After I became a mother, specifically during the first few stress-filled years of babies and toddlers, I was amazed by the things that I had to give up. No amount of parenting books, websites or parent friends can truly prepare you for your list of sacrifices you will make in the name of motherhood.

I gave up my job to stay home.

I gave up my body to the changes of pregnancy and nursing.

I gave up the spontaneity of romance with my husband.

I gave up every second of my free time to caring for small humans.

I gave up sleep and my body’s needs to the needs of new, small bodies.

I gave up my mind to constant thoughts of my children.

I gave up a lot.

But what I gained was so much greater. And the fact that all those sacrifices paled in comparison to the joys and the positive gains? That is the miracle of motherhood.

What I gained was the purest, most unconditional love I have ever known. This love flows continuously from my heart, to my children, through my husband and is reflected back to me in bigger waves than I give.  This love is hard-won and claims many aspects of my former life that I enjoyed, but it also takes away many of the petty, ugly, sorrowful parts of my life and personality that existed pre-kids.

I gave up a life based on selfishness.

I gave up loneliness.

I gave up a life lived for temporary things.

I gave up fixations on unworthy goals.

I gave up my life to something greater than myself.

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And now, 10 years into this motherhood gig, I also gained 13 incredible blogging women friends and a place on the #NakedMoms blogging  collective. We are 13 women who will nakedly write together about motherhood each month. I look forward to learning and growing with them this year, and reading their beautiful writings.

You can read their wise words too! Each month I will provide links to their essays on the group theme.

#NakedMoms January 2014: Giving Up 

Giving Up Supposed To Be by Brandi at Mama Knows It All

Giving Up And Getting Down by Heather at Diary of A First Time Mom

To Be a Better Mom You Have to Give Up by Steph at Confessions of A Stay-At-Home Mom

I Am A Recovering Perfectionist by Thien-Kim at I’m Not The Nanny

Giving Up On Perfect Single Motherhood by Laila at Only Laila

The Time I Almost Gave Up on Motherhood by Vaneese at Mommy Works A Lot

To Let Go and Let God by Jacquie at The Sweeter Side of Mommyhood

I Didn’t Want to be a Mom by Summer at The Dirty Floor Diaries

Mothering While Introverted by Diamonte at Liberated Mommy

Motherhood: I Give Up by Stephanie at When Crazy Meets Exhaustion

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