I'm now almost 4 weeks out from delivery and I FINALLY feel like I'm ready to start writing and talking about my experience as a surrogate. I want to start with the questions I received the most while I was pregnant.
Bear with me. I'm a photographer, not a blogger, but I'm trying!
(Fair warning, I'll likely post my maternity pictures on every single blog post because Megan Mullins Photography did a freaking amazing job on them and she deserves all the praise.)
"How are you going to just give the baby away?"
Man, If I heard this one time I definitely heard it EVERY TIME.
I went into my pregnancy as a surrogate with the mindset that it was never my baby and he was not mine to keep nor give. This baby was no genetic relation to me and was not mine in any way. I knew that I was able to have a very healthy pregnancy and I desperately wanted to provide a baby for a family that could not otherwise have one on their own. This overshadowed any worry I had about "giving the baby away."
I can say that many of my friends and family were genuinely concerned that once I delivered the baby I would want to keep him or have a hard time emotionally processing letting him go. This is something I consistently prayed that God would prepare my heart for. I never anticipated having a hard time letting him go. Albeit, he was still growing in my belly for 9 months and pregnancy is a super hormonal and emotional ordeal so I understand why people would think that.
Several hours after delivery I was given the opportunity to see and hold him for the first time (along with a few other times later during the hospital stay.) The look on his mom's face when she pushed his basinet into my room will forever be imprinted on my heart. She glowed. She was so obviously the mother to this baby. I held him and admired his little nose and soft hair but I never for a second felt a motherly connection to him or felt sad that I wasn't keeping him. The love I had for this baby was/is similar to the love you would have for your nieces and nephews or maybe a friend's baby. I was overjoyed that he was here and happy and healthy, but I certainly didn't want to take him home and change his diapers. Seeing him with his parents really made all the pieces of the puzzle fit together for me.
"Do you know the parents?"
Yes and no. We both used an agency called Open Arms based in Florida. (More later on the entire process of using an agency.) Part of this agency's job is to match intended parents with potential surrogates. We matched through Open Arms and began communicating from there. When I decided to become a surrogate I did not know them but I did by the time we started IVF and I still talk to baby's mom every few days.
"how much do you get paid for that?"
Cringe. I was only asked this question a handful of times but it was so uncomfortable every single time. Surrogates are almost always compensated for pain and suffering during pregnancy. It's not a secret. Honestly, it's well deserved. A very quick google search can tell you everything you could want to know. The problem is that you would never (should never) walk up to someone and ask them what their salary is at their day job, and this is no different. It's just weird.
"Will you be involved with the baby as he grows up?"
This is entirely dependent on the preferences of both the parents and the surrogate. These conversations typically occur during the contract phase.
In our case, the baby's parents plan on being very open and honest with him about how he came into the world from a very early age. The entire process from making an embryo to delivery is completely miraculous and they want him to grow up knowing that.
We currently communicate on a weekly basis. Mom sends pictures of him and gives me updates on the little things he does. It is SO SO cool to see him grow and change. They are not local to Alabama so seeing him in person will be very, very few and far between. I'm looking forward to sending him Christmas and birthday gifts and hopefully little letters and pictures when he's older.
The extent of our relationship was very up in the air during most of the pregnancy. There were several unexpected changes and circumstances that led me to believe I likely would not have a relationship with him or his parents. We overcame those obstacles very quickly following delivery and I'm so thankful we did. Now that we do have a relationship of open communication, I can't imagine not having that.
"Will you do it again?"
The short answer is NO. The long answer is probably not. I decided to become a surrogate because I felt called to do so in this particular season of my life... (more on that later) so I don't want to say that I absolutely wouldn't do it again if I felt called again. I swore I would never be pregnant again after I had Rylee but yet here we are. The ongoing joke is if the good Lord calls me to be a surrogate again, He and I are really gonna have to talk about it first!
Being a surrogate is A. LOT! It's a lot of time, a lot of stress, a lot of unknowns, a lot of work, a lot on your body. It's a lot. And it is certainly not to be taken lightly.
It is also easily one of the most amazing things I've ever done and I am so grateful to have had this opportunity. I have learned more about myself and my faith in the last year and a half than ever before.
But honestly, I'm also glad it's over. I'm ready to go back to my life.
Meeting the baby <3
You'll see throughout my blog posts that I will never post pictures of the baby's face or give any identifying information on him or his parents. This is to protect their privacy.
If you made it this far, Thanks for reading!
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