When I first started this process, I decided I didn’t want to say anything about it to the kids until I became pregnant, when it felt like there would actually be something to share. I knew they’d be excited but also a little unsure of how they’d react and if the transfer didn’t work, or God forbid there was a loss, I didn’t want to add to any anxiety they might have already.
But then I had a conversation with someone who worried what would happen if they found out about it unintentionally, from someone other than me. That would be even messier, I decided, so I let them know a few weeks before the transfer.
“Remember that couple who came to visit us last summer? The ones who brought you all those presents?”
“Oh them? I had a dream that they adopted me.”
“Yes, them. Well, they’ve been trying to have a baby for seven years – the entire time Dovi has been alive…”
We talked. I explained. She tried to wrap her head around my carrying a baby that would not be related to us. He said, “Cool!” and walked away. She asked all kinds of questions. I tried to answer. She was confused. I bought a children’s book about surrogacy on Amazon. It said many of the same things I’d been explaining all along. “Oh – that really clears up a lot of things up for me,” she said.
But my youngest… he was three at the time. Way too little to get any of it. I didn’t do much of anything with that conversation.
And then, yesterday…
Jonah, looking over at me sitting on the couch: “Why is your belly big?”
[Okay then, I guess we’re doing this now.]
Me: “I’m helping a couple have a baby – they’re having trouble having a baby on their own, so they gave me a little tiny embryo to borrow – that’s what it’s called – and I’m helping to grow it until it’s a baby and it’s ready to come out. Then I’ll give it back to them.”
Jonah: “Did you eat it?”
Jonah: “How did it get in you?”
[Alrighty, here it goes…]
Me: “Uh, another way.”
[That’ll be a satisfying answer, right?]
Jonah: “How will it come out?”
[Seriously?? Neither of my other kids were ever concerned with this!]
Me: “Um, the same way it got in me.”
[Please, please, we can leave this alone now, right?]
Jonah: “But how will it come out?”
[Oh dear. Okay, normalize… normalize… don’t project weirdness – just answer his questions.]
Me: “Uhhh – there’s a little hole in my body where it will come out.”
[Oh for God’s sake.]
Me: “Um, in my underwear.”
Jonah: “Can I see it?”
[And, we’ll just draw the line right there.]
Me: “No – it’s private.”
Jonah: “Ha – you’re cute.”
So, that happened. Onwards.