How has this pregnancy differed or been similar to my own pregnancies…

Going into surrogacy I didn’t initially think it would be much different than my own pregnancies. It was very different for me physically and emotionally. Taking a daily injection for 10 weeks, that alone was quite a journey. The hormones from the injections seemed to amplify my pregnancy symptoms. I was more nauseous and fatigued than with my own pregnancies. I wasn’t able to eat anything, and smells were very hard to deal with. I felt very sick/nauseous until I was done with the injections. I was a lot more aware of my body with this pregnancy than my own. I couldn’t wait to purchase a Doppler to hear baby’s heartbeat to ensure baby was still growing and also to share with the parents. Of course, you still have the pregnancy aches and groans that are typical for any pregnancy but they seemed to be more noticeable with this pregnancy. I feel this had more to do with my age than anything else.

 

Conversations with family, friends, or strangers around carrying a surrogacy pregnancy.

My parents were the first to find out our decision to pursue surrogacy. My mom was fully on board but my dad was not. My dad was skeptical and didn’t really have a reason for his disapproval but he also respected our wishes. There were some members of my family who already knew that being a surrogate had been a desire of mine for quite some time, so it didn’t come as a shock. On the flip side the ones that didn’t know, it was very much news to them…ha-ha. I only really shared our intentions to do surrogacy after we were already in the process. Truthfully I only shared this information with members of my family who we are close with. I only furnished this information on a need to know basis, because our decision wasn’t up for discussion. They were all excited for us but they had so many questions, but who doesn’t. Our friends were very excited for us and proud of us for doing something so giving. They also had a ton of questions, but were so genuinely happy for us.

 

Do people ask a lot of questions, if so, what do they ask and how do you handle that.

After we confirmed pregnancy, it wasn’t hard to explain surrogacy and at first I loved to talk about it whenever it came up. It did get hard at times to share the news because not everyone reacts the same way.  There were times when people would be so excited and ask a ton of questions and offer their congratulations and then others would react totally different. I would get the not so pleasant reaction or questions like “why wouldn’t they just adopt”?, “how does your husband feel about you doing this”?, or my favorite….just a simple “why”?. Which I always took personally because that was such a simple question but to me it was loaded with negativity. I had to learn to combat that with a very simple but loaded response and it went something like this… “Why not”? Ha-ha…..That was usually the end of those conversations. There were times when people would say Congrats on the pregnancy and I would just say Thank you! I didn’t want to get into a conversation about it in some moments. Although some people didn’t/don’t understand our decision, we knew that we felt led to pursue surrogacy and that’s all that matters. For the other people who were genuinely curious about surrogacy we got questions like “what made you all want to do this?”, “what are the parents like?”, “do you think you would do surrogacy again?”, “how can you carry a baby for a different ethnicity than yourself? “and etc. There were a lot of people who were confused about the process or uneducated on the subject of surrogacy. I was glad to answer questions when people genuinely wanted to know.

 

Did you and your IP’s find out the gender of the baby, if so, did they do a gender reveal? What was it like?

We did a double embryo transfer and we knew up front that we transferred a boy and girl embryo. We went in for the pregnancy confirmation ultrasound, they confirmed that there was only one gestational sac present. The parents then opted to wait and do a gender reveal. They did a private reveal with just the 2 of them. I went to an ultrasound studio and had them do an ultrasound, and we got the sex of baby. I then called the bakery of the parents’ choice and gave them the gender and they did a cake reveal at home. Baby is a girl!! They were so excited! They sent us pictures of them cutting the cake and the reveal. We live too far apart to have participated in the reveal but we were glad they got to enjoy that intimate time together.

 

What is it like talking to your kids about carrying a surrogacy pregnancy?

 

We have 2 daughters ages 10 & 4. They are too young to totally understand surrogacy in its entirety to but my oldest understood that the baby wouldn’t be ours. When we initially talked to our oldest about surrogacy, she was very apprehensive and didn’t really want to discuss it. In her mind, she thought something might happen to me and was scared she would lose me. Another factor that was hard to grasp was doing this for complete strangers she had never met. We were so glad when our IP’s could finally meet our children so that our kids could get to know them. After they met, my oldest was definitely on board with the process. My youngest didn’t understand but we kept explaining about the baby and how she didn’t belong to us. It was exciting for her to see my belly growing and she would talk to the baby and kiss my belly. We were glad to include my children in the process and make sure they were comfortable.

 

What has your relationship been like with your IP(s)?

I must admit that we were surprised at how well things have gone with our IP’s. We were apprehensive before we were matched that things might not go well, because I saw so many horror stories in other surrogate groups. I was anxious going into matching but when we first met them, we instantly hit it off. The relationship with them has been great every step of the way. They are so great and we couldn’t have asked for better intended parents to be matched with. They are invested in making sure I as the surrogate is taken care of and doing well as well as the health of the baby. They treated me like family, and have become like family to us! We are glad to be a part of their lives and for them to be a part of ours.

 

What are three things you’d like to share with someone who is considering becoming a surrogate?

  • Surrogacy is not easy but it’s worthwhile!
  • The joy you get from carrying a life for someone else is unexplainable!
  • Don’t be afraid of what others think, stand strong in your decision, and know that there is a whole community of surrogates to lean on!

 

Is there a myth about surrogacy you wish you could debunk, if so, what is it and why?

One of the things that people asked that made me cringe the most is, “how are you comfortable giving up a baby”? Ugh!!! I would have to suck in air before I would respond. There will be some people who feel like you are giving the baby away to strangers and that is the furthest from the truth. You can’t “give away” something that never belonged to you, and that is my motto. The baby I carried didn’t have my genetics so therefore, she isn’t mine to “give away”. I wish more people could understand that. I know some women who feel like “well if I carried the baby I couldn’t give the baby up”. I would say “surrogacy isn’t for everybody” or “I don’t feel the same because I have a relationship with the intended parents and I’m happy to be doing this”.   There are a lot of misconceptions about surrogacy and I wish people had more of an open mind about it.