The world abounds with books, articles and more of moms telling other moms not to be so hard on themselves (even here, of course) and that we’re all flawed and trying to figure out this whole parenting thing as we go along. Even though the advice exists, so many continue to struggle on a daily basis with the feeling they’re not good-enough mothers.
Sometimes it takes an intervention from a loved one—someone who sees how amazing you already are—to get you to start treating yourself better. Or at least, that was the case with Arizona mom, fitness coach and entrepreneur Ashley J. Gibson.
In a now-viral Facebook post, Ashley discussed how a remark from her husband led her to have an epiphany about the high standards so many moms have trouble living up to.
In August 2019, she was about to give birth to her third son in the delivery room, Ashley was in agony and debated over whether to get an epidural. “I had no idea I was already at the very end of my labor and would be pushing [my son] 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.”
But an epidural wasn’t the only thing occupying her thoughts. She was already worrying about supplementing her breastfeeding with some formula, and not wanting to feel like she was “already failing at breastfeeding.”
What helped her ease her worry during this difficult time were these four supportive words her husband kept telling her in the delivery room: “There’s no trophy, Ashley.”
“There it hit me,” she wrote. “As moms in today’s world it can feel like we’re all competing for a trophy that doesn’t exist. I literally thought in that delivery room that I would somehow be ‘less than’ as a 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.”
She referred to these high standards placed on moms, and created by moms or society, “invisible trophies.” Mothers try to measure up to these standards and approach parenting as a contest, even though the contest is make-believe, and “we were made to live in community, not competition.”
Then she called out a few of the decisions moms struggle with in trying to “win” the contest.
“🏆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 OK 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.
(This list could go on forever.)”
Her husband telling her “there’s no trophy” has made such a difference, she said, because it’s been allowing her to relax into having a newborn again.
Concluding her post, she left Facebook users with a reminder of the trophy that actually exists for moms: the bond we create with our baby.