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How Motherhood Surprised Me {and a Book You Must Read}

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Surprised by Motherhood

We hung out a lot before kids. Back when our husbands and our houses and our careers and schooling were the whole of our lives.

We led college students together. Taught a class at church and hung out a lot. Mostly on Friday nights with pizza and The Matrix and whatever else presented itself to our group.

Then she and her husband finished their graduate work and moved to Ukraine for more study and life while my man and I stuck around and started a family.


Just before we moved to Paris for a four-month stint, Lisa-Jo came for a visit. We sat on the floor of the play-room surrounded by my two kids and too many toys as she told me the stuff that might help me transition to life overseas.

She also told me she was going to be a mom. The surprise of which was not lost on me. Since I’d known her, she’d sworn she would never be one of those.

But now, eight years later, my friend Lisa-Jo Baker has birthed three children and a book, Surprised by Motherhood: Everything I Never Expected about Being a Mom.
Each of which will no doubt change the world in their own ways. Because God is alive in that woman, and He uses her words to speak life and courage into moms all over the world.

Even me.


See, I’m not an insecure person. I mean, I used to be. Then God convinced me His was the only approval I needed. So I plugged my nose and dove off that cliff of real faith that trusted what He said about me and lived accordingly.

Full-on real life, no looking back or wondering if I was good enough or had what I needed to do whatever He’d show me to do from day to day.

Then I had a baby.

And somehow that baby introduced me to an entirely new level of insecurity.

What if I really don’t know what I’m doing? They said I would just instinctively know my own baby’s cry, but what if I don’t? Or, even worse, what if I do and it doesn’t make my heart jump to attention like I know it should because I love her so much? What if I don’t love her enough? What if loving her isn’t enough?

She wouldn’t eat those first few days, so I wondered what I was doing wrong. What if she never eats? What if my body wasn’t made for this nursing thing and I don’t know when to just give-in and feed her a bottle? What if I feed her a bottle and I screw up her life forever because I haven’t nursed her for that first year like all those books say I should do, and what if she gets sick every week for the rest of her life because I deprived her of my breast milk and the immunities it gives?

By the time that baby was three, she was convinced she knew more than me. And she was starting to convince me. She could question my motives with one three-letter word and have me spiraling to the depths of motherhood hell in three seconds flat. All because I couldn’t tell her why she needed to wear the blue shirt instead of the green one.

At five, that baby had me yelling at the top of my lungs one day in order to prove that I had not been yelling at her. “Stop yelling at me” she had said. And that spun me into a red-faced, blood-curdling yell that the neighbors probably heard even with the windows closed and the acre in between us. “I am NOT yelling!” I screamed. “THIS is YELLING!”

Not my shining moment.

When her sister came along, my insecurity grew. Because I didn’t know how to do siblings and rivalry and can’t we all just get along? And why do I still not know what I’m doing?!?


I’ve had a few moments of motherhood greatness to be sure, but somehow in my brain they’ve been overshadowed by those insecure shaky times that live right there at the tip of the file marked “The Kind Of Mom I Actually Am”.

I’ve read books by James Dobson and Kendra Smiley and Lisa Welchel that have helped me find principles and ideas for dealing with my children.

But until my friend Lisa-Jo wrote Surprised by Motherhood: Everything I Never Expected about Being a Mom, I have not really learned how to deal with me and my mommy insecurity.

When I read Lisa-Jo’s words, I feel the camaraderie, and I know I’m not the only one. And the surprises of my own insecurity and every other surprise that motherhood has presented feel somehow okay.

Her words spark hope that God is using to actually convince me that maybe I do have what it takes to grow these little people and show them how to really live.

Maybe you can relate?

If you’re a mom, I would be willing to bet you can. I’m guessing you know what it’s like to feel like you don’t have what it takes to be a mom.

Or maybe you’re a dad who’s trying to figure out why your wife struggles so much with this motherhood thing.

Or maybe you have a mom with whom you’ve always struggled.

May I suggest you take Surprised by Motherhood: Everything I Never Expected about Being a Mom and let God use Lisa-Jo’s words to encourage you where you are in this journey. Wherever that might be.

You can click this link: Surprised by Motherhood: Everything I Never Expected about Being a Mom and order it right on Amazon. Or at Christian Books with this link: Surprised by Motherhood

Or, if you prefer the audio version, click this one: Surprised by Motherhood: Everything I Never Expected about Being a Mom

10 Thoughts on “How Motherhood Surprised Me {and a Book You Must Read}

  1. Bria! This is the most amazing and lovely journey we’ve been on, eh? Can’t wait to see you again in person one of these days!

    • Indeed it has, my friend!! And now I am so thrilled to get to be part of this awesome turn with you. 🙂 THRILLED. Thank you for your words and your friendship, Lisa-Jo. Truly.

  2. Beautifully honest mama!! So excited to read the rest of Lisa-Jo’s book! I’ve found such community with her as well- she has a way of letting us know we.are.not.alone on this frightening journey into motherhood.

    Found your from the Launch Team 🙂

    • Oh, Charissa, thank you! Honestly, about an hour after I hit publish, I got all shaky inside wondering if I was a little “too” honest. So your words are like hugs for my soul. It’s so good to have company on this journey. 🙂

  3. Becoming a mom will break your heart, that’s for sure, but it’s like you don’t have any choice, do you?

    • Oh man, Kathleen! Truly… I don’t want the alternative. I am blessed beyond all to get to mother these two kids. And challenged beyond all with the call to it. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  4. Hmm, it looks like I am going to have to read this book. I didn’t realize your were friends with Lisa-Jo.
    I am always insecure about being a mom.

  5. Melanie on April 2, 2014 at 11:04 am said:

    Love everything about this post, Bria. In the trenches with you. Hope to get my hands on that book!

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