A couple weeks back, the topic of RCH came up in a discussion on one of my Clubfoot support pages on Facebook. I believe it was concerning my review on the bar covers for the brace. A fellow mom, Lana Mayes, inquired about where to find the site. After a little while, she returned and asked if she could send me a copy of a book she had written. She decribed it as a parenting book that talks about her struggles with numerous aspects, Clubfoot being one of them.
About a week into my visit with my mom, it came in a the mail. It was beautifully wrapped, and included a delicious chocolate, bookmark and business card.
I decided to save the reading for the upcoming 9 hour flight to Germany I had coming up –but happily enjoyed the chocolate treat with more promptness.
Once we were settled in our airline seats, (and kids magically asleep!). I pulled out my copy of Trust Your Melody by Lana Mayes.
The first thing I noticed was how somber the cartoon people on the front cover appeared. The older boy (sporting his clubfoot brace) looks almost angry, the younger baby has visible tears running down his sad face, and the mom…she looks done.
My one year old loves the cover! I don’t know if it’s the bright hot pink background that draws her in, or the cartoon picture (she does point to the boy in Boots and Bar just like hers and lights up) but she has stolen this book from me numerous times.
By the end of the second chapter, titled ‘Welcome to the Club’ I was in tears. I read it with my mouth hanging open, while actually nodding at the paperback in my hands. Although I’m right around 18 months past Penelope’s prenatal diagnosis, I recalled each and every feeling and thought that Lana describes. I easily could have written that chapter.
In similar fashion, we were clued in that SOMETHING was questionable, but left to wonder what the heck that meant. She tells of having to assure herself that it’s ok to grieve. That one took me awhile. There were so many people, people in my actual life, dealing with much bigger issues, but that didn’t stop my world from flipping upside down and worrying about what was to come. Clubfoot, or any other challenge that life throws you and your offspring, it is OK to grieve what you imagined, and what will never be.
After that chapter, I had to put it down. One, because I didn’t care for the crying that was taking place in a public, and quite crowded, space.. and two because I it was clear I needed to join the kids in slumber on this redeye.
A few days later, at our new 1am, I discovered the hell of jetlag. Sleep was nowhere in sight. For about 3 nights in a row, I was up until nearly 5am. In those 3 nights, I breezed through Trust Your Melody, soaking in every story. Much I could relate to, some I just wanted to reach out and hug this poor mama and thank my lucky stars that I didn’t deal with the same trials.
It took a few chapters to realize that it isn’t written in chronological order. Each chapter is a different subject matter with stories and personal recounts jam packed. I was slightly confused when her oldest Zachary, was 1 at the end of a chapter, then suddenly a few weeks old in the start of the next. Also, the book begins with her friend Melody, encouraging her to take a therapeutic journal writing class, which eventually led to Lana realizing she has stories to share, and a book that needed writing.
This friend, Melody, is not the Melody she is encouraging you to trust, of course. She is referring to the little ‘Melody’ we each have inside of us. The wisdom filled, positive voice that’s always there when we need it most.
Less than a third of the book is actually directly about clubfoot, but it’s still a large contributing factor to understanding the depths of challenge that Lana dealt with as a mother to two (under 2!)
Lana is so real about every aspect surrounding her mommyhood. She gives lots of details about the tumultuous second pregnancy, with son Thomas.
I laughed, I cried, I audibly said ‘yep!’ as she described a few of the physical ailments I, too, limped through, (seriously, Symphasis Pubis Dysfunction is so awful…) all while being in complete awe of everything she was dealing with at once.
She seems to have a wonderfully loving husband, though doesn’t touch on him too much, clearly keeping the focus on her and her struggles.
Based on the cover, I wondered if she was a single mother, but when she does mention him, she speaks very highly. There is also a serene beach family photo in the back of the book.
There are two chapters I love the most. Chapter 6 ‘Broken Down Body’ goes into great detail about the bad and ugly no one likes to hear- unless you need to be reminded that you aren’t alone. Pregnancy, labor, delivery and motherhood takes its toll, much of that is normal, but some things need medical attention. Fecal Matter Transplant- did you know that was a thing? Me neither.. now I do.
Chapter 8 ‘My Mummy Mask’ is so raw. We all wear masks, for better or worse. Very few people will ever see your completely authentic, take it or leave it, self. Moms in particular get so much pressure to perform a certain way, and do so with such a smile.
Lana says it best:
“... by fiercely protecting my ‘privacy’ and not being honest, very few people knew how much support I needed.”
We dwell about how no one gets it and how alone we feel, but the truth is, we don’t know what's behind everyone’s mask. Nor do we know how much better off we would be if we let people in to help us. Even if just to your medical staff, don’t keep the whole world believing your façade.
There is also a chapter about tips and tricks that she accumulated through her personal life. A bit of it is about how to deal with Reflux, but most of it is about clubfoot. I loved reading her advice. She is further in her journey than us, in fact, her boy ends his time wearing braces in just a few days!
She ends the book with a unique kind of glossary. Using words or phrases she discussed throughout the book, she gives HER definition to them - what they meant in conjunction with her life.
It is a nice quick read with just 127 pages. You don’t have to be left guessing how things manifest, because she has a beautiful blog to keep us all updated!
You can buy a copy of Trust Your Melody for $30, purchased via her personal website or download a free sneak preview! An E-book version will be available soon, according to Lana.
I would recommend this book to anyone in the first year or so of motherhood. It’s a nice reminder that we aren’t alone, that you can DO this, and that this too, shall pass. I wouldn’t want to gift this to someone with the birth of a baby still on the horizon; it may be a bit too scary without your own stories to draw from.
I plan on holding on to my copy and can’t wait to find just the right mom to pass it along to - Meanwhile, Lana is giving away a copy of Trust Your Melody to one of our readers WORLD-WIDE! The winner may select either a paperback book or an ebook (which will be available in early December).
Read on to see how you can enter!
To enter the giveaway, you must leave a comment in this entry as instructed by the Rafflecopter below, then leave the name you commented under and your email in the box in the Rafflecopter entry. (This allows us to contact you if you win!) This will open up additional optional entries to increase your odds of winning.
This giveaway is open to readers WORLD WIDE and will end just before midnight ET on 12-8-15.
The winner will be notified by email within 24 hours after the end of the giveaway. In order to claim the giveaway prize, the winner will need to respond within 24 hours of notification, or an alternate winner will be selected.
Once the winner has responded and confirmed, their first name will be posted on our Giveaways page.
Good luck everyone!
a Rafflecopter giveaway