October 21, 2015: two and a half weeks after I came up with this crazy idea, I found myself getting a drink with a woman named Shira, who I met through my friends at Uprooted: A Jewish Communal Response to Fertility Journeys. I contacted them to see if they knew any surrogates who could help me learn more. But… they didn’t. (What? How could that be? This was my first tipoff to the need that exists for Jewish surrogates.)
But they suggested I contact Shira, who lived in the same town I did, was involved in Uprooted, and used a surrogate to carry and deliver her twins.
Without any hesitation, I did what anyone in my situation would do… I Googled her. And I suppose it’s possible I may have engaged in a small dose of Facebook stalking on the side, just to see who this woman was. That’s when I found an article my friend Rachel happened to write about Shira’s struggles with infertility. That’s when I saw a photo of Shira in the delivery room, wearing a hospital gown and a bright magical grin, and posing with a very pregnant woman, in what were clearly the final moments before meeting her babies. And that’s when I stared at the photo and cried.
We emailed back and forth and Shira said she’d be happy to get together. I suggested coffee. She suggested drinks. (How adult!)
Shira answered my barrage of questions honestly and openly. She explained how she and her husband came to surrogacy. She talked about why they chose that route rather than adoption. She described all kinds of medical procedures I had no idea about. We talked about using a Jewish surrogate, not using a Jewish surrogate, what she thought about the necessity of conversion or not… and she told me how she had tried to get pregnant on her own and how desperate she was to be a mom. And I cried again then too. I swear, I’m really not much of a crier…
At one point during our conversation I said to her, “I’m really not sure why I wouldn’t do it, actually.”
“Well, what are the reasons you wouldn’t?,” she pushed, in a way that was helpful. Was I worried about being pregnant again? Did I think I’d get attached to the baby? Did my husband support my doing it?
Though the idea was still fairly new, her questions only reinforced for me that I was comfortable with the direction I was heading. Shira offered to put me in touch with the woman who gave birth to her twins and who was currently pregnant with their third child. After that conversation, though I still had many more questions, I knew I wanted in.
One week later, I submitted my application.