Parenting

Emotional Quotes About Motherhood From Nia Vardalos

The “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” star adopted a daughter from foster care in 2008.
Nia Vardalos has shared about her adoption experience and parenthood.
Nia Vardalos has shared about her adoption experience and parenthood.

Nia Vardalos’ parenting journey has been an emotional one.

After about a decade of in vitro fertilization treatments, miscarriages and surrogacy attempts, the “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” star and her ex-husband, Ian Gomez, adopted a daughter from foster care in 2008. Vardalos has shared about her adoption experience and other aspects of parenthood during many interviews and in her memoir, “Instant Mom.”

In honor of her birthday, here are 16 quotes about motherhood from Vardalos.

On Fertility Issues

“Like most women I thought it would be easy once I decided to start a family. I was surprised that Mother Nature kept poking me in the eye, saying, ‘Nope, nope, nope.’”

On Shame

“It was a sad process for me to become a mom and a long process ... I felt so embarrassed that I couldn’t have a biological child.”

On The Decision To Stop IVF

“Afterwards, the healthiest thing I did was take time off to grieve over what had happened. That brought a sense of clarity and I realized that no matter how I became a mother, I was going to be a mother.”

On Her Hesitation About Foster Care

“I’m not proud of this, but I had a lot of misconceptions about American foster care. To me, foster care meant that a child would be placed with you, then taken away. I didn’t want to go through all of that.”

On The First Time She Met Her Daughter

“The first thing I did was whisper in her ear, ‘I will always take care of you.’”

On The Transition

“She didn’t say very much at first. We’d explain that we loved her and she was going to live with us. She was very brave. But at night she was afraid. ‘Help her feel safe,’ our social workers advised. So we slept in her room. Night after night Ian and I took turns holding her in our laps until she fell asleep. I look at her now, and it seems so impossible. She’s so secure. So confident. But back then, she didn’t know us, she didn’t understand what was happening. I will always admire her bravery. She walked into our house, into her new life, and embraced it. It was only at night that she cried. Who wouldn’t? It was all so new.”

On Her Early Difficulties

“It was eyes downcast, she was withdrawn. She got very angry the next day. She bit my finger to the point I was like, ‘Medic!’ It was really, really hard. She wouldn’t let us hold her or kiss her ... I am here today because within six months, by the time we finalized her adoption, she was completely transitioned and loving and attentive and attached.”

On Waiting To Write ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2’

“I was waiting for motherhood to come my way, to explore the emotions that a mom would know because I had written that Toula and Ian were parents at the end of the first film, and I wanted to keep the story linear. The wait for the sequel is completely my fault.”

On Learning The Parenting Ropes

“We were so unprepared that when my husband took off to get groceries, and we’d adopted a 3-year-old, he came back with baby formula, a steak and a teething ring. We had no idea what we were doing. But you learn. There’s no way to fully prepare. Just eyes wide open — jump.”

On What She Tells Her Daughter

“I tell our daughter how she grew in another lady’s tummy. I explain that a man made a baby with that lady. I tell her they weren’t ready to be parents, but we were. She loves to hear the story, and tells me she’s going to have four babies and adopt four more.”

On Portraying A Mom

“I think there is a moment in every parent’s life where we realize that we have lost ourselves a little bit. It’s a moment of looking in the mirror and going, ‘I need to put on some lipstick.’ That’s how I felt. So [while filming ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2’], I was absolutely adamant that I would not wear any makeup in the opening scenes. Not even moisturizer. Nothing. I was like, ‘It’s got to be authentic.’”

On Seeing Her Daughter For The First Time

“She turned and looked at me, and my first thought was, ‘Oh, I found you.’ That’s it.”

On How Her Daughter Inspired ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2’

“On my daughter’s first day of kindergarten, another mom said something that made me realize I had become my own Greek, suffocating mother. She said, ‘Just think, in 13 years they’ll leave us and go to college!’ And I went ‘Gulp.’ I sucked all the air out of the room and I realized, ‘Oh my God, that’s the sequel,’ and I started writing it that very day. I worked on the script for almost four years.”

On Community

“These moms at the park that had children the same age as my daughter saw the look in my eyes ― dazed, confused, daunted, impotent ― that they themselves felt with an infant. They basically said to me, ‘It gets better.’ And I entered this world, a club, that I never thought I could get into. There’s a feeling sometimes in motherhood that you’re alone in what you’re going through, and none of us are alone. We’re all going through the same thing.”

On Opening Up About Her Fertility Struggles

“I kept so much of what I went through quiet because of my feelings of failure. But now I realize that’s truly ridiculous, and I feel a responsibility to use my big fat mouth to talk about this issue.”

On Her Daughter

“I am so grateful and can’t imagine my life without her.”