It’s takes a village to raise a child…and to be surrogate. I’ll get to why I chose to become a surrogate later in this piece. If I rewind a bit, I’d like to start with my journey to get there. You can’t become a surrogate without having first become a mother. Reflecting back to those days of new and early motherhood, what comes back to me is how it took a village.
Support – there is such a broad interpretation of that word. Formally defined as, “give assistance to, enable to function or act”.
To be honest, that word rang through my brain constantly after the birth of my daughter. I was 29 years old and it was my first pregnancy, so support was all I could think about.
I needed guidance
I am the oldest sister out of 3 and with no mom, step mom, or grandmother; I felt like I was flapping in the wind. Thank goodness my best friend of 17 years was a three time mom and could be there for me. She really had a knack for calming me down when I was panicking, wondering how I was going to make it through birth.
As a first time mom, the thought was somewhat debilitating. I was so grateful to her, but she had a life, a busy life, with three kids. I hated feeling like I was bothering her, or taking up her time. My husband was working two jobs and I was working full time as well while I was pregnant. As excited as I was to be a mommy, I was anxious and I was nervous. Would I do everything right?
Friendship and support
Every time I had a doctor’s appointment to check on my daughter during the pregnancy, I would send a text to my best friend to let her know I was walking into the appointment, then copy and paste it to all my other friends, which was a small group of 4. Keeping them involved in the pregnancy helped ease my anxiety, and when I would get texts of encouragement or excitement back, it made me feel so much more at ease. I would breathe a sigh of relief and walk into the appointment.
Aria came on a cold day in March and I was over the moon – a baby girl, my baby girl. I promised to give her all I could, and love her enough for the whole world.
As I was thrusted into motherhood, I was overwhelmed. Actually that’s a bit of an understatement…. I was drowning. I had no idea what I was doing.
I didn’t know if Aria was eating enough, I had never breastfed before and didn’t know if she was getting enough milk at each feed. I wasn’t showering because, who showers after a newborn? What if she falls out of the crib when I’m in the shower? My husband, Chancen, was working and would get off late, so any free time I had I would try to sleep, but who can sleep when your newborn is next to you sleeping? I had to make sure she was breathing.
I wanted help but I didn’t want to burden anyone. I needed help but hated the thought of bugging anyone with my problems or feelings.
Luckily my two best friends visited me without me having to ask. They would take Aria and hold her, bathe her, just so I could have a minute. Just a minute to breathe and they would tell me how amazing I was doing. Looking back, without their support I don’t know how I would’ve survived. It takes a village to raise a child, but it also takes a village to even get to that point.
Why I chose to become a surrogate
A question I often get asked is why I chose to become a surrogate. Being a surrogate was a no brainer for me really. I adore my daughter and can’t even imagine an existence that she is not a part of. To think there are people out there who so desperately want to experience what I get to experience every day, and to no one’s fault, they just can’t. It’s not fair.
I would gladly lend my body to help complete a family
Surrogacy in light terms means that I’m the oven. The safe place for the baby to grow. In order to become a surrogate, I have to qualify.
- No complications in my own pregnancy
- Medically healthy and capable of carrying a pregnancy
- Pass a background check, home visit, and psychological screening
- Complete legal documentation
- Comply with prenatal and pregnancy medications
You are being trusted to carry someone’s whole world inside you. You need to pass every test to even get to that magical moment. Once all those qualifications are met, then you move onto legal which is drafting up legal documents and then you’re onto taking your medications to prep your body for the embryo transfer. Since you’re not getting pregnant the natural way, the medications are vital in helping the little baby grow and thrive until the placenta catches up and takes over.
FAQs I get as a surrogate
I get asked so many times,
“What is it like being pregnant with someone else’s child?”
“Do you get attached?”
“Is it hard to give the baby up?”
And I always say the same thing, being pregnant with someone else’s child is really the same as being pregnant with your own. You’re worried, anxious and cautious. I don’t get attached, if anything, I’m counting down the days until I’m watching baby and their parents become a family.
I am never giving the baby up, I’m giving the baby back to its family, and watching them reunite is the most amazing moment.
What is postpartum like as a surrogate?
After the baby is born, postpartum is astronomically different as a surrogate. It’s all about you and you can focus on your body without having to put all your energy and focus on a baby to care for. You can heal, sleep, eat, shower, literally everything without worrying about a newborn and the parents are over the moon enjoying the first moments and days of parenthood while you focus on yourself.
Although your mind may understand you don’t have a baby to care for, your body needs time to catch up.
The postpartum hormones kick in and so does the milk. That in itself is not without its own trials and tribulations. But with the amazing support from your village, it’s nothing you can’t handle.
Why surrogacy is worth it
The end result?! I was so overwhelmed with joy watching the two families I helped become whole that I basked in those emotions. The triumph I felt, the love, and happiness – watching the parents hold their new precious baby, crying and looking at them with such love and then looking at me with gratitude… there is nothing like it.
It is one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done, next to giving birth to my own daughter. But I couldn’t have done it without my support system.
To think back to my pregnancy with my daughter and both of my surrogacy journeys, the Bumpdate app would’ve been the answer to my prayers. I am pretty independent, but even when I feel like I need a shoulder to cry on, or some encouraging words of support from my friends and family, I’ll talk myself out of bothering them. I learned not too long ago that it is called, “people pleasing”, which I am getting better at not doing.
Everyone deserves to feel supported. Pregnancy is a vulnerable time, and having that support really does make a world of difference.
For more on surrogacy, read “A Third Heartbeat”.