Was it hard to give up the baby?
This is usually the first question people ask me when they’ve found out I’ve been a surrogate before. I delivered a baby girl for my Intended Parents in October of last year. After several months of delay, we transferred in February of 2010 and were pregnant on the first try. I remember telling the Intended Mother and friend, E, that the transfer worked and she cried and squealed with joy. I cried on the phone too; it was better than I’d ever imagined.
I was there when the Reproductive Endocrinologist showed us the two embryos we’d be transferring. Baby L’s very first portrait session. I saw the word “pregnant” pop up on a pregnancy test and ran around the house waving a stick I’d peed on yelling, “IT WORKED!!! Albert, it worked!!! They’re gonna have a baby!!!” I felt sick in the mornings, craved ice cream and watched my belly grow as that child took shape in my womb. I can understand why people question a surrogate’s attachment (or rather lack thereof) to a child they’ve helped bring into the world. I see where it’s hard to comprehend that you’re not giving this baby up, you’re giving it back. Though I care for Baby L and her parents, she was not ever mine. I do feel a sense of pride and joy at seeing her. Nine months of hanging out with someone makes them kind of grow on you. I have friends that commend me on what I’ve done but always assure me that they could never do it themselves. I don’t think they mean it in a bad way, but it does bring to the table the topic of what makes a surrogate do what they do.
For me, my motivation to help a family came when I read an article in a magazine about surrogacy. I cried reading the story of a couple that was able to have the family they’d longed for with the help of a surrogate. I’ve always been a fan of pregnancy and I own my love for maternity clothes. The moment you announce that you’re pregnant, you stop sucking in and people are nicer to you! Really though, I had thoroughly enjoyed my pregnancies and had extremely easy labor and deliveries. I also had a handful of friends that were trying to get pregnant and had months of disappointment and hurt beneath their belts. Standing by and not being able to fix it made me feel helpless. Knowing that I might be able to help someone like these couples gave me hope.
We met E&J and spent the next several months getting to know them and their families. The calls from E were spent listening and discussing her dreams and hopes. My heart was filled with longing for this to work. As Baby L grew, so did the joy in her parents’ hearts. The day of her birth cemented my reasons for pursuing surrogacy. The look of pure love on each of their faces as they held their daughter left me bathed in such a sense of accomplishment and happiness. Someone else was able to experience the love I felt when I held each of my own children.
In the next few days, I visited with friends and my own family. My children needed their mommy and I was able to return to them after a couple of days in the hospital. Leaving without a baby was not as weird as I thought it would be. Somehow, knowing that she had gone home with her family replaced any feelings of awkwardness that might have otherwise been there. Seeing her pictures with outfits her mother had been waiting months to put her in brought tears of joy to my eyes. Never once did I feel pangs of hurt that baby L was with her family. In truth, I wouldn’t have had time to dwell on it anyway as my own 3 children keep me very busy. It’s funny how quickly you can recover when you can sleep through the night immediately after delivery!
So what was it like to “give up the baby?”It was like placing the last piece of a puzzle into place before you stand back to admire the fruits of your labor (pardon the pun!) It was watching a family be created and one of the greatest days of my life aside from my own children being born and the day my husband agreed to put up with me for better or worse. It was, in short, pure bliss. I feel incredibly blessed to have been apart of it and am thankful to be apart of baby L’s life as she grows.
Surrogacy is such a beautiful thing.