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Why You Don't Have to Be the Perfect Mother

Why "There's No Trophy" For Childbirth and Motherhood Are the Best Words This Mom's Ever Heard

Mom of three and blogger Ashley Gibson wants to be the best parent possible. Don't we all? And while many of us strive for the perfect childbirth experience or to breastfeed for two full years, sometimes life gets in the way. In a recent Facebook post, Ashley explained how her husband reminding her there's no official parenting award was the reassurance she needed.

"'There's no trophy, Ashley.' The best four words my husband could have said to me in that delivery room," wrote Ashley. "It put my whole world as a mom into perspective. I was in agony and trying to decide whether or not to get an epidural. I had no idea I was already at the very end of my labor and would be pushing Leo out within minutes. All I knew was that I was in pain and couldn't imagine laboring like that for what I thought would be a few more hours."

She continued: "I was trying to talk to him between contractions on the verge of tears and he lovingly spoke lots of support and some truth into my universe with, 'There's no trophy Ashley,'" she wrote. "When I was fretting about supplementing with some formula those first few days and not wanting to feel like I was already failing at breastfeeding I heard those words again, 'There's no trophy Ashley.'"

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After thinking about the first few days of life with a newborn, Ashley realized that there's a ton of competition among women to be the best mother, whatever the definition of that actually is.

"There it hit me. As moms in today's world it can feel like we're all competing for a trophy that doesn't exist," she explained. "I literally thought in that delivery room that I would somehow be 'less than' as mother for tapping out and asking for the drugs. Like there would be a gold medal or AT LEAST a gold sticker on my medical chart for having a natural birth. And I felt like I was letting some invisible committee down when we bought formula to help him pass the amniotic fluid he had swallowed."

Ashley's advice? Throw all of those imaginary awards out the window. "Since having this third sweet boy six weeks ago I've given lots more thought to the invisible trophies we create as moms," Ashley said. "Some society creates for us. Standards we try so hard to measure up to even though the contest is make believe and we were made to live in community, not competition."

The mom of three also gave us a much-needed refresher on a few things that won't get you a ticket into the parenting hall of hame:

  • There's no trophy for delivering naturally vs. opting for an epidural or having a C-section.
  • There's no trophy for breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding.
  • There's no trophy for losing the baby weight the fastest.
  • There's no trophy for cutest delivery gown (FOR THE LOVE, it's okay to look like you just had a baby!).
  • There's no trophy for most creative birthday party theme.
  • There's no trophy for how many activities you sign your kids up for.

Now, Ashley is thanking her husband for reminding her of what's important. "My husband has no idea how meaningful those words have been allowing me to relax into having a newborn again. And I wanted to invite you to relax into motherhood with me," she wrote. "The only trophy you'll carry through life is the bond you create with your baby. And like I've said before, we all go home from the hospital with a big basket of mesh undies and sanitary pads the size of our newborns no matter how glamorous our Insta pics look."

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