Surprised by Motherhood: Everything I Never Expected About Being a Mom by Lisa-Jo Baker
Publication Date: April 1, 2014
Check out her fantastic blog
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.I recieved this book from the publisher via Netgalley. Order the Kindle version from Amazon today for $9.99 (3/22/14)
Surprised by Motherhood?? Try surprised by this book! I think I expected it to be another how-to-mother/band-together type parenting book. I shouldn't have expected that knowing what little I do have Lisa-Jo Baker. And it seems like everyone knows her! She is a self-proclaimed cheerleader for moms and has written hard, beautiful, honest truth on her blog for years. "Surprised" is her personal motherhood story. Raw, real, and doesn't hold back the gritty and dark.
This open honesty helped me relate completely. Some wonderful women are brave and share the dark bits of motherhood for the world to see, but then make apologies for it. They wrap up their words in a nice Christian bow. But in the midst of the tunnel, you may know there is an end, but you just don't see it. Baker was able to share her dark moments and not make apologies. Being a mother is hard. Don't ever believe otherwise. Of course it has it's good moments that are everything you imagine about cute, innocent, adorable infants, but it is hard. And it stretches you and changes you like nothing else ever could. Sometimes you just want some sympathy, someone to commiserate with. And to know you aren't the only one who struggles. Baker stated it so well when she said it was like 'breaking up with herself'.
Any way you cut it, motherhood is intimidating. From the courage it takes to clip a newborn's fingernails or navigate their weensy little arms into a onesie or wave them off to school, the ocean of a mother's worry is a vast one. ...So moms might not know it, but they are the bravest of the brave for taking this risk. -Chapter 8, Surprised by Motherhood, emphasis mine.Along with her personal journey of becoming a reluctant mother, we also get to travel with Baker! Born and raised in South Africa, she also spent some time living in the Ukraine and different parts of America. I am sure her editor cut a lot of the deeper looks into her travels out because the book IS about motherhood, but I would LOVE to read more about that. Baker's voice is so fresh and holds notes of humor; reading her travel journals would be a treat.
Heck, I would read anything by Lisa-Jo Baker. And this book has made me admire her even more. However, I am only giving this book 4 stars. It was a good read, one to devour quickly, but I also felt like it didn't take me anywhere. We wandered, we meandered, we travelled, we got to know who Baker really is. And then, the end. I really liked this podcast Baker did recently with Kat Lee from Inspired to Action. I felt like it help me wrap up Baker's journey by sharing what she is up too these days, that all she learned is taking her to some awesome new things. I hope to see more books from Camp Baker, and soon!