Former "Law & Order" star Elisabeth Rohm believes 'when women stop talking, women stop being heard.' So after opening up about her infertility struggles on a People.com blog, she decided to tell her full story of how in vitro fertilization (IVF) helped her have her daughter Easton August in 2008.
The award-winning actress has a recurring role on Lifetime's "The Client List" and recently penned a new book "Baby Steps: Having the Child I Always Wanted (Just Not As I Expected)" (Da Capo Lifelong Books; $24.99), where she talks about her journey with IVF.
I recently caught up with Rohm about her new book, motherhood and how she balances it all. Here's what she had to say:
Q. What inspired you to want to write a book about your IVF experience? Why do you think many women feel shameful about the process?
"Initially, 'People' had asked me to write just a few blogs for their website, focusing on motherhood. As I started to write and gain readers, I felt as though I became a voice of integrity. Through writing, it allowed me to reflect on my treatment and essentially every experience that has made me the woman I am today. The silence needed to be broken regarding the taboo issue of infertility, and the response was profound. It is not something to be ashamed about. Women these days CAN have it all -- career, family, etc. -- it just takes knowledge and preparation. My blogs helped other women realize that they are not alone in dealing with certain issues, therefore helping them to power forward, hopefully with a smile on their face."
Q. How do you balance your career with your family?
"Before Easton was even born, I made a commitment to myself that she would be my first priority no matter what. Balance can be tricky, so having your priorities in line is a definite necessity. When I have a business meeting or feel the need to see a friend, I don't hesitate to do so. And when Easton feels the need to have some independence, she definitely lets me know as well! Communication is key."
Q. Many women struggle with guilt. How do you handle "mommy guilt"?
"I guess I handle it by giving Easton 150 percent when I'm with her. If I have to do something without her, I try not to feel bad about it because when I AM with her, she knows nothing comes before her. That's the way to live. Focus on what you're doing right then.".
Q. What have you learned about life since becoming a mom? What has Easton taught you about life?
"Easton has taught me how to come from love and not think so much. I'm still working on that. She teaches me that every day because she's so full of love and wants to make everyone happy. I'm trying to let go of having a mental approach to life and instead am learning from her to have a heart approach."
Q. What is your favorite downtime activity to do together?
"There isn't necessarily a favorite. I just love that my downtime is being with her. When she has her downtime, it's all about finding fun and diverse things to do with her, from walking on the beach to coloring or teaching her how to ride her bike. I delight in entertaining her."
Q. What advice do you have for women going through the IVF journey?
"Think happy thoughts. It's a recipe for success in everything in life. When it comes to wanting a child and lusting for a child, you can arrive at a place where you're putting yourself through too much. You need to go easy on yourself. You're on a medical journey -- infertility is a medical condition and you don't know what the outcome is going to be. Just keep having hope."
Q. What's up next for you?
"I'm currently in the roller coaster of promoting my book, which will probably last throughout the summer. The movie that I just finished filming with director David O. Russell, "American Hustle," will be released around the holidays. In addition, I am doing a movie in July, and hopefully there's a lot more to come!"