Do you remember the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding?” Hilarious, right? “Instant Mom” is Nia Vardalos’s book about not only how she became a mom, but how she kept all of her struggles hidden from the public eye while it was all occurring. Grinning widely on the red carpet, no one knew she had just found out that yet another fertility treatment had failed.
This is a great read for anyone who loves Nia’s work. It tells the story of how Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson discovered Nia’s original version of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” initially performed as a solo act onstage. It tells about how her own family, including her husband Ian, was the inspiration for the movie. For instance, did her dad really use Windex as a cure-all? She mentions her other movie projects, but not in a self-seeking manner. It just shows the reader what was going on in her life publicly as she was privately mourning her inability to conceive.
But this is not a sad book! An easy read, you will find humor at every turn, and in some instances, you will laugh and cry with her all within the same page. Parents who have suffered from miscarriages or who have gone through IVF treatments may closely identify with Nia and Ian, but those who have never experienced infertility will benefit from reading this book as well and will learn what NOT to say to couples who don’t have children.
Nia then chronicles their process of adoption, and how using the American fos-adopt system was the right path for them. The story of how they found their daughter, how they renamed her, and how she became part of their family is beyond beautiful. We need to hear more successful fos-adoption stories.
Again, this book is great for other instant parents, as she describes how after years of waiting for a match with a child, they were suddenly thrown into parenthood overnight. But even parents who have given birth to their own children can understand the concept of instant parenthood. No one is ever fully prepared for how a child or baby can change your life.
Nia also talks about some of the ridiculous questions people have asked her about adopting their daughter, oftentimes in front of her. “Aren’t you afraid she’s damaged?” She explains why this is so inappropriate and how adoptive parents struggle with the same parenting issues as biological parents do—hitting, biting, temper-tantrums, and potty-training, just to name a few. It’s time we treated adoptive parents like REAL parents, because they are real!
She shared so many funny-but-true thoughts. The one that sticks in my mind right now is asking someone when they are going to have kids is like asking a guy what he’s going to do about the bald spot on his head. Some don’t mind being asked personal questions, but some do and it’s best to err on the side of being sensitive.
“Instant Mom” is full of other little tidbits about body image, protecting their daughter from getting into the media, how to be ready for unexpected company, how they almost adopted a coyote, and how they dealt with their daughter’s stormy adjustment period into their family. It also includes an appendix further explaining the American fos-adoption process. Most of all, this book reminds the reader that life doesn’t always go as planned, but this is ok, because you may be blessed beyond what you ever imagined.
Just go read the book! Nia admits that she sometimes Googles herself, so Nia, if you read this, thank you for sharing your story with us. It was definitely one that needed to be told!
Never miss an article…”Like” Lisa on Facebook at “New Moms.”