When I received an advanced review copy of Everything You Ever Wanted by Jillian Lauren, I had no idea what to expect from it. I knew it was a memoir about adopting a special needs child, but that generic description hardly does the book justice.
I had a hard time identifying with the author, Jillian, at first. I haven’t read her first memoir, Some Girls: My Life in a Harem, and her experiences were just so totally foreign to me…until she got to the part about wanting to be a mom.
If you’ve ever struggled with infertility, let me warn you, you’re going to get a bit teary. I know I did, remembering the disappointment of my “failure” to get pregnant month after month for over a year. My own infertility story had a different kind of happy ending, as I got pregnant with TJ after my hysterosalpingogram (HSG) at the beginning of our infertility testing. (How unfair, by the way, that the husband gets tested by going into a room with leather seats, dirty magazines, and dirty videos while the wife has to lie on a metal table and let a stranger inflate a balloon all up into her lady bits.) Jillian’s infertility story was painful at a biological level for her and her husband, but it was the beginning of a whole other story, a story of adoption.
Jillian’s story, once she and her husband Scott (from the band Weezer) adopt Tariku from Ethiopia, is relatable on many different levels, even if not in the biographical details. Her emotional struggle seemed a lot like postpartum depression was for me. The barrage of unsolicited advice from well-meaning but clueless people is something any mother can sympathize with. The mixed bag of conflicting emotions that come along with parenting a child with special needs…well, I can identify with that as well.
I read a number of passages aloud to my husband while sitting in bed reading each night for the last week. Of course, I can’t locate any of them now, while I’m typing up my review. But I keep coming back to this one, which I think is worth sharing:
I am no Gwyneth Paltrow after all… I just want to be home. I don’t want any more public meltdowns… I want to slide quietly into invisibility.
Who hasn’t felt like this at least once? (Admittedly, I would never want to be like St. Gwyneth in the first place, but the rest of it applies.)
Who Should Read Everything You Ever Wanted?
I would recommend this book to prospective adoptive parents, adoptive parents already working through an attachment disorder with one or more of their children, parents whose children have sensory processing disorder (SPD) or other pervasive development disorders, and any other parents who could use both perspective and commiseration concerning their own parenting challenges. I would caution against reading this book if you are currently struggling with infertility and have not yet come to terms with how the future of your family is going to look, as it did trigger my own memories of that time in my life, but I’ve gotten through the other side already. It might be too painful if your feelings are still quite raw on the subject.
Enter to Win a Copy of Everything You Ever Wanted
Here’s your chance to win your own copy of Everything You Ever Wanted by Jillian Lauren. Use the Rafflecopter app below to enter as many times as you wish until 12:00 am ET on May 19, 2015. No purchase necessary. Contest open to US entrants 18 years and older. Winner will be chosen and displayed on the Rafflecopter ad and contacted via email, Twitter, and/or Facebook once the contest period ends, based on contact information provided through the winner’s method(s) of entry. Winner must reply with shipping address by 5:00 pm ET on May 26, 2015 so I can provide the information to Global Influence, which will be responsible for prize fulfillment. I will reply to acknowledge receipt of winner’s shipping address. I am not responsible for technical or other problems that interfere with your ability to enter the giveaway or the winner’s ability to respond to notification of their win by the May 26 deadline.