All surrogacy journeys are stressful at one point or another. Here’s a list of 7 ways to treat yourself to peace of mind during this time and beat surrogacy stress.
Surrogacy is an exciting and wonderful experience, but it can also be incredibly stressful. Between regular appointments, generalized worry, work schedules, and fielding family and friend’s frequent questions, the process can quickly become overwhelming. Learn how to beat the stress as it arises, or even before it comes up with these quick pointers.
1. Find an Agency
The first step in eliminating a huge amount of stress that comes with a surrogacy journey is finding the right agency for you and your family. Agencies are a massive resource for intended parents. They not only help to find you a surrogate, but any agency worth its salt will also help guide you through the entire process, start to finish.
This means that they will help you connect with your surrogate, arrange travel plans, or advise on what travel might be necessary. Certain agencies also provide medical and emotional support for you and your family throughout the process. The best agencies will help you find sperm or egg donors, provide gamete retrieval services, and ensure that there is a sound pre-birth order in a place where applicable. Covering all the bases from legal, to medical.
2. Find Ways to Disconnect
If you’ve found an agency and are preparing to start your journey as an intended parent, it’s important to find healthy ways to disconnect from the stress and anticipation now. Few, if any, surrogacy programs are without complications– this is just a normal part of the process. It’s okay to get frustrated or become worried during this time. The stress is perfectly normal, but it’s better for you and your family if you find some good outlets.
Journaling, drawing, reading, knitting, baking, talking, meditating, walking, crafting… there are a number of really great hobbies and skills that you can focus on to help take your mind off of the process now and again. Giving yourself adequate space to deal with the difficult road ahead.
3. Talk to a Therapist
A great agency will provide you and your family with a therapist or counselor to help you through the surrogacy process, however, it’s not unusual for people to rely on their own therapist as well. As surrogacy is a massive part of your life, it’s not the only aspect of it. There are any number of things that you’ll need to be able to simultaneously focus on and deal with, all at the same time you’re continuing your surrogacy.
Sound overwhelming? Well, that’s because it definitely can be. As an intended parent, chances are you’ve already spent years struggling with the difficulties of an infertility diagnosis. This can often lead to depression, anxiety, or despondency. Again, these emotions are completely normal, don’t shy away from them. Instead, seek out a professional that can help you work through them so you can enjoy what’s to come.
4. Find Online Communities
There are hundreds of thousands of intended parents who can closely empathize with your situation. Sometimes just speaking with someone who has experienced surrogacy in the past can help ease a troubled mind. Knowing that you can confide in someone who understands is a great way to be able to deal with any issues that may arise. This is also a great way to virtually connect while face-to-face meetings are stalled due to coronavirus.
There are a number of online communities that cater to intended parents throughout every part of a surrogacy process. From finding the right agency to choosing a surrogate, what to expect throughout the pregnancy, and finally bringing your little one home. Surely there is someone who has experienced a similar situation who is ready and happy to chat.
Let yourself be excited. Sometimes, after dealing with failed past pregnancies, or any other fertility disappointments, it’s difficult to let yourself trust this type of happiness. That’s okay too. Allow yourself the space to create hopeful moments and indulge in small joys as they crop up! Begin to prepare your environment for a little one. Start thinking about clothes, names, or how you’d like their nursery to be.
If you don’t feel comfortable hosting parties or painting just yet- don’t fret! Put together idea boards or surf Pinterest for fun and inspiring ideas. Find someone you feel comfortable confiding in, whether it’s your partner, a family member, or someone else- and allow them to host conversations that focus on your excitement and joy.
6. Connect with Your Surrogate
There are any number of relationships that can exist between a surrogate and intended parents. Start thinking about what type of relationship you will want with her and start to cultivate that. Stay mindful of boundaries and respect any choices you have both made. Your agency will often work as an excellent go-between if you or your surrogate is uncomfortable having an interpersonal relationship with one another.
Regardless of what relationship you’d like to have, be sure and check-in. Stay up to date with appointments and ultrasounds. Be aware of what is going on, and if it feels right, be as involved as you are comfortable being with the pregnancy process. Allow yourself to connect in any way you feel is appropriate and enjoy those connections that you have made.
Exercise is an excellent way to burn off stress and recenter yourself during difficult times. Keep in mind you don’t have to have a strenuous exercise routine in order to reap the benefits. Low-intensity exercise like walking or yoga is great for those that aren’t ready to jump into the gym. There are a number of ways to integrate exercise into your life without buying barbells or expensive equipment.
Hiking, trekking, and skiing are all great ways to have exercise while having fun. Try out a dance class, or walk the town with friends, discovering a new cafe. Swimming is an amazing total body workout without the pain of a high-impact routine. Intermittent exercise regimens are great for people who have full schedules or maybe a bit out of shape. Go easy on yourself and find ways to feel good about the activities you choose to do.