‘Best Decision I Made’: Mum Has her Son’s 1st Birthday in a Bar – For Herself

Jess Silver hated being pregnant. She hated the attention and the unknown surrounding the whole experience. The day she gave birth wasn’t all hearts and flowers either and, after she left the hospital, she developed postnatal depression, experiencing insomnia, panic attacks, and anorexia.

The first year of her son’s life was tough. Really really really tough. At the end of a very long year, she decided to do something special to celebrate his 1st birthday and just how far she’d come.

Instead of throwing her son a traditional 1st birthday party with a cake smash and Bluey-themed paper plates, she threw herself a party. At a swanky bar. With drinks and friends and loud music.

I’ll tell you right now: one of the best decisions I made in the first year of his life was throwing myself a party on his birthday,” 

After reading her story, we can see why she went this route – it’s probably one of the smartest things we’ve ever read, actually.

What about you?

‘Part of me left’ 

Jess shares her experience with Scary Mommy, admitting that, during the first few months, she lost herself.

When my son was delivered, on his birth day, something happened. I did not know at the time, but when he entered my world, part of me left. It was as though part of myself stayed in that hospital room, while a different version of me was wheeled onto the postpartum ward.”

She was diagnosed with perinatal mood and anxiety disorder and spent maternity leave at an outpatient program with other women struggling with motherhood.

Five days a week, I walked a mile to the facility with my son in tow and received intensive counseling and group therapy. Among other things, the program was working to restitch the tear in my soul. But recovery is not a straight line, and some days were better than others. And some days were the darkest I’ve ever seen.”

When her son was six months old, Jess saw the light. She began to recognise herself again and started doing the things she used to love to do.

I found my son too, and I fell in love with him. I looked forward to seeing him after work, I wanted to play with him and feed him, and I wanted to be a mom.”

His 1st birthday, my birth-day

As any mum who has struggled during the first year knows, it’s not easy to overcome these dark thoughts. To be so consumed by exhaustion and frustration and guilt. To miss your old life. To resent your partner for getting to leave the house. To feel lonely even though you’re never alone. To feel consumed by the constant demands of motherhood.

Some mums are lucky and don’t feel these thoughts but so many do. Jess was one of them. It can take new mums days, weeks, months, even years to get to the other side. So, when Jess looked back at her first year with her son, she realised this year wasn’t just about him and his growth. It was about hers too. Her birth-day.

mum throws 1st birthday party for herself in a bar
Source: Adobe Stock

So Jess decided to make his 1st birthday about her. She booked a bar. She invited her friends and family and she dressed up for drinks.

My denim skirt was short, my shirt was cropped, and my body felt familiar again. The bar was deliciously loud with alternative 90s music, laughter, and that clink glasses make when they hit tabletops.

Every person to greet me set off a chain reaction of memories spent together. The variety of people there meant a spectrum of memories from the me I used to be, to who I was becoming.

This day was less about “aw how cute is he?” and more about “I found the new me.”

Every new mum should get a chance to celebrate their first year of mummyhood and we applaud Jess for booking the bar, donning the denim and cheering her new self.

We’re not sure if her son was invited to the 1st birthday party or if he sat that one out, but, either way, we’re here for it.

Jess also has a message to other mums who might be feeling the same as she did:

I personally know moms that are still looking for themselves following giving birth, and I see the anonymous posts online. I see you. Dance again, write again, go back to work, don’t work, have a girls night, go on that date. Do you. I invite you to consider celebrating your birth-day(s) this year. That was the day you created life, and now it’s time to celebrate yours. Happy Birthday to you.”

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Avatar of Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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