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Women share what the most surprising part of motherhood is

No mother knows what she’s getting into when she starts her own family.

The whole endeavor is full of surprises that don’t end with infancy. Motherhood might even be the vocation that most closely resembles a surprise party — only the surprises are profound and occasionally panic-inducing.

In honor of Mother’s Day, we caught up with everyday moms to find out what surprised them most about their steps and stumbles into parenting.

The love of a mother

“How deeply, purely and unconditionally I could love.” — Barbara F.

“How instinctively I would attune to their every cry, need and concern. We are joined by blood, basic needs, a look in the eyes and nonverbal cues. This continues even with older kids.” — Patty K.

“It’s the hardest job that I’ve ever loved.” — Tonya E.

“That love multiplies and doesn’t divide.” — Kim P.

The stunning realizations

“I am surprised by how many people my sweet little girl affects. She is just one little girl, but she matters to so many people.” — Amy M.

“I am pleasantly surprised that I enjoy my teenagers as much as I enjoyed them in their toddler years. I’m proud to be developing actual friendships with them. I love them and I like them.” — Melissa H.

“The feeling that she was too perfect to have come from me.” — Annah R.

“The thing that most surprised me is that they come out with their own personalities and keep their personalities for life.” — Jenni A.

The sacrifices

“That I can live on extremely little sleep!” — Megan L.

“Vulvar varicosities took me by complete surprise — didn’t even know there was such a thing.” — Elizabeth G.

“How little I would care about waking up in the middle of the night or changing poopy diapers. It really is different when it’s your kid.” — Bonnie S.

The far-reaching impact

“The community aspect of my life became even more obvious. People really want to help and spend time with you and your little one.” — Kristen B.

“It not only changed my life as a person, but also my job. I am a different kind of teacher now that I’m a mom.” — Rian B.

“As my children have grown older, I’ve been amazed at the things I remember like it were yesterday — the joys and how proud I felt, the sorrows and the pain I felt. The kids don’t remember like Mom does.” — Lora K.

In my own path as a mother, I’ve been most surprised by the mixture of strength and softness required every day and every hour — and that the strength and softness bleed into every facet of life. What surprised you the most about your journey into motherhood?

This post was brought to you by New York Life.

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