My Big Fat Greek Wedding star Nia Vardalos underwent 13 failed attempts at in vitro fertilization (IVF) in a desperate bid to become a mother before realizing she would never be able to conceive a child. The actress went through years of secret injections and treatments as she attempted to become pregnant.
She tells Access Hollywood, "During my process of trying to be a mom I rarely talked about it, I kept it inside. I had a feeling of shame that is inexplicable to me now.
"I was actually at a Golden Globes party and I had just met Barbra Streisand and (my husband) Ian (Gomez) gave me the signal, because, at exactly 10pm, he had to give me the needle... Ian's pulling me away and I'm like, 'I'm talking to Barbra Streisand, are you kidding me?'
"I was so stubborn and stayed with the fertility treatments and then... an accident happened at the lab that was such a huge sign that I said, 'Got it!'"
Vardalos gave up on the treatments and instead began the process of adoption - and fell in love with a three-year-old child at a foster care facility who became her daughter in 2008.
She recalls, "They said, 'This child can be a little withdrawn, she does not speak, she's almost three years old... she's a little guarded...' We went for lunch together and we hung out with her and then I had to put her back in the car and wait to be matched by the state and, as I put her in the car, I leaned in and I tried to be maternal, nurturing... and I just said, 'See you later sweetie,' and she looked at me and said, 'Bye mommy'.
"We had 14 hours notice before she came to live with us. Ian came home from work that night... and we just made lists and we tore apart the guest room and put a blow-up bed in there."
However, the joy of parenthood had to wait because the couple quickly realized they had no idea what to feed their new houseguest or how to console her that night when she couldn't sleep.
The actress adds, "At the end of the first day she hadn't eaten anything. We finally held her in our arms to go to sleep and of course she cried through the night, she didn't ask for anyone and it was... you feel impotent, you feel powerless trying to comfort."
Vardalos eventually set up a bed in her daughter's room and slept there with her for weeks until the little girl, Illaria, felt at home and started to sleep through the night. The actress' struggles to become a mom and the challenges of adoption are chronicled in her new book Instant Mom.