Surprised by Motherhood by Lisa-Jo Baker

Book description:

A lawyer with a well-stamped passport and a passion for human rights, Lisa-Jo Baker never wanted to be a mom. And then she had kids. Having lost her own mother to cancer as a teenager, Lisa-Jo felt lost on her journey to womanhood and wholly unprepared to raise children.

Surprised by Motherhood is Lisa-Jo’s story of becoming and being a mom, and in the process, discovering that all the “what to expect” and “how to” books in the world can never truly prepare you for the sheer exhilaration, joy, and terrifying love that accompanies motherhood.

Set partly in South Africa and partly in the US (with a slight detour to Ukraine along the way), Surprised by Motherhood is a poignant memoir of one woman’s dawning realization that being a mom isn’t about being perfect—it’s about being present.

My review:

I could really identify with Baker’s journey to motherhood. As a voracious reader, I read all the what to expect and how to books before realizing that nothing can prepare you for that instant when you look at that little face and everything changes.

The best part about this book is that it doesn’t romanticize motherhood. Sometimes when reading books about being a mom, I find myself even more convinced that I have it all wrong – like when I completely lose it after wiping up pee off the floor for the hundredth time, reminding the boys in the house to either make sure to hit the water or wipe it up themselves, and then walk into the bathroom five minutes later to find the same situation all over again. I couldn’t stop laughing at Baker’s description of her two boys and their bathroom antics.

I could also relate to her feelings about her third one and the deceptive idea of having it figured out. I’m not sure why, but whenever we start to feel like we’ve got it figured out, God seems to say, “Just wait…” and throws a wrench into our false sense of control. It doesn’t have to be about the baby’s gender either, sometimes it is about personality.

I love this book and think it would be a great gift for any mom or mom-to-be. It is real and gritty and inspiring and reassuring. It will make you laugh and make you cry.

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