People ask lots of questions when they hear about my surrogacy. This doesn’t bother me. For the most part, the questions come from a place of curiosity and just wanting to learn about this genuinely odd thing I’m doing that is far from commonplace.
One of the most frequent questions I get is, “But won’t you get attached to the baby?” …also known as, “Wow – do you think you’ll be okay to give it away when you’re done?”
I usually respond with something to the effect of reminding them that I can’t give something away that was never mine to begin with – it’s more that I’ll be returning the baby to its parents after this “extreme babysitting” gig ends that I’m currently undertaking.
The truth, which I sometimes add into the conversation, is that this is all brand new to me, so I can’t actually know how I’ll feel until I complete the journey. But for what it’s worth, I’m not sure I got all that attached to my own kids while I carried them either. We never found out the gender beforehand, never decided on names, never set up a nursery in advance. Okay – partly that’s because we just didn’t have our act together to be so organized… but I also think we purposely wanted to distance ourselves from the emotion of it, until there was actually a child in our arms. I just didn’t feel like it was mine until then. So to some extent, it feels like I’m distancing myself here too.
All that said, this experience is different. I know very clearly – and have from the beginning – that this baby is in no way mine. It is not genetically connected to me and I am doing this for the sole purpose of helping another couple become parents. I’m often reminded of the many differences between anticipating becoming a parent ten years ago, and now:
The two of us hovered together over the pregnancy test, eyes peeled, hearts beating fast, watching with excitement as that second vertical line faintly but definitively turn blue.
Quick Google chat to my husband in the middle of the work day: “Hey – I’m pregnant.”
We drove to NY to share the big news with family in person, scamming my parents in a Scrabble game into believing words like “kid,” “life,” and “ovulate” were naturally occurring words on the board. I actually had to point out that “pregnant” was not even connected to any other words for them to realize something was up.
I told my mother by text. I’m assuming she told my dad? Yes, yes, he knows.
Of course I was happy when the pregnancy was confirmed this time around. But it was different. With my own kids, it felt like a major life event. This time, it was more like experiencing a win at work – like a big grant came through, or that I scored an important meeting. Super exciting, but not necessarily life-altering. Cause for high fives.
With each ultrasound Jamie and I held hands, studying the black-and-white screen carefully, trying to take in all the detail we could, making sense of the smudges and committing as much of it to memory as possible.
Sure, I glance at the monitor from time to time, but I’m way more interested in watching Vivianne and David’s faces than I am in seeing the fetus herself.
Every car ride together became an opportunity to work on answering the question, “What are we going to name it?”
Well, let’s be honest. With three of those “its” in the back seat it’s not like there’s a whole lot of opportunity for conversation anyway…
I’m 24 weeks now. We’re starting to think about and make plans for the birth. Another normal ultrasound, another normal blood test. It’s starting to just be exciting again.