08 Sep 2014

Surprised by Motherhood Book Club, Week 1: Intro and Chapters 1 & 2

Welcome to Week One of our Surprised by Motherhood Book Club!!

Surprised by Motherhood Book Club Week 1

Here’s how it will work each week:

Every Monday: Discussion video posted on the blog – feel free to leave your questions in the comments.

Every Monday Night: Live Q&A discussion on Twitter using the hashtag #surprisedbymotherhood

Every Wednesday: Questions and Answers posted on the blog.

Every Friday: A Free, Useful, help-you-hold-onto-your-sanity Printable posted on the blog for all book club readers.

OK, are you ready to be encouraged?

It will run like this each week:

Every Monday: Discussion video posted on the blog

Every Monday Night: Live Q&A on Twitter using the hashtag #surprisedbymotherhood

Every Wednesday: Questions and Answers posted on the blog.

Every Friday: A Free, Useful, help-you-hold-onto-your-sanity Printable Posted on the blog for all book club readers.

It will run like this each week:

Every Monday: Discussion video posted on the blog

Every Monday Night: Live Q&A on Twitter using the hashtag #surprisedbymotherhood

Every Wednesday: Questions and Answers posted on the blog.

Every Friday: A Free, Useful, help-you-hold-onto-your-sanity Printable Posted on the blog for all book club readers.


Intro: Why I Wrote This Book: Because You Are My People

Chp 1: Motherhood Is a Superpower

Chp 2: Why You Can’t Possibly Know What to Expect When You’re Expecting

{Pst, all three of these chapters are available for FREE —>over here}


And join in the discussion with me and my real life neighbor, Lisa, who has had my kids over more hours and hamburgers and sippy cups of milk than I care to count.

Click here if you can’t see the video.


Here are 5 nuggets that Lisa and I discussed – feel free to share what jumped out at you along with any questions or follow up in the comments. We’ll be chatting more about it on Twitter tonight at 10pm EST. And your questions along with my answers will all be up on the blog on Wednesday.

  1. How surprising motherhood is (whether you’d always dreamed of being a mom or not).
  2. Wishing someone had told us how hard motherhood really is, and that you’re not a failure if your baby doesn’t do everything “according to the ‘How-To’ book schedule.
  3. How becoming a mom is a lot like breaking up with yourself – and there’s a certain kind of grieving process that comes with letting go of the life you’ve always known and having to make sense of a whole new world where you’re no longer at the center.
  4. The awesomeness (is that a word) of falling in love with the child you were invited to co-create with Christ.
  5. At the same time how overwhelming and claustrophobic it can feel to realize you’ll be the “always one” responsible from here on out for another human being.

OK, YOUR TURN- here are some questions to consider as you think about these chapters:

  1. Do you believe Lisa-Jo when she says, “You are much braver than you think”? Why or why not?
  2. What parts of motherhood intimidated you in the past? Do they still intimidate you?
  3. Lisa-Jo describes giving birth as sacred. What moments in your own life would you describe as sacred?
  4. On page 19, Lisa-Jo writes, “Our DNA is born from our stories as much as from our mothers.” Do you agree with her? Why or why not?
  5. What moments in your life have you wanted to “stop pushing” to keep them from being over?

Share your questions and observations in the comments – let’s crowd source encouragement for this journey deep into the heart of motherhood together.

Just click here to leave a comment.

{Photo credit: Jacque Watkins}



{ Leave a Comment }
  1. 1

    I adore this book. I too wish it had been available 4 years ago but I am grateful for it today.
    What surprised me most about motherhood was how difficult it would be to do it on my own. I have been self-sufficient since a very young age. For many reasons but most importantly because I was taught young by my parents that you have to fend for yourself.
    As a wife to an entrepreneur it can feel like being a single parent while still having the expectations of co-parenting. Never in my wildest dreams did I understand how much a community of like minded people was important to my success as a parent.

    • 2

      Yes, I totally agree, Amber. There’s something so totally isolating and draining about motherhood – particularly those first years, that if you don’t have people insert themselves into your lives to check on you and love on you and draw you out of yourself you can get lost in the all consuming routine of taking care of another human being.

    • 3

      totally relating to you amber! I am also a wife of entrepreneur. SO I basically raise my 2 kids alone + working full time as a teacher. I find it very hard sometimes, mainly because people don’t understand how there is on my shoulders. ! Sophie (France)

  2. 6

    Well done, ladies! Love the first installment! Such fun to hear glimpses into other people’s stories as we walk this motherhood journey together.

    • 7

      Thanks Kate – and yes, I’ve found it so encouraging to hear from other friends and recognize in their stories parts of my own and be reminded that we’re not alone.

  3. 8

    23 years later, With a 23 year ok and a 9 year old I have broken up with my former self more times than I can count. I’m still trying to figure out the ‘me’ starts and my sons begin.

    • 9

      Love that Anita – love imaging what it will be like knowing and understanding them as adults one day…

  4. 10

    It is so great to put a face and a voice on the book! thank you for this video!
    when I became a mother , I thought I had it all together too, because I read the books. But I failed miserably mainly in terms of presence. At the beginning , I was always thinking about the evening time, when I could finally rest or be creative, and be alone. It took me 8 years to grieve my old life. It took a lot of reading, thinking and praying. I had and still have to be very intentional about being present with my kids when they are around with me at home. And I am sad it took so long! because only now do I feel Like I can live in the moment with my children. I related a lot to your story as I am also a book worm, a language teacher and I get easily distracted in stories.
    What suprised me most about motherhood is that : you feel so alone, but you are never alone anymore!!
    thank you for this book and your honesty: it really helped me to figure out that I was on the right track to enjoy my kids.

    • 11

      LOVE these thoughts Sophie!

      Yes I struggle more than many other things with choosing to be present with my kids rather than my books or my laptop. It’s hard to pull myself away from all my own wants and thoughts and desires to focus on the nitty gritty of kids and all their needs.

      And I love the line, “you feel so alone, but you are never alone anymore.” —>yes yes yes!!

      It’s a relief to know that there are so many of us on this transition road together of breaking up with ourselves and that it’s a long, slow process and likely we’re never quite done this side of heaven.

      Thank you for sharing these great thoughts!

  5. 12

    My kids are 11 and 13 but I am still doing this study. I wish so much that I had this book and you during those younger years. I read all the books too and my kids cried and cried and cried. Oh my gosh thought I would die. Nothing went the way it was supposed to. But I did get through it and I became a single mom when my youngest was 9 months old. The kids and I went to live with my grandma when I got a divorce. So it was tough, and I would do a million things different (I think) but the kids and I made it through those times and now we are into the teenage years. (Oh boy). I guess I have to find a blog for those years. But I really am enjoying the book even though my kids are older. It’s nice to know I didn’t do so bad after all.

  6. 13

    This book club is just what I needed and I have marked my calendar every Monday! I am a first-time Mom (with 8 month old) and really appreciate someone else saying the word “grieving”. That is exactly how I have been feeling for months. I left my job to be a stay at home Mom, because that is what I always wanted to do. It was a job in a Christian ministry that is exciting and really making a difference in the world. So, it has made the transition to motherhood even more of an adjustment and feeling like I am letting go of so many things….While I am also trying to figure out my own little niche. I think it is important to have an outlet for myself even in the midst of “breaking up with yourself.” I look forward to discussing Chapter 11,

    • 14

      Hey there Kerry – first off, welcome to the roller coaster ride of your life! :) Especially the first year – so many changes for both you and the baby. It’s a whirlwind. And it’s OK to be sad and it’s OK not to love every single second. Figuring it out takes time and I don’t think we ever find the perfect balance. Sometimes just knowing that ahead of time helps :) So grateful to have you here sharing with us.

    • 15

      I just wanted to say, I went from being an Air Force Captain to a stay at home mom and it was a huge adjustment. I know for months I felt lost and I didn’t feel like I was doing a good job or that it was worth it to stay home. I know when I read through Lisa Jo’s book the first time that I understood for the first time what I was going through. It was so nice to put it into words and know it was okay. In the last few months (my son is now 15 months) I have begun to have fun with my sweet boy and have started thinking about a second. It is funny how much can change in just a few short months. Sending you love and encouragement.

  7. 16

    This is quite fantastic. You two = awesomeness.

  8. 17

    Okay — I posted a comment a minute ago, but it was not complete. I am trying to be brave enough to ask this question to someone. How does a mother who is struggling with the adjustment to motherhood entertain the idea of getting pregnant again? When you have always said you wanted more than one child, but then enter into motherhood and being so overwhelmed by it that you wonder how people get to that place of wanting to get pregnant again!. I am in my late 30’s and don’t have long to wait to try again if we will have a 2nd one. I don’t know if God will give me the peace and change my heart when the times comes. Or will have to take the step of faith…Either way, I am so curious to know how God has led other mother who find themselves struggling with motherhood more than they thought they would.

    • 18

      Hey Kerry,

      I can only speak for me – but I know it took a while before I could mentally gear up again. The delivery for my first was pretty tough so I was scared going into my second. It wasn’t like a flip switched, but after about a year and a half (and a lot more catch up on sleep :) I slowly began to feel a readiness slip into my heart. That’s not to say I wasn’t still afraid, but I was certain and that took the edge off the doubt and the worry. You’ll know, when it’s right. I really think you will.

    • 19

      Kerry, My first was a surprise C-section and I know that nursing saved my son. If I hadn’t been forced to hold him; I wouldn’t have. I’m just not a baby person. I can admire from afar and be perfectly happy. In fact, we had a terrible first year. I was a stay-at-home mom and nearly went crazy. But I let my son nurse until he was 28 months old. I deliberately went to work 9 weeks after the birth of our daughter just to get away. She nursed until she was 15 months old. Let the Lord lead you. You will know.
      I went from want zero to expecting to delivery 6. We were stopped at 2. God had other plans. Before our 10th anniversary we were a 4 generation household. It was crazy, but a blessing for each of us.

  9. 20

    I, too, didn’t want to be a mother. Primarily, because after watching her struggles as a single parent in the 60’s, she had no sense of hopefulness. Secondly, as an older sister, I was forced to be responsible and grow up way too early. I didn’t want that. After 5 years of dating and 2 years of marriage to the same Godly man, I knew I wanted nothing more. While pregnant, I never felt like a mother. I didn’t talk to my baby or caress my baby bump. But the moment he was laid into my arms, I was transformed into a mother. I told him I was his Mama. It was so natural and so unexpected.
    It’s been 33 years since that day and I still feel that sense of awe when I look at his 7 foot frame and marvel at his 3 children. Wow! God is good.

  10. 21

    Just today I wrote a piece about wishing my life were different. I started my motherhood journey not knowing I would end it with five (going on six) children, so this was a surprise in itself. Before the first one slid into the world, I had my own plans for my life, and I thought that motherhood would just fit nicely and neatly into that plan. It was hard to reconcile the disappointment with my overwhelming love for them when I realized I was wrong.

    I think sometimes, as moms (or maybe this is just me?) we can get so overwhelmed in the really hard moments that we begin to wonder what life might have been like if we had chosen differently. If we hadn’t had five (going on six) children. If we hadn’t said yes to the tribe of boys God wanted to slip into our home. We start wishing we were different (better) and they were different and our whole lives were different. We can forget in the hardest moments why we chose motherhood in the first place. I think this is probably what surprised me most, that there is such deep, profound love, but there is also such deep, profound frustration that must be worked through.

    I love your book, Lisa-Jo. I really do. Thank you for your story that makes us brave enough to tell our stories.

    If you’re at all interested in reading my thoughts on what I just tried to articulate, they are here: http://racheltoalson.wordpress.com/2014/09/08/when-you-wish-your-life-was-different/

  11. 22

    I love watching this! I can relate to so very much. I have three very little girls…1, 3, and just turned 5. I went from working full-time (as an elementary teacher, which is actually full-time plus overtime) after our first two daughters were born to part-time after our youngest was born. I have been through SO very much in regards to ups-and-downs…from differences in pregnancies to some severe post-partum depression after our first was born, and now to finally “finding” myself and happiness in my passion for writing and sharing my experiences with others. Trying to balance my unexplainable love for my daughters with my drive and ambition to make a difference in our world and show them that women and moms really are amazing creatures. I read your book gated in a room with our three toddler girls, in 90-degree weather-while our AC was broken, and I could not put it down! Loved it all! I have a post that sums up a lot of how I feel about motherhood, and I have received a lot of feedback on this post:
    **Your book was a big inspiration for this post:)
    More than anything, I love that I can participate in a book club. About something I love. In the comfort of my own home (in my slippers and pajamas) while my sweet girls are sleeping. Thank you!!!

  12. 23

    I like Lisa (the neighbor) always thought I would be a mom. Because we couldn’t have our own and had to wait for so long to enjoy parenthood through adoption, we thought we knew much more than we did. We watched and became part of the lives of other peoples’ children and thought we might get it figured out. We found out that even though we might learn and appreciated other parents and their parenting styles, each child (in and outside of a family) is unique and different so there is no way to be able to fully follow rules or ‘the book”. I appreciate the gift of words and the way to express what God has placed on your hearts.

  13. 24

    I am so excited to reread this book. I started with the intro and 1st chapter (because i couldn’t stop after the intro) last night and I felt like you were speaking to me. I have a 15 month old and remember feeling like i was failing. thanks for letting me know I’m not alone and for your encouragement.

  14. 25
    missy grant says:

    love the “co-create” with Christ part!! And I was reminded of the unplanned, little moments often being the best ever in the video with the woman dancing in the rain with her two children!

  15. 26

    Lisa-Jo, loved the book and the chance to re-read. I feel like every day I break up with myself: my expectations, my preconceived notions about my so-called patience (seriously, before I had kids I thought I was a patient person), even the fact that I thought love alone was sufficient to see me through the darkness of trying to escape the orbit of my own childhood experiences. Yes to the poster who talked about realizing how fortunate I am to not go this alone! Recently I had the chance to be nearly solo and another lesson I learned is how much my oldest’s ADHD is wearing, as if it was another child. Talk about the need for support. It doesn’t stop at infancy but keeps going i until…. I dream about meeting my children as adults. I hour they like me and want me in their lives. It scares me since my mom isn’t, by choice/necessity. Will this feeling of awe, desperation and responsibility coupled with love ever ebb? Glad I’m not alone, directly and in this greater community of mom’s. Lisa-Jo, I got to meet you at your book signing and it was a real treat. Thanks for being such an inspiration.

  16. 27

    Please forgive the typos! I even tried to proofread but my eyes are tired… Moms, not “mom’s,” and hope, not ” hour”

  17. 28

    Your book has given me hope as a (weary) Mom…you’ve given me a fresh perspective, particularly as I’m trying to do this motherhood thing while living overseas. You’ve made my life feel a bit more ‘normal’. Thanks! I am anxious to delve in again.

  18. 29

    My fellow moms, thank you for making me feel Normal! I am a first time mom of a beautiful little 7 month old. She has stolen my heart and brought more joy and love to our lives than we even knew was possible. Reading this book and all of your thoughts has been incredibly eye opening for me. I have felt alone, confused, and even crazy at times for feeling certain ways, struggling with balancing being a mom and my career. It is incredibly comforting to know that I am not alone. Thank you! Looking forward to the weeks to come!

  19. 30

    I always saw my mom…being a mom…the most amazing thing… indescribable really, so I still can’t believe ( after 5 kids in 10 years) I am one now… the power in it being “unattainable” in my eyes. It’s still such a miracle and the miracles keep coming as we grow. I wasn’t gonna read “surprised by motherhood”, because she starts out with the fact she never wanted to be a mom… and I on the other hand, always thought I would. I thought my older sister would go before me, but she didn’t marry until 10 years after me. She was that perfect home-making -type that I pictured as the home-maker. My husband wanted kids right away and that suited me fine. I loved every bit of being pregnant and delivery, having forgotten the ugly parts, I know, but just like my Mom said I would when I looked into the eyes of my child.
    The thing I like about this book is that after all that I HAVE learned from the books I delved into…. I have needed that reassurance that even though I can’t get the schedules down, as organized as I try to be to help things go smoothly, it never lasts and “THAT”S OK”. I have let go of a lot of the things I pictured made a perfect mom , reminding myself that what matters most is how I spend the time we have with the children. Do they know they are loved unconditionally? DO they know their Maker has a plan and it’s worth following and He loves them even better than I do or can? My house is a wreck most of the time, but it’s lived in and while I work and homeschool my 5 lovely kids, I learn more about God from them than I ever imagined I would or that I could think I might teach them!

    Lisa-Jo Baker, I was born in South Africa (Johannesburg) too. My mom had a Zulu nanny taking care of me until I was 2 and mom says I spoke Zulu until we left for the states that year. It was refreshing to connect there in an unexpected way! We’ve lived in many places and still live overseas so I am very inter-cultural…loving that completely as we get to learn the best of many ways.

  20. 31

    What’s up everyone, it’s my first visit at this site, and paragraph is in fact fruitful in support of me, keep up posting these types of posts.

  21. 32
    Jessica Lowery says:

    Hi Lisa-Jo,

    I am a brand new mom with an almost 3 month old. I just finished reading Sparkly Green Earrings and follow Melanie on instagram. I saw her promoting your new book and I wanted to see what it was about. I just started following you and saw your book club started yesterday! So I called Barnes&Noble asap and had them put a copy on hold! I read the intro and chapter 1 yesterday. It was terrific! I already feel so encouraged and can’t wait to read more!! Sometimes as a new mom adjusting to “breaking up with myself” is extremely hard and sometimes I feel all alone. It’s so encouraging to know ALL of y’all have gone through this and that I’m NOT alone!! Thank you for writing this book that I’m already loving only on chapter 1!!! :)

    I have a few friends that are new moms and I can’t wait to pass this book along to them in a few weeks!!

  22. 33

    Hi there- What a fun video! I enjoyed watching you and your sweet neighbor chit-chat (: I’ve been watching the announcements about the book club and have procrastinated on committing to join in because, like everything in life right now, it feels like there is NO time as a mother for anything extra…If I’m honest, I’ve stop committing to things, and making myself promises because I can’t seem to follow through on anything lately! (except, of course, making sure everyone is well fed, dressed and properly hugged everyday!). After watching this video I decided to grab the book…which has been sitting on the top of my “to-read” pile all summer and dive in! Looking forward to it (:

  23. 34

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  24. 35

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