… We interrupt this blog to bring you a piece by the other half of this equation, Jamie, without whose support this whole endeavor would be impossible…
Most everyone has a file labeled “Bills,” one labeled “Insurance,” one “Mortgage,” and so on. I’ve got those. And I’ve got one labeled “Surrogacy.” I was actually going to label it the “My Wife is Pregnant with Another Man’s Baby” folder,” but I ran out of space after “My Wife.”
That was a joke.
And Sarah laughed to herself… (Genesis 18:12)
I’ve been laughing a lot recently. I’ve had to. I mean, as attuned as I am to modern science and technology, in the back of my head is this voice yelling, “THIS IS SO NOT NORMAL!” There are only so many paragraphs of a 64-page contract a husband can read, discussing how your wife is going to get pregnant, for someone else, and it’s a good thing, and you’re gonna meet the guy who’s going to make a “deposit” in a cup, the contents of which are going to be injec….Never mind.
More jokes please. I need to laugh.
It’s not that I’m against this whole thing. I’m not. I’m actually in complete awe of Carrie’s willingness to do this, very proud to be part of it, and even more proud that we’re so openly and proactively discussing it publicly. This is the woman who I fell in love with on full display. Still, I suppose part of me just assumed there would be some kind of disqualifying snafu before it got real, and that possibility allowed me to feel rather blasé about it all for the 15 months it took to get to this point.
You want a useful way to remind yourself that it is real? Try sticking a 1.5-inch needle deep into your wife’s ass on a daily basis to “prepare” her uterine lining, whatever that means.
Sarah lied, saying, “I did not laugh,” for she was frightened. (Genesis 18:15)
If you can’t tell from my tone, as committed as I truly am to this, I think deep down I’m frightened and not completely at peace…and it’s hard for me to believe that any loving husband could feel otherwise.
Knowing that another man’s reproductive material (even if already in embryonic form) will become part of my wife is very emotionally jarring. Notwithstanding the surgical reality of how it all happens, it feels like an unwelcome invasion of our intimacy, and that gnaws at me.
And I’m not looking forward to the fatigue and other side effects of pregnancy that I’ve experienced three times over that will inevitably prevent Carrie from being the fully participatory parent of our three children that she is now.
I’m not exactly charged up about the toll that pregnancy takes on her body and how this process has, and will continue to impact our relationship as husband and wife for some time to come.
And, of course, I’m just plain worried about the myriad medical “what ifs” that accompany carrying and delivering a child. Our three pregnancies included more than one emergency trip to the hospital, various scares and a number of unexpected tests. I know what we’re getting into. Pregnancy is disruptive, unpredictable and complicated.
There are endless reasons for me to be against this. But I can’t be. I simply can’t stand in the way of Carrie’s remarkable and selfless willingness to help two loving adults create the family they so desperately want. I cannot object to creating more awareness around an issue that societally is so under-discussed and so over-stigmatized. I could not, after hearing about the seven years of fruitless and traumatic efforts that Vivianne and David endured, be anything but a fully supportive member of this process knowing that Carrie is willing to be their gestational oracle.
But He replied, “You did laugh.” (Genesis 18:15)
Yes, I tell jokes because as awe-inspiring and consequential as this is, it’s challenging and emotionally complex as well. There is fear and discomfort in this process, but sometimes fear and discomfort are precursors to the miraculous.
Sarah conceived and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken. (Genesis 21:2)
Kein yehi ratzon. May it be His will.
– by Jamie Bornstein
[Biblical translations from the JPS Hebrew-English Tanakh.]