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@julianjamie, nominated by @north_west_jess

Today, on International Women's Day, the world is thinking about and honoring all the incredible women who have left their mark on the world. But you don't have to be a First Lady, a STEM pioneer, a politician, a #girlboss or a Duchess to be worthy of recognition today.

On Instagram we asked you, #TeamMotherly, to tell us about the women you are celebrating today. You told us you want to recognize your own mothers, sisters and BFFs.

International Women's Day isn't just about the women who influence the course of history, it's about the women who influence our daily lives. The women who are holding our hands (and sometimes our babies) as we blaze our own trail as modern mamas.

Here are 10 of those incredible women:

1. @angilinabae's mama inspiration 

@angilinabae: "Her name is Jenna (@_thatjennagirl) and her daughter was diagnosed with SMA1 [Spinal muscular atrophy 1] 6 months after she was born. It is a genetic disease that is one of the main killers of infants, but she did not let it destroy her. She became an advocate for her daughter and, unfortunately, her daughter passed away at almost two years old. She stayed strong for her throughout everything life threw at them. She is an amazing mama."

2. @bingy15's wife and parenting partner 

@bingy15: "The one on the right is my wife, I'm the one on the left. We just had our baby girl on January 11th and my wife has been an AMAZING partner. Allie is a wonderful wife, friend and now mother. Our baby Karsyn and I are so incredibly lucky to call her ours."

3. @torilemieux's role model mom 


@torilemieux: "This is my mom! I just had my third boy in December (my other boys are 2 + 4) and she stayed with us for a month to help. Afterwards, we went to Florida and stayed with her for 2 weeks. She is the most selfless woman I know and if I could be half the mom she is, I am doing good!"

4. @linseyhaxby's strong sister 

@linseyhaxby: "My sister Stephanie (in the pink) is the oldest of 3 girls in our family so I have always looked up to her and admired her in every way. She now has three girls of her own and takes on motherhood with grace + strength. We just had our babies 9 weeks apart, and I get the fabulous opportunity to talk to her everyday. She is my sounding board for all things motherhood. She is the kind of mother I aspire to be."

5. @dhrutikavansia's long-distance BFF

@dhrutikavansia: "This is my best friend Gaby. She lives in Canada and I live in Malawi so we rarely get to see each other, but Gaby was my saving grace during my first few weeks as a new mum. I struggled a lot with postpartum emotionally and Gaby visited us all the way from Canada to the UK when my son was 2 ½ weeks. Her presence was so uplifting and she always reminds me how important it is to trust my own instincts"

6. @littleavalyn's chosen mother

@littleavalyn: "This is my official mom, as she legally adopted me on June 13th, 2017. She [was] first my college advisor, then my favorite professor, and because she was never able to successfully have children and I came from a broken home, we bonded almost immediately. She has been my 'unofficial' mom since 2010 and has been there for me as my mom through the premature birth of my baby and all the little ups and downs. She is my constant cheerleader, my emotional support, and my confidante. I couldn't be more blessed with my found family."

7. @north_west_jess' internet BFF

@north_west_jess: "This amazing woman, friend and mama is my INTERNET BESTIE, Julian (@julianjamie). We somehow found each other on Instagram and started texting IRL and are truly kindred spirits. She is hilarious, beautiful and strong with a wicked sense of humor. She mothers her children with grace + sacrifice."

​8. @poolerosita's daughter's godmother 

@poolerosita: "The godmother of my daughter (@thejenpiner) is one of the most amazing people I know. Early in her marriage she was diagnosed with seven blood disorders and unable to safely carry a child of her own. A year ago, she and her husband adopted a beautiful baby boy with down syndrome. As we anticipated, she would go above and beyond the call of duty as a mother and advocate for him like no one I've ever known. She is a pillar in our village."

9. ​@buttonup_girl's much bonded mum

@buttonup_girl: "My mum guided me through childbirth and I don't think I could've gotten through it without her in the room. The bond that we share and the bond that she shares with my daughter has now been strengthened forever. She's an amazing grandma who will drop everything to be there for me and my daughter. I love raising my little lady with her by my side."

​10. @v_robichaud's momspirational Megan 

@v_robichaud: "Megan is pregnant with her third and such an inspiration to me! Managing the kids on-the-go, working late nights after long days with the kids all while keeping the house clean, the laundry done and producing healthy meals on the table with a smile on her face. Her determination to keep self-care in the mix while being so busy motivates me!"

These 10 women are inspiring the moms who nominated them, but there is one more mom on the list today: YOU.

You're doing great, mama. And don't forget it, especially today. Celebrate yourself, it is International Women's Day, after all.

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When I was expecting my first child, I wanted to know everything that could possibly be in store for his first year.

I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.

Yet, despite my best efforts, I didn't know it all. Not by a long shot. Instead, my firstborn, my husband and I had to figure it out together—day by day, challenge by challenge, triumph by triumph.

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The funny thing is that although I wanted to know it all, the surprises—those moments that were unique to us—were what made that first year so beautiful.

Of course, my research provided a helpful outline as I graduated from never having changed a diaper to conquering the newborn haze, my return to work, the milestones and the challenges. But while I did need much of that tactical knowledge, I also learned the value of following my baby's lead and trusting my gut.

I realized the importance of advice from fellow mamas, too. I vividly remember a conversation with a friend who had her first child shortly before I welcomed mine. My friend, who had already returned to work after maternity leave, encouraged me to be patient when introducing a bottle and to help my son get comfortable with taking that bottle from someone else.

Yes, from a logistical standpoint, that's great advice for any working mama. But I also took an incredibly important point from this conversation: This was less about the act of bottle-feeding itself, and more about what it represented for my peace of mind when I was away from my son.

This fellow mama encouraged me to honor my emotions and give myself permission to do what was best for my family—and that really set the tone for my whole approach to parenting. Because honestly, that was just the first of many big transitions during that first year, and each of them came with their own set of mixed emotions.

I felt proud and also strangely nostalgic as my baby seamlessly graduated to a sippy bottle.

I felt my baby's teething pain along with him and also felt confident that we could get through it with the right tools.

I felt relieved as my baby learned to self-soothe by finding his own pacifier and also sad to realize how quickly he was becoming his own person.



As I look back on everything now, some four years and two more kids later, I can't remember the exact day my son crawled, the project I tackled on my first day back at work, or even what his first word was. (It's written somewhere in a baby book!)

But I do remember how I felt with each milestone: the joy, the overwhelming love, the anxiety, the exhaustion and the sense of wonder. That truly was the greatest gift of the first year… and nothing could have prepared me for all those feelings.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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My husband and I always talked about starting a family a few years after we were married so we could truly enjoy the “newlywed” phase. But that was over before it started. I was pregnant on our wedding day. Surprise!

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