Updated June 11, 2014.
Many women will tell you that have always dreamed of being mothers. They can tell you how they spent all of their youth mothering dolls, other children, and pets.
Other women, myself included, never dreamed that they would be mothers. They may have had no idea what the future held, or they may have planned for careers and education.
No matter what type of planning went into becoming a mother, there we all are, in one group.
We have many similarities but even more differences.
Here several mothers give you their ideas on what it means to become a mother and live this adventure.
When does one become a mother? Is it the moment of conception? The first time you hear your baby's heart beat? When you hold your small miracle for the first time?
"I had my first maternal feeling driving home from the lab after having my pregnancy test. I was so excited and wanting to race home to share the news. I realized I was driving too fast and didn't have my seat belt on. It was a strange feeling, but great!" - Leah, mother of 2 year old Ainsley
"My first son died when he was four months old. Mother's day followed two months later and I remember feeling like a mother, but being fearful that no one else saw me that way. When all of the mothers were called up for a special blessing in church that day, everyone was urging me to step forward. It felt really good to be recognized as a mother." - Amanda, mother to Adam, 3 year old Angela, and baby-to-be
"I think I was in shock during the whole pregnancy. I was excited about the baby, but just found it so hard to believe. They handed me the baby and I still didn't feel connected right away. That night he was crying in the bassinet and I felt overwhelmed with emotions. After 9 months it finally sunk in, 'I was a mommy!'" - Sally, mother to two year old Trey and 6 month old Abbey
What does it mean to be a mother? Do these creatures come with any instructions?
"I had to do so much! I had never realized how hard it was to be everything for such a tiny creature. It was very demanding and at first I felt under prepared and useless. Then she started being able to respond and I felt that the hard work and long days were really worth it." - Tracey, mommy to 3 month old Sara
"Thank goodness my partner was from a large family. He knew all of the baby care tricks and really helped me figure out the best way for me to mother. Now I have a lot more confidence in myself." - Lorri, mother to 5 month old Freda
"Jason was born and they gave me a booklet. I tried to memorize it, I tried the techniques. Finally decided that I needed to listen to him, but the book makes a great coaster!" - Sylvia, mommy to 7 month old Timmy
How does giving birth affect you? Does adding a new little one create as much havoc as everyone says?
"I felt so totally amazed at myself after giving birth. It was so hard and yet very rewarding. I think it really helped me during those long nights of being a new parent. If I could do labor, I certainly could stand a bit of sleep deprivation!" - Lee, mother to 4 year old Sam and 2 month old Sarah
"Giving birth was hard work. I sort of knew that part, but once I got home with a new baby I realized how under prepared I was for postpartum. My advice, remember that the birth is the beginning not the end..." - Julie, mom to 6 year old Theodore, 4 year old Tricia, and newborn Travis
"Everyone said, expect to lose sleep, so I expected it. But the things that really changed are so slight and odd that no one could prepare you. I love it!" - Jackie, mom to 3 week old Annalyse
"I've learned I have a lot of strengths I didn't know I had! My husband thinks I'm the most powerful woman on earth!" - Debby, mother to 4 week old Susie, 3 year old Todd, and 5 year old Sam
Celebrate your motherhood today, and everyday!