- Dr. Shari-ann James
Having two young kids I have been to my share of kiddie birthday parties. Some are for the kids of my close friends while other invites come from my kids’ classmates. Whenever we gathered with our close friends to celebrate the birthdays of their lovely kids, my spouse would greet the mothers of the birthday girl or boy in a seemingly confusing way. Our friends are accustomed to it now, but at first it caused them a second or two of confusion. “Happy birth day,” he would say. In the midst of the cupcakes, box juices, cookies, screaming kids and pizza, he was acknowledging that it wasn’t only their child’s birthday, but also their birth day.
It’s a sentiment that seems so obvious, yet we rarely celebrate the mother that produced the rambunctious child being honored. Even when we are aware of the difficulty, anxiety, or in the case of 1 in 7 women, the postpartum depression that some mothers experience, we forget about the mother’s journey. It’s as if we collectively lock away the memories of pregnancy and birth in a box, something too icky to be left out for others to see. We can nurture and celebrate our kids, AND honor the mothers that birthed those kids. So in the future, let us wish our kids a happy birthday, and our mothers a happy birth day.