Exciting, scary, overwhelming… putting your surrogacy into words that others can understand can be really, really, hard.
Explaining surrogacy to someone who a) already has a child, b) doesn’t really understand infertility or even c) loves you very much, can be really difficult and emotionally demanding. Surrogacy is a process that is really difficult, even for those currently going through it- so explaining it to your friends and family may seem overwhelming if you don’t quite know how to strike up that particular conversation.
Most people are thrilled just about anytime they see a pregnant lady bopping about her daily routine but try explaining that the baby in your belly isn’t actually yours, and you may get a few odd looks. While we firmly believe that no surrogacy actually requires explanation to anyone who isn’t the intended parents or firmly in your corner, many surrogates feel compelled to share their personal journey with others. Which is completely understandable. Here are 5 ways to help best explain what you’re going through to people you really care about.
5 Tips to Explain Your Surogacy
Remember- You don’t owe anyone an explanation
You don’t have to disclose to every Tina, Jan, and Harriet that your pregnant with another couple’s baby. Sometimes just taking the compliment that there are people in the world who are happy to see a healthy, pregnant woman is good enough. If it’s a casual interaction, you don’t have to get personal if you don’t want to or feel like you lack the emotional energy to do so. This journey belongs to you and the intended parents alone.
Ignorance isn’t always bliss
Sometimes people can seem callous or insensitive purely because they don’t actually understand how surrogacy works. Despite its growing popularity and acceptance, surrogacy went undiscussed openly for a very long time. Taking the time to educate people on the process and on the real world devastations of infertility can occasionally help them become more comfortable with the situations. Sometimes, people just have no idea that what they’re saying could be taken as offensive.
Share your story
Remember why you chose to become a surrogate in the first place. Helping to bring new life into the world is something really special that (obviously) not all people are able to do. Take pride in knowing that you are bringing joy into the lives of others and are in charge of a child’s wellbeing. Don’t be afraid to share your good news! People that love and support you will be able to have kind and open conversations about your choice. Few people are able to look at surrogacy from a surrogate’s point of view! So, they may have a ton of questions. Always be an advocate for yourself and your cause, but if the situation gets too tough, or too personal, never hesitate to put an abrupt end to the conversation.
Set boundaries early
It’s perfectly okay to tell people that you’re uncomfortable answering certain questions. Saying something like “I don’t feel like that’s appropriate to discuss” or “I’m not comfortable talking about that” are both really acceptable ways to set the boundaries on a conversation. If you’re feeling uncomfortable, or someone continues to press you for information after you’ve clearly told them you’d rather not, walk away. Just because you’ve chosen to be a surrogate doesn’t mean that you have to put your wellbeing on the line to satisfy another’s curiosity.
Take care of yourself, and the baby, first
Ultimately, what matters right now is the health and safety of yourself and the baby. Do the things that make you happy and enrich your own life. People will always judge- even if they mean well. Don’t forget how wonderful you are and how grateful the parents of the child will be. Infertility is a very hard situation to deal with (which could even cause depression among other feelings) and just like any other healthcare provider, you are putting your life on hold to improve another’s. If you feel burnt out or alone, try contacting your agency or setting up an appointment to talk to the people involved in your process. Remember that you have a support team and lean on them if need be.
The journey of surrogacy is something that is exceptionally special and very personal. So it can oftentimes be difficult to not only be able to explain what it’s like, but also hard for others to understand. Just remember that in the end- this journey is about the health and happiness of the child, and it belongs to you and the intended parents alone.