just shrugged my shoulders a bit more. But at the same time I wouldn't change a thing about the past year. The reason for this is I look at my daughter and see what an incredible little human being she is becoming and think if anything had been any different she may not be that person she is now. I too would not be able to appreciate how I have come out of an impenetrable fog to see clear daylight ahead.
It has been an amazing year and now it is time to look forward to the next. With it I am sure there will be even more challenges but at least now I feel I have completed my apprenticeship as a mum and can move on with more confidence.
So to my daughter – happy birthday once again. You have given everyone who knows you incredible joy over the past year – especially your mummy and daddy who can't imagine life without you. You are very much loved.