It has been over a year now since we first became the face of surrogacy among our family and friends. On November 17, 2014, in a moment of bravery (or perhaps insanity), I posted the following to Facebook:
Family & Friends-
Many of you already know that we have been struggling to have a child for years, and we’d now like to tell you that we are currently in the process of continuing our journey to have a family through IVF & the help of a gestational carrier. It is going to be a very long & difficult process and there is still no guarantee that we will be able to have a baby at the end of it, but we’ve decided to keep a blog through the good, the bad, and the ugly as a way to keep everyone informed throughout the process. So, if you’d like to follow along with us, save the address or follow by email through the website.
We have already been so heartbroken by this painful journey that we could really use all of your love and support to help get us through this time! Please be thinking of us and praying for us as we make tough decisions and face the scary unknown.
Once we made the decision to be honest about our circumstances, creating a blog and sharing the link through social media just seemed like the easiest way to spread the word. I had hoped it would be a way for people to better understand what infertility, treatment, and surrogacy are really like and why we chose to go down this path. As expected, the responses we got in public were largely supportive.
Of course, we also received a few criticisms. Some people were confused as to why we would do something as reckless as trusting a stranger with our unborn child, some were not convinced that this was a necessary step for us to take… and some we have not heard from since.
Our hope was that, by sharing our experience of surrogacy, we could help remove some of the stigma attached. I believed that everyone would accept (or at least be familiar with) the unusual circumstances of our journey to parenthood by the time we were actually expecting. Throughout the IVF treatment we only ever received support, but after the positive pregnancy test there was a definite shift. It wasn’t until then that we started experiencing an increase in more negative comments and reactions, and I’m still at a loss as to why. We were having a baby at the end of this after all, right? Surely pregnancy isn’t the most important part of becoming a parent?
Over the last several months I have come to find that expecting via surrogacy is generally not viewed the same way as expecting on your own– by quite a few people. While there are those who have continued to support us, I’ve received enough shocked looks and insensitive comments in response to our baby news that I usually avoid bringing it up whenever possible, even though he will be here with us in just 6-8 weeks. Since both my sister and sister-in-law have given birth within the calendar year, I’ve been able to see just how differently we are treated in comparison. It’s no secret that there are those who feel that my story of becoming a parent is inferior to theirs. That I am inferior.
. . . . .
“Do people even have baby showers when it’s a surrogacy?”
Someone asked me this a few months ago, and it left me reeling a bit. As far as I know, they are called baby showers, not pregnant women showers. I may not be a pregnant woman, but I will be having a baby.
So, in answer to all the questions, I’m just going to announce here that we are NOT going to have a traditional baby shower. After stressing over it for months, Kyle and I decided to forego this social obligation. And, to be honest, it was done to save me (and others) from the awkwardness of having to participate in a bump-less shower.
I do not want to sit there and have to bat away even one, tiny comment that implies I won’t instinctively know how to be a mother because my son is not inhabiting my uterus. I do not want to be asked questions as though I am a complete bystander in this process or simply “relaxing with my feet up” while some other woman does my dirty work. I do not want to have awkward conversations because people have no idea what to say to me or how to relate to someone who is incapable of doing something as natural as giving birth. I do not want to feel the horrible absence of my child at yet another occasion.
All of this has been my life for the last eight months, and I’ve grown sick of it.
We aren’t having a traditional baby shower. As a compromise, we’re planning to have a “Sip & See” instead so that friends and family are able to meet Sweet Pea this Spring. That way, the spotlight can be on him rather than me and my body.
End of story.