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Surprised by Motherhood: Everything I Never Expected about Being a Mom Paperback – April 1, 2014
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About the Author
Lisa-Jo Baker is the social media manager for DaySpring and the community manager of the company’s website, www.incourage.me, an online home for millions of women the world over. She shares her everyday life lived in between kids and chaos at LisaJoBaker.com and is a contributor to HuffPost Parents, and her writings on motherhood are syndicated from New Zealand to New York. Born and raised in South Africa, Lisa-Jo currently lives outside Washington, DC, with her husband and their three very loud kids.
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Top Customer Reviews
Because my story stands in such stark contrast to those of people who always wanted to be a mom, I sometimes have a hard time relating to gushy mommy memoirs or blogs. For this reason, I was intrigued by Lisa-Jo Baker's book, Surprised by Motherhood. After all, it's back-cover copy begins with, “Most people who talk about motherhood start out by telling you how much they always wanted to be a mom. Not Lisa-Jo Baker.”
Upon reading this, I decided this might be a book on motherhood I could relate to.
Indeed, it was.
In Surprised by Motherhood, Lisa-Jo chronicles her journey into motherhood, beginning with her own mother's death when she was 18. She talks of her focus on her career and the initial agreement she made with her husband NOT to have kids. She then shares how she ended up becoming a mom and how surprised she's been by motherhood – something I can relate to after just 28 days into my own journey as a mom.
Throughout Surprised by Motherhood, Lisa-Jo's writing is poignant and relatable. At various points, I laughed and I cried. I found her observation that “pregnancy, like marriage, is an act of courage and faith” to be especially accurate after suffering a miscarriage. As she talked about how there is no roadmap for motherhood, sharing how “We had all the equipment for raising a child but no clue what to do with either” I looked around my house at all the baby gear we've assembled over the last several months and at my daughter – less than a month old – and thought, “Yep. That's right.”
I also appreciated the astute observations Lisa-Jo makes about faith throughout Surprised by Motherhood, drawn from her own experience with motherhood. Among other things, she concludes, “I had confused faith in God with faith in what God could do for me.”
Beyond that, what I loved about Surprised by Motherhood is how it left me encouraged. Lisa-Jo reminds us that “God doesn't ask us to trade who we are for the label of 'Mom'. Rather, He builds all the courage and calling of a lifetime into a story line big enough and rich enough to encompass kids, passion, work, creativity, and dreams that don't end in the labor and delivery ward.”
In these early days of motherhood, Lisa's words have served as a lifeline to me. I'm sure they also will for others.
As I curled up with my tea to read her heart, I knew I was sharing this precious time with a kindred spirit, another mom who knows the value of a cup of tea to the soul. Lisa-Jo shares her journey from losing her own mother at the age of 18, to declaring she will never have children, to being surprised by her fierce love for her babies as they began to arrive five years into her marriage. I cried with her. I laughed with her. I nodded my head as so many of her stories reflected my own.
Like the time her first son was born and her family was celebrating her birthday, finishing all the food while she nursed the baby until there was nothing left for her.
Or describing the courage it takes to trim a newborn's fingernails.
Or giving up trying to sneak veggies in to a meal and simply serving mac and cheese because that's all she had the energy for.
Or the realization that there is no point in owning anything lovely when you have two boys, bent on destruction.
And while my life plan since I was 10 was to start having kids when I was 23 and to have them every 2.5 years after than until we were done, still motherhood looks nothing like I imagined it. And I think that's the point.
Lisa-Jo's heart is for moms to know they are not alone in this journey that looks so unlike our childhood dreams. On the days that the toddler screams because you cut his toast wrong. On the days your nine year old boy shouts things at you that break your heart. On the days its an effort to get out of bed, never mind showering and getting dressed.
Sitting with Lisa-Jo, sipping hot tea, and listening to her stories, to her heart, makes you believe you can do this.
And you know what? You can. Because God is with you every single step of the way.