Grace's Journey 9JUNE 2016
It’s hard for me to believe that as of mid-July my experience as a surrogate will be over! It has me reflecting on why I decided to become a surrogate, and why I believed it so important to be able to do this for my friends.
Anyone who’s visited this website can clearly see the words “Family Matters” underneath the firm’s name. For me, it’s more than a motto, and it doesn’t just apply to my family. Because family matters, my heart broke when my sister’s son was stillborn. My brother and I wracked our brains trying to find some way to help her through something no parent should ever have to experience. Gift cards were sent, we were in e-mail contact with her local friends to try to arrange for meals to be dropped off to her and her husband, all while trying to respect my sister’s wishes to be left alone to have time to process their loss and grieve the death of their son. And, with nothing else to do – we waited. Waited for contact from our sister. Waited to hear from someone that she was crawling out of the dark abyss of despair. And, we wondered. Wondered if she would have the strength to try again to have children. Wondered if this experience had so scarred her, that she would shy away from the possibility of it happening again. My brother and I discussed what wonderful parents they could be, and how we hoped they would find the strength to try again – even knowing the ensuing pregnancy until delivery would be torturous for them. All of these things brought to the forefront of my mind again how important family is; how family matters.
My sister announced her second pregnancy in June of last year – right before I started actively discussing becoming a surrogate. She had passed her first trimester and believed it “safe” to start telling everyone she was again expecting. I was overjoyed for her, and could picture the family holidays and events with her and her child throughout the ensuing years. Unfortunately, she lost the baby in November. I am not sure why, and with her heart now completely destroyed, have veered away from asking questions, instead focusing on trying to help her make it through the day, every day.
A few months after my sister’s son being born stillborn, my heart again broke, this time when my friend’s newborn daughter lived for one hour before passing away. My mind could not fully comprehend how something like that could happen, especially to someone who would be such a wonderful parent! It made me fully appreciate my daughters, and how I had them with no complications; how they are happy, healthy, and normal. I wanted my friend to have that too, and as information became available, it became apparent that her chances of having a baby by traditional means were slim without significant risk to her.
That is why I volunteered to be her surrogate. At first, she wasn’t ready to believe that to have a baby she would have to miss out on the experience of carrying it herself. As time went by, the desire to have a baby outweighed the desire to carry the baby herself. She began to actively look into having someone carry her child for her. Again, I volunteered to be that person.
I did not volunteer because I love being pregnant; nor is it because I’m young and my body will bounce back quickly. I volunteered to carry her child because I am in the unique position of being able to give my friend the one thing she cannot get for herself. The amount of time the process takes for me is a small price to pay in helping to give my friend her heart’s desire.
I did not go into this process with rose-colored lenses over my eyes. I knew it was not going to be easy. But, I cannot help but believe my friend’s joy will far surpass anything negative I may experience, including the swollen legs and feet I’m currently experiencing! I knew I would have to answer an unprecedented amount of questions throughout this process to friends/family members/business associates and others, especially as it became evident I was pregnant (personally, I love telling people that the baby isn’t mine when they question me being pregnant). I knew I would have to find effective ways to explain this to my children, who are still young enough to ask a plethora of questions, but who have dealt with this process far better than I ever dreamed they would. My youngest DID tell her teacher that her mommy was pregnant, but when questioned about what we were naming it, was quick to say that it wasn’t our baby and we weren’t keeping it.
Family matters. Not just words on a website; words that encompass all I believe in. If my sister could be brave enough to try to have another baby, and unfortunately lose another baby, I knew I could brave pregnancy and delivery in my 40’s.