Being born via surrogacy is a wonderful and joyous phenomenon. Figuring out how to explain it to your child may not be.
Surrogate born children are much like any other bundle of joy that graces this world. They laugh, they play. They fall down and get hurt. Besides their gestational origin story, these children are exactly the same as any of their peers.
But how exactly do you explain to a child that they were born in such a wonderful and unconventional way without making them feel ostracized? How do you talk about it without feeling the weight of stigma and pressure?
It’s perfectly normal to feel about uneasy about discussing your child’s surrogate journey with them. Despite it being a difficult subject to broach, it’s important to remember what’s really important. That they are your child, you are their parent, and you love them.
Born Via Surrogacy: The Birds and the Bees
Discussing sex, sexuality, and conception with your child can be a nerve-wracking experience for any parent. But, like any origin story, children should be aware of how it all works early on. Choosing to wait “until your child is ready” often reflects the discomfort of the parents, as opposed to the preparedness of the child.
In most cases, it’s not important how you tell a child their story, it’s just important that they get to hear it. Family dynamics have changed drastically from what was considered the normal nuclear family of the 1950s. With Mom and Dad being married for 40 plus years, having 2.5 children, and sitting down at the table every night to discuss little Timmy’s grades.
While some families still fit this stereotypical archetype, it’s rarely the majority of modern family dynamics. Families come in all shapes and sizes, from all walks of life and cultures. There is no right or wrong way to have a family, knowing this as an adult can sometimes ease the conversation you will eventually need to have with your little one.
Children are fantastically elastic. They learn rapidly and largely by observing the behaviors of the adults that surround them. Showing your child that you are comfortable with their story, proud of them, and love them deeply is often enough to help them understand that while they may be different, they are not wrong.
Born Via Surrogacy: Keys to Explaining Unconventional Family Dynamics
As an intended parent that has struggled with infertility, you know better than anyone else how much you love your child. How important they are to your life. Finding strength in your struggle can sometimes feel difficult. Anxieties revolving rejection and insecurity can definitely seem overwhelming. These are not abnormal feelings to have.
Starting a dialogue with your child as early as possible is key to keeping feelings of shame and distrust at bay. While your child may not be old enough to truly understand all of the intricacies and nuances of fertility and conception, chances they are no stranger to pregnancy.
There are many wonderfully written children’s books that can help start conversations about a child’s beginnings. If you’re not sure where to start, considering looking into your local library or bookstore for a literary adventure that is tailored to your child’s developmental level.
It’s incredibly important to be open and honest with your child. Being prepared to answer any questions they may have about themselves and your family can seem a bit worried at first, but the more often you tell your story, the better equipped they are to understand it.
You don’t have to bring all the nitty-gritty details to the table. Keep the story simple and tailor it to their age. Let them know how much they were wanted, and that you, their parents, went to great lengths to bring them into your life. Always come to the discussion with love, compassion and patience. Because while the concept may seem overwhelmingly large to you, to them it is their normal.
Know Your Narrative
Again, keep it simple. If they ask questions, it is perfectly acceptable to answer them in the same fashion that any other parent would when it comes to these types of conversations.
Starting with a simple story about how much you wished for them to be in your life is an excellent start. Understanding that everyone needs help sometimes is a great learning tool for any child. As your child ages, adjust your narrative to their development. Add in age-appropriate details and information that can help answer new questions and curiosities.
Ask for Help
Should you feel too overwhelmed to have a discussion with your child yourself, ask for the help of friends, family, and dedicated professionals. Many family therapists are very comfortable talking with you and your children about modern family dynamics and norms.
If your surrogate is still a part of your life, ask them to step in and provide support as well. Encourage your child’s natural curiosity. In addition, partners and family members can also provide a great deal of help in these situations. Showing your child that they are loved and supported is the best way to help them understand best how they came into this world.
Should your child react negatively to any information that is given to them, it’s okay. Don’t panic! Your child loves you and you love them. Sometimes, it’s natural for a child to feel awkward about these types of conversations, this is not a rejection that is directed at you, but perhaps a sign of unclear understanding for them.
Always show your child empathy and consideration. It will not always be easy for everyone to understand that it’s our differences that make us all so special. Answer the questions they have in the best way possible. Remind them that they are loved and cared for. Remind yourself that you are proud of your decisions and grateful for your journey.