Friday, September 12, 2008

Decision Making and Surrogacy

After reading Amani and Bob Surrogacy this morning, I began to think about redefining dreams. How through the adventure of having a baby these dreams have been redefined a hundred times. From the first time, the reality of medical intervention steps in to the point that you are going to need the help of more than just a doctor. Going through this process so many times it would be logical to think that this gets easier, that by the time you need to decide between surrogacy and adoption that it should only take a few moments and the pain should be non-existent. No statement can be further from the truth. Each moment is excruciating, because with each decision comes a new reality and with each new reality comes new chances to have your heart broken. Each new decision drips with the dew of self-doubt, rages with the thunderstorm of unknown factors, and culminates in the hurricane of excitement for new possibilities and intense emotional exhaustion.

The worst part about it all is trying to keep emotions out of something that is so intensely emotional. For me this is where having my father to go through all the legalese makes it so much easier. I am not capable of taking out the emotional intensity of needing to hold my child in my arms and dealing with the business side of all this, of making huge economic decisions. This is not to say that he is completely emotionally detached, he is just able to separate it out, ah the wonders of men. If I had to give only one piece of advice to people who were just starting out with surrogacy, get someone in the trenches with you who can keep their emotions out of the proceedings (and this cannot be your lawyer, agency, etc.).

Faced with having to make so many "life decisions" at once can also make having to make other decisions just excessively overwhelming. On more than one occasion, I have left the grocery cart in the middle of the aisle and just walked away, because there were too many choices in bagels. The prospect of having to make one more choice was too much. Funny as this sounds it really happens, at some point the brain just says "I am not going to make another choice" and the body must obey. Thankfully, I did not have to choose which way to turn on my
way home, or I may still be sitting in the parking lot. Truly there are no words to express how overwhelming all of this can really be.

Enter the fact that you are making decisions that affect a child who you love more than life itself, even though it has yet conceived. I know that this sounds weird, trust me it feels weird. It is like trying to live in a fantasy world and making decisions that affect the real world. At moments you feel the need to have a psychologist follow you around to make sure that your brain did not escape and go running down the road screaming in agony. I am almost positive that this cannot happen, but there have been moments when I look behind me just to make sure.

Then there are the moments when you have to make the big decisions that are going to affect a number of people who you care about deeply. For me it came when Joe-bob told me to make the decision that I thought was best for us. WHAT? YOU WANT ME TO MAKE A HUGE LIFE DECISION!, you are the one with the big huge brain and all that knowledge; you should be the one to do this. I make decisions on laundry detergent and dinner choices and I am not very good at those. Okay, I decide that we are going to do nothing, we are going to sit right here for the rest of our lives and not move, because movement will require other decisions. We sat there for a while and then came the moment when sitting a there was more painful than being terrified and making
decision. I got up one morning and taught myself everything that I could about surrogacy. I weighted through all the moral and ethical issues, because I was going into a fight and I was going in armed with as much ammunition as I could gather.

That is right, at the beginning of this whole process I thought that maybe I could not go forward with this because I would not stand for doing something that would put others in a situation where I was taking advantage of them. Obviously, I found this not to be the case. Now this ammunition is used to defend myself against people who look at me like the devil incarnate for wanting to have a child. More specifically that I want an infant whose parentage I can trace and who will be mine from the first moment they breathe air. Those people who try to make me feel guilty about not taking in some sweet orphan who will be condemned to roam the streets in some 3rd world capital. I myself question whether it is right to create another person rather than taking in one who needs me. In the end I want what I want and if that is selfish then so be it, if it makes me a bad person I will beg forgiveness to the powers that be, but I know that it is not any of these things this is the way things are meant to be for me.

I cannot express the feeling of excitement and terror that accompanies every step in this adventure. All I can say is that coming to this point has been difficult, but actually being here is wonderful. To be in the presence of women who are willing to sacrifice so much to give to a stranger the chance to make a dream a reality. At some point on the road of infertility, I began to have a very pessimistic view of the world then I found this option and something changed. Even with all the fear there was suddenly a light that I have long forgotten existed, I was able to see the light at the end of the cave and I knew that this was where we were meant to be. Finally, I had made a decision that made perfect sense. While this happens to others when they find other alternate methods of reproduction for me, it happened with surrogacy. The other day someone wanted to know how I knew that this was going to work for us, and all I could think of is that you just know, in the same way that you just know when you meet the person you were meant to be with for the rest of your life. I am not saying that this made it any easier it just made is easier to get through the rough spots. In future months, I know that there will more overwhelming decisions but knowing that this is how we are to expand our family makes it a little easier to make those decisions.


Silver said...

I still can't make a decision and it's been over 4 years since we did the IVF thing and that's all we had to deal with. :)

I wish you the best, and you should never have to explain to anyone your reasons for what you are going through. People can easily judge when they haven't been there.

Take care and good luck!

Millie said...

Thanks for this post Jaymee. Reminds me again that I'm not alone in the surrogacy world.

Anonymous said...

Jaymee, you speak so highly of surrogates. How do you feel about the compensation aspect? I know some don't, but most surrogates request financial compensation for their journies. I'd love it if you could post your thoughts, as an IM, on that issue. As a surrogate, that was( and continues to be) my biggest hurdle. Being called a "back alley baby seller" never feels good, and from my seat it feels like people suck all of the good out of the journey just because of that one detail; as if it is not a good thing unless it is "free". But the people speaking those words have never been in your shoes; I wonder how it is viewed from your side?