Monday, March 22, 2010

parenthood through surrogacy part 1

over the past month a few people have contacted me about starting their families through surrogacy, and i hope that i was able to answer some of the questions they asked. this got me to thinking that i had not written about the whole process in a long time. right now our journey is changing so quickly that it is almost hard to remember how far we have come. i am going to break this up into a few posts so you don't have to read the whole novel at once.

when we started this journey 2 years ago, i was so frightened of the road that lay ahead of us. the prospect of having someone who was almost a stranger carry our child was a huge ball of fear. most of all it is a very lonely place to be, while surrogacy is gaining popularity it is still relatively rare. it still amazes me when i meet someone outside of my infertility circles that has a connection to surrogacy. because of this rareness there are a lot of misconceptions about the entire process as with all infertility treatments. not only are you trying to find the answers for yourself, but everyone you share the news with has a million questions of their own. i am the kind of person who has a hard time keeping anything to myself, which means that i have answered a million stupid questions and heard things come out of people's mouths that made me want to live in a hole.

surrogacy is controversial, this is just a fact. there are people who are never going to understand what is really happening and there are people who will say very hurtful things to your face. nothing is more hurtful than someone saying something horrible about the way your child is coming into the world. people do not choose to enter into surrogacy lightly. this is not about vanity or not wanting to carry a child for some other stupid reason. i would gladly endure the worst pregnancy in the world to become a mother but that is not possible for me.

i was fully aware of both sides of the surrogacy arguments, in fact i obsessed over these arguments. at the same time we had decided that surrogacy was the right path to parenthood for us. i knew that there was no going back but i continued to read every argument for and against surrogacy, which is really the same thing as torturing myself. the more that i read the more i understood that all the terror and fear was really coming from a fear of the unknown. there is no surrogacy how to manual, there should be, but there is very little out in the universe.

our first stop was an agency. something that did not turn out well in the end but was well worth the experience and knowledge we gained. there was an issue that we were unable to resolve and decided to move onto another agency. i found a great deal of comfort in having people who do this for a living to help us navigate what feels like an overwhelming experience.

in the end we did not go with an agency. for us it was because we found the perfect surrogate and felt that we were willing to put in the legwork to get the rest of the process completed. this has not always been easy, in fact there have been times that it was down right difficult. everyone had their own comfort level and our comfort level is light years away from where it used to be. it can be overwhelming making sure that every i is dotted and every t crossed, because there are a lot of i's and t's. at some point you get passed that part or at least get a prolonged break. the best advice that i can give here is to protect yourself and your surrogate by using a reliable surrogacy attorney and a clinic that works with surrogacy situations, as their requirements will often help to guide you through the process. if something does not sound right or does not sit well with you speak up, you should be comfortable with every step that you take in this process. not everything can be changed but sometimes just understanding the rational behind it can help ease stress.

as you can see all of these questions and choices are enough on their own. add to that everyone and their cat giving you an opinion or asking a question you cannot answer and i fully understand why people choose to go through surrogacy without the knowledge of those closest to them. we have not chosen to do this. not that we made some grand announcement about our plans, but we have never hid what we were planning either. we told our parents and other family members first, and as things became more concrete we began to share with others. there were of course a lot of questions, but surprisingly very few negative comments. in fact, i have gotten more negative reactions from comments here than in real life. either people are talking about us like crazy behind our backs or we are incredibly blessed with very supportive friends and family. i know that it is the latter, because they have all been very supportive and i have really enjoyed sharing this story with them. there have been times that i did not want to answer any questions and they always respected our space. it was very clear that i would share what i could and that was all i was capable of at the time.

these people have been my crutches through this whole process. there were many times when i had to just let others be excited for us because i was emotionally spent. i believe that these ups and downs are no better or worse than going through any process to have a child. making a family is an emotionally taxing process. i have spent many a distracted month or two recovering from some of the huge events along the way. right now that is getting much easier but i am sure it will show up again in some other form. then there are the moments that give you enough steam to make it through another event or two. an example of this is finding the perfect surrogate, but more on that tomorrow...


Circus Princess said...

I can't wait to hear the rest of the story. I'm so happy to hear about your warm supportive family and friends, what a difference that makes.

Maybe you should write that "How to" book about parenthood through surrogacy.

Valery said...

I love the support from the people around me (can't keep my mouth shut either) and finding people on the internet in the same/similar situation is another help. Also/especially the different choices people make, and how that works out.
Just the recognition how difficult some decisions can be. It's not just you or me.
Good luck writing these posts.

Stefanie said...

I will be checking in again to read the rest of the story.

Thank you for sharing

~Stopping by for ICLW!

jill said...

Very interesting, thanks for sharing :) Am looking forward to reading the rest!

ALEH said...

Thanks for sharing your story. I'm a follower now, so I look forward to hearing the rest of your story.

April said...

Yay! I cannot wait to see how the rest of the story unfolds.

Saige said...

Oh Jaymee, you may end up being my crutch. I think my path is likely to follow yours. I have my surrogate, but we know nothing about the battle ahead. Honestly, I am not quite ready to give up on having children of my own, but if I can't, there is no one I would rather have carry my baby than my best friend who has offered.

I am soooo glad our paths crossed. If for no other reason than that you will know exactly what I am going through if I end up going this route.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.


Lynn said...

What a great post! I'm so glad you've got people you care about who support you. I think however you choose (or have thrust upon you) to make a family is what is right for you. It may not be right for others, but then your family isn't their business. If they disagree with what your plans are, then, while they are entitled to their opinion, they aren't entitled to force it on you. I wish you all the best and will be back to hear the rest of the story!

Expectant Duck said...

Most of my support is all online (except my really close irl friends). So far I have not had one bad comment (some bizzare reactions of surprise when we are shopping and explain that this item is for us, we're expecting twins, and they automatically look at my stomach - and it's obvious that I am not pregnant).
So glad that you are sharing!