Admittedly, 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.