My Mother’s Day Gift to Myself: Instant Mom by Nia Vardalos

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-sSeXv9QDAPQ/UVxS6yMwuhI/AAAAAAAAFXc/CJdrF9ZnnMM/s1600/VARDALOS_InstantMom_HC.JPGAdmittedly, I steered clear of this book when I first heard about it.  Books with “Mom” in the title simply don’t appeal to me right now.

I started hearing little bits and bobs about the book in the media and downloaded it to my iPad.  The preview of the book sat on my “bookshelf” for a while.  I still wasn’t sure that I could read a “Mom” book.

Mother’s day weekend came.  I was feeling really down and felt like I needed to acknowledge the day.  I knew I wasn’t going to get brunch, flowers or a card so I had to do something for myself.  I bought myself the book.  It was empowering.  It made me feel proactive rather than mopey.

I started reading and I could not put it down.

Within 20 pages I was sobbing and laughing (simultaneously – a very attractive look).  I immediately contacted friends and created an impromptu book club.  This book not only needs to be read, it also needs to be shared and talked about.  I shared it with one friend who has struggled with infertility and is now a mom through adoption of the cutest curliest haired girl I’ve ever seen.  The other friend is one of my closest friends and the sister of Lil Curly’s mom.

I fell in love with this book because it was so relatable.  The first half of the book follows Nia Vardalos’ personal struggles with infertility. Being a comedy writer (My Big Fat Greek Wedding), she is able to share stories about infertility, IVF, multiple miscarriages and surrogacy painful but still able to laugh  – much the way I try to approach my own life and my blog.  There is so much sadness in my life right now, I have to find some things to laugh at and I have to find the joy.  Nia’s (yes, we’re on a first name basis) voice was so refreshing.  I described it my friend (when I told her she had to read the book)  “this lady is our people”.  My friend agreed whole-heartedly.

Nia’s stories about infertility brought me to tears (and still do upon re-reading).  It really felt as if my own feelings were being articulated through someone else’s words.

One of my favourite scenes was her description of a Mother’s Day party.  Being Mother’s Day when I read it made it even more significant.  She describes Mother’s Day as “the worst day of the year”.  At the party she gets all of the dreaded questions including the classic, “When are you due?”  (WHY?? WHY do they ALWAYS ask that???)

Reading this passage, similar to the way I feel when reading other blogs, I no longer felt alone.  Someone out there gets it and is sharing her story very publically.

After years of struggling, the story moves on to Nia’s decision to adopt.  She and her husband (who sounds like an amazing husband by the way) considered and tried different avenues including private adoption and international adoption and finally came to the conclusion that foster adopt was the best route for their family.

The second half of the book, which focuses on the adoption and first few years with their daughter were much harder for me to read.  I feel so far removed from my “happy ending” right now that it’s hard for me to go there.   It comforted me that Nia acknowledged this feeling in the book,

“I could here a hundred fantastic adoption stories in a row and then be stopped in my tracks by a negative one”.

I kept reading and was very glad that I did.  Nia’s story is so honest.  She describes the process from the Home Study to the adoption ceremony.  Her daughter was adopted as a toddler and with that came the struggle to attach and to adapt to a new life (and to sleep).  The way that Nia approaches these challenges is heart warming.   She parents the way I dream of parenting one day.  She reminded me that when I do get my family that my wounds will begin to heal. More laughter, more tears, more hope.

Thank you Nia Vardalos for sharing your story.  Thank you for telling all of our stories.

*Here are the book club questions that we discussed (through sobs and giggles).  If you read the book, feel free to join in the conversation!

  • Which part of the book did you relate to the most?
  • What unique challenges Nia Vardalos face as a celebrity exploring adoption?
  • What were your favourite Canadian moments in the book?
  • What surprised you the most?
  • What made you sob?
  • Favorite quote from book.

Period Peddies

I got (yet another) bad news call from the doctor today. Another negative.
I’m so frustrated and puzzled as to why this isn’t working. I knew there was a significant chance that if I got pregnant again it might not work out but now I can’t even get pregnant anymore!
After the call, I was feeling frustrated and defeated. I could really use some good news.
I decided to treat myself to a pedicure. “Period Peddies” have been a little reward I’ve been giving myself. When I get my period, I go for a pedicure. This little tradition has been my way of staying positive and not seeing “Aunt Flo” as a complete devastation. A couple of my friends have even started to recognize that when my feet look shabby, I’m probably pregnant.
The moment I plunked my feet into the bubbly, soothing, salted water the pedicurist asked…
“Are you pregnant?”
(Seriously, people need to learn to stop asking this question!!!!!!)
There goes my relaxing treat. So much for taking my mind off things.
Instead of the polite “no”, I opted to give her the full story. Not the sob story version but instead more of a medical bulleted list ending with “and that’s why I often look like I’m pregnant”. (All presented “sans tears” by some miracle).
I figured the full version of the story was appropriate here because I see her (almost) every 28 days. I really don’t want her asking me every time she sees me!
Here’s to hoping that I get some shabby toes soon!

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Mother’s Day

Mother’s day is a very difficult time of year. It’s right up there on the long list of holidays that hurt (Christmas, Halloween, Easter, Father’s Day, my birthday).
I feel like a mother who has no children. I received a pamphlet from a pregnancy loss support group once that referred to me (the reader) as a parent. Am I a mom even if I never met my babies?
This is a really hard week to watch tv, listen to the radio, go to the mall or even go on social media. It’s especially hard to be a primary school teacher this week. So much of my energy went into creating the perfect gifts and poems for mom with my little students. I’ve been asked about being a mom (from children and adults) more than usual lately because mom-hood is in the forefront of everyone’s mind.
Yet another year has gone by and it’s still a holiday that doesn’t include me. No card, no gift, no poem.
I bought myself a gift. I bought a book, “Instant Mom” by Nia Vardalos. I’ve been reading it through tears this week and it makes me feel less alone. This book deserves an entry of its own, so I’ll go into more detail in the next one. I just have to get through the next couple days. A couple more days until the Mother’s Day commercials stop airing and another couple of days until my next (monthly) pregnancy test.

Afraid of The Dentist (seriously…EVERYTHING is about infertility)

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I had a dentist appointment today.  I didn’t sleep well last night, and I was nervous all afternoon.

A fear of going to the dentist is pretty common.  I’ve admittedly never loved going to the dentist.  My front teeth have no enamel, I’ve always had bonding, crowns or veneers and my gums are generally a mess.  Thanks to dental insurance through work, I make a trip the dentist every three months.

In the past couple of years I have developed a whole new fear of the dentist.  I’m not afraid of the needles, the pain or the condescending reminder to floss.  I’m afraid of the dreaded “x-ray question”.

“Oh, it looks here that you’re due for your dental x-rays!”

The first time this question freaked me out was when I was trying to get pregnant for the first time. This was way before the counting of days and peeing on sticks.  When they asked about the x-rays I said it was probably safer not to because there was that small chance that I was pregnant.  I remember thinking, “Wow, I really wasn’t prepared to share the fact that I’m trying to have a baby.”  In the back of my superstitious mind (although I deny being superstitious), I wondered if announcing it would “jinx” it.

The second time I was asked to get my dental x-rays I confirmed that I couldn’t do it because (yay!) I was 2  months pregnant. My first pregnancy.

When I went back the next time, the hygienist saw my bloated belly and the “pregnant” note in my file and asked, “How far long are you now? How’s it going? You must be so excited!”.  I responded with a solid sob.  She promptly updated my file and kindly moved on to my cleaning.  She didn’t mention the x-rays that day.

Every visit since then I have had to refuse the x-ray (pregnant/might be pregnant).  I’ve had to update my ever evolving medication notes in my file: Ovidrel, Orgalutron, Suprefact, Gonal F, Progesterone, low-dose Asprin (the Asprin and Progesterone of course make bleeding gums even worse).  During every visit I choke back tears.  The hygienist kindly tries to offer support.   She tells me to call and book for my x-ray if I find out I’m not pregnant (sob).  I try to explain that it takes at least two weeks to get an appointment which would put me right back where I started – not knowing, not willing to risk it.  This will likely go on until holding my baby.

My dental x-rays are now 3 years out of date.  I have a whole new fear of the dentist.