Becoming a surrogate mother is a big decision, and many considering this decision want to know what it is like to be a surrogate. In this blog series we hope to shed some light on the surrogacy process through the experiences of our past and current surrogates, Charity, Nicole and Jaime. To read previous posts from Jaime, click here.
Choosing to be a surrogate was a huge decision to begin with, but once I made that decision, the next obstacle was figuring out how in the world I was going to explain to Jayden, my son, what I was doing. At the time I was preparing for my first journey, Jayden was seven so he didn’t yet know the specifics of how babies were made. I decided I needed to take an approach that would not make him too confused.
As a singlemom, Jayden and I are very close, and I’m very honest with him about everything. He’s a lot like me in terms of wanting to help people out in any way he possibly can. I took the simple approach and told him that I would be traveling to California to meet with a doctor and a family that was struggling to have a son or daughter of their own to see if I’d be able to help them. He accepted that and didn’t really have much to say. After my transfer and confirmation of pregnancy, that was another story. Jayden knew I was pregnant, but now he was excited to have a brother or sister. I had to explain to him that I was carrying for a family that couldn’t, that I wouldn’t be able to bring this baby home when I delivered, and that this baby was going home with this other family. Understandably, this made Jayden confused and probably a little upset because he had wanted that brother or sister. I explained to him that this baby would not look like me or like him, and that it belongs to this other family that couldn’t get pregnant and grow the baby themselves. With that, he accepted and moved on to whatever he may have been doing at the time, like all seven-year-olds do.
Not having done surrogacy before, I didn’t know how much I could really tell people, other than my close family and friends, so I asked Jayden to keep it a secret. Once I was further along in the pregnancy, I let Jayden know that if he wanted to tell people he could. He lit up. It’s almost as if I took a weight off of his shoulders. I found out at his teacher conferences that he couldn’t wait to share with his class that, “My mom was having a baby for a family that couldn’t.” He was so proud and loved bragging about it. He was telling everyone and was no longer upset that we couldn’t keep this baby. It confirmed the joy I had throughout the journey and the reason why I chose to be a surrogate. In retrospect, I think it may have been even easier if I had explained the whole process to Jayden before the embryo transfer!
Jayden got to feel the baby kick, meet the parents, and, of course, hold the baby at the hospital. When the baby was around six months old, we traveled to New York to visit and see how much he had grown. Jayden loved spending time with the baby and getting to know them as a family.
For my second journey, Jayden was now 10 and was able to travel with me for the transfer and be a part of the whole process. He accompanied me to the clinic and waited on me hand and foot when we returned to the hotel after the transfer since he heard the doctor say I had to stay in bed. He’s such a caretaker.
For me, being completely open and honest with Jayden made the whole process easy to understand for him and made it comfortable for him to ask me questions when they came up. In my opinion, as you are determining how to tell your children about your decision to be a surrogate, consider being open and honest right from the beginning. Kids are smarter and more accepting than one might think.
If you’d like to learn more about the surrogacy process from Jaime or another former surrogate, call IARC at 763-494-8800.