Everyone hears the negative stories on surrogacy. The story we hear is when the surrogate bonds with the baby or refuses to give the baby up. I recall watching a Dr Phil show years ago where a surrogate refused to give up the twins she was carrying for another couple. It is, I have to say at the top of my “worry” list. It would be less worrisome if it was a sister, family member or best friend carrying your child as a life long relationship has been developed. But I did wonder how it would be where people met initially purely for the purpose of surrogacy.
When I met my previous surrogate who in the end was unable to carry due to her own health issues – it was something I was very open about and wondered how she would cope, although she LOVED being pregnant and she was looking forward to it again, I still wondered. I also researched a lot, and discussed and read in forums the viewpoints of these beautiful surrogate ladies. Some had never thought of surrogacy until their best friends couldn’t fall pregnant, or their sister or sister in law had issues with fertility or illness. But regardless of where the relationship arose, the answers have been the same. This baby is not mine.
Gestational surrogacy is where someone else provides their biological genetic embryo’s to be transferred into the surrogate. So although the surrogate is carrying this child, it is not genetically their own child. I still however know what it feels like to have a child grow inside you, feel the kicks, the movements and lets not forget the sleepless nights and kicks in the ribs! There is no denying you are carrying a child! So I still wondered how the surrogate would cope with doing this?
I recently followed a blog of a surrogate who had given birth to twins. She was completely prepared that she may have overwhelming emotion when she returned home. How would she cope now the child is born – what now? She recalled herself and her support network were prepared for there to be grief, upset and a multitude of emotions. What did she feel most? She felt guilt. Not guilt for giving birth to the baby – but guilt that she should have felt more attached! This was not something I had expected. She explained relief and guilt. Relief it was a success, joy that she could return to her own family, but guilt that she didn’t feel the same kind of love she felt for her own children. She explained it was love, but not the same. And it never felt the same. She cared for the child as she would an aunty, but was very happy to return to her normal life without any grief or depression. Overwhelming joy that she had given the gift of life.
I really wasn’t expecting that response! I also am sure it isn’t always the way, however most surrogates do state the same type of connections.
One beautiful surrogate who has been an altruistic surrogate twice here in Australia provided the most meaningful explanation to me. She was often asked the question by her family, friends and colleagues – I couldn’t do it? How can you give the baby up? Her response and explanation to me to ease my mind was this; I am a surrogate, I want to give my intended parents the joy of a child – I am not carrying this child to be a mother. I am NOT giving this baby up, I am giving this baby BACK! This is their child, not mine – I am simply babysitting for a while while they are unable – when they are ready, I am just giving their baby back 🙂
I try to remember that, and also share that with people who are startled by my decision. From a surrogates perspective, I am not giving this baby up, I am giving it back 🙂