"There's no trophy, Ashley."
They're the four words that changed one US mum's entire perspective on motherhood - and they might just change yours, too.
In a post to Facebook, Ashley Gibson of Fit Mom Next Door, shared that she was in agony while delivering her third child, trying to decide whether to get an epidural, when her husband first uttered the phrase she so desperately needed to hear.
"It put my whole world as a Mum into perspective," she writes. "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 labouring like that for what I thought would be a few more hours."
On the verge of tears and trying to talk between contractions, Ms Gibson says her husband, "lovingly spoke lots of support and some truth into my universe with, 'There's no trophy Ashley'".
They were the same words the Arizona mother-of-three needed to hear when, days later, she was upset about needing to supplement with formula.
And realisation hit.
"As mums in today's world it can feel like we're all competing for a trophy that doesn't exist," she writes. "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."
When she bought formula to help her little one pass the amniotic fluid he had swallowed, Ms Gibson notes, "I felt like I was letting some invisible committee."
As she settled into the newborn bubble with her baby, the mum says she's reflected on the invisible trophies we - and society - create as mums.
"We were made to live in community, not competition," she writes, adding:
- 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
And the list, Ms Gibson admits, could go on forever.
"My husband has no idea how meaningful those words have been allowing me to relax into having a newborn again," she writes. "And I wanted to invite you to relax into motherhood with me.
"Because 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."