Whether you received the life-changing news that you’re expecting, welcomed a little one into the world, or celebrated reaching a breastfeeding or pumping goal – or all the above – you should look back on 2013 with pride and a strong sense of accomplishment.
As we head into 2014, remember:
There’s no way to be a perfect mother, but there are infinite ways to be a good one. It’s not a bad habit to aim high, but when it comes to motherhood, recognize that you are human. If your child’s needs are met and you love your child, you’re a good mom. It’s as simple (and as complicated) as that.
Your body’s imperfections are beautiful – they are signs of a life truly lived. Make 2014 the year you stop stressing over those stretch marks (and remember that for every woman who hates hers, there’s another woman who wishes she had them). Your body might look and feel different than it did before, but it’s been molded by love and sculpted by the gift of life. Find joy in its imperfections and realize that they’re not actually imperfections at all.
You are normal, natural, and wonderful. Be proud and stand strong. The miracle of birth leads to the miracle of breastfeeding, and nourishing your baby is what your body was made to do. Society might not always make it seem so, but breastfeeding is natural. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise – only you know what’s best for your baby.
Don’t give up. And if for some reason you have to stop breastfeeding, don’t feel guilty – feel empowered that you tried! Giving way to guilt will only elevate your stress levels, and babies often feed off of your energy (in more ways than one). Channel that self-doubt into a sense of empowerment – we are all faced with so many choices, and there are so many crossroads along the parenting journey you’ve embarked on. Every mom is navigating her own unique situation and doing the best she can with what she’s given – and so are you.
We’re all in this together. And none of us are alone. Reach out to those around you for support and work to create and foster connections within your community. Consider bringing a meal to a friend who’s a new mom, make that phone call just to say hello, and if you’re having a hard time or feeling overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to let your loved ones know.
Be gentle with yourself. Celebrate accomplishing even the smallest goal, and try not to be too hard on yourself this year. A little positivity can make all the difference on a difficult day.
What are you reminding yourself as the New Year begins? What will be your words to live by in 2014? Share your inspiration or your mantra in the comments below.