Monday, May 26, 2008

lessons learned

i am planning on making this a regular section. for me this is all new territory. i do not know anyone who has gone through this exact process, i don't even know anyone who knows anyone. in the past three months though, i have learned a few things, and i know that there will be much more to come.

1. You have to be your own advocate.
i find that this applies to life in general, but here it is even more important. no one will look out for your best interest, people will help you, but at the end of the day it is up to you.

2. This is a business.
that sucks, i would love to say that everyone does this out of the kindness of their heart, but that just is not the case. there is a lot of money changing hands here, and there is nothing wrong with that. on average a surrogate is making $3.89 per hour, which is half of minimum wage.

3. Keep your emotions out of it.
this is so much easier said than done. nothing is more emotional than this process. though refer to 2 this is a business and there is no crying in the boardroom. you want a child more than anything, otherwise you wouldn't be doing this, but that by no means gives you the right to leave your brain at home.

4. Be honest.
this goes for everyone you talk with, they can't get you what you want if they don't know. you will change your mind a thousand times about things, it is okay. the person you wanted to spend the rest of your life with at 13 isn't the same person you are with now (even if you did marry him/her). this is really like dating, you try it on for a while and see what feels comfortable (that sounds more like buying shoes).

5. Don't worry about being a pest.
i was worried that my first agency would dump us if i made to much noise. now i know that i don't want to work with anyone who thinks that i am a pest because i express my concerns or ask questions. there are going to be issues and if you can't express your feelings this is going to be an even longer journey.

6. There is no one size fits all.
what is right for you will not be right for someone else, and that is fine.

7. People can be down right mean.
this is not limited to surrogacy. it seems like anyone who can't have a child with a bottle of wine and a cheap hotel room (thanks for that Chris), is going to have someone to criticize them. at some point some idiot is going to say something along the lines of "Well maybe it just wasn't meant to be." or "Well you won't really be their mother" . these people are asses and you should ignore them. they have no idea what they are talking about. as an adopted child i know who my mother is, and she didn't give birth to me. she did get up with me in the middle of the night, kissed my
boo-boos, and thought my scribbles (the ones not on her walls) should hang next to the mona lisa.

8. Somehow, someway, this is going to work.
there will be times when it feels like you are going to die childless, and that the pain of this will kill you. there have been moments when my whole body hurt and i thought i was going to collapse under the weight of the pain, both emotionally and physically. so far i am still here. use the pain to get through this. i know that sounds weird, but in those moments, make yourself do something related to this whole experience. there is always some paperwork or some other something to do, so get up off the floor and get it done.

9. It is okay to fall apart sometimes.
there are going to be moments when you just need to cry and feel sorry for yourself. this sucks and it isn't fair. you should be able to forget the birth control on vacation and get a souvenir. just remember that if you spend all your time here you aren't going to get anywhere. so give yourself a few hours and then pick yourself up. even if you have to do this everyday for a little while.

10. Ask for help.
it is not written anywhere that you have to be superwoman. this is rough and there are people to help, so use them. there is no shame in saying that you are having trouble.

that is all i can think of at the moment. i know there is more, and i promise to share it when i think of it.


Amanda said...

Regarding Number 7: True dat, true dat! My favorites: "You just need to relax!" and "Alot of women who wait as long as you did have trouble." You are perfectly within your rights to tell them to shove it, my dear.
And regarding number 10: I don't pretend to "get it", but I'll try my hardest and I'm always here to hear your tears, your good news and your bad news.