As we seem to be approaching the birth at the speed of light (25 weeks tomorrow) many people are starting to question the relationship that we are going to have with Sabrina after the birth. I know that people are coming from a place of love and concern, really I do get that, but at the same time I find this to be the most invasive questioning and really it is something extremely personal. So what does one do with such a personal question? Writes about it on a public blog! I know that seems insane but really I try to be very open about things and this is the easiest way for me to do this.
All things in life are only understood through the frame of reference which someone has to understand what they are experiencing. Surrogacy is becoming more mainstream, or that could just be the fact that I am just seeing it more, but still more people know others who have gone down this particular path to parenthood. Of course, more people just know the horror stories that make the news. Ours is the farthest thing from that kind of story. That is not to say that we are skipping through a field of daisies all the time, but when there are things that we do not view the same way we are able to be respectful of that and still express our opinions. In the end we either just agree to disagree or one of changes the other’s mind.
This is a relationship of friends where one person just happens to be carrying a baby for the other. For purely selfish reasons I want to keep Sabrina in my life. Then there are the multitude of reasons that I want our son to know the family that completed our family. I will also be the first to say that when we first started looking at surrogacy I was perfectly happy with having someone have the baby and that would be the end. My only frame of reference was that of adoption, which does not fit into surrogacy very well. As an adopted child I knew that having my birth mother be part of my childhood would not have been good for me or my family, not that I have anything against open adoption.
Adoption is only a good reference for surrogacy in that it teaches you that genetic makeup has nothing to do with who you consider your family. Other than that there is nothing similar between these two paths to parenthood. This pregnancy began as ours. Yes, our son is the genetic product of an egg donor and the husband. Yes, he is being carried by Sabrina. But I literally willed him into being. I worked through all the years of emotional sludge that comes with infertility and got myself to that place where parenting was way more important than pregnancy. Without my intention to be his mother Cletus would not exist.
Along this journey there have been those moments when I have felt the twinges of jealousy. I do not think there has ever been a woman in my position that can honestly say that they have not felt the same. Then one day I realized that there were always going to moments in his life that others are going to experience with him first. I am just a little ahead of schedule with this particular mommy moment. In a perfect world I would never have had to deal with this, but we do not live in a perfect world.
Sabrina is currently playing the most important role in Cletus’s life. I will be doing that for the rest of his life. She loves him like she loves a few other people’s kids. I am filled with this amazing warmth and light and unbelievable amount of love every time I look at that picture of Cletus as a five day embryo. We all have people in our lives that have made a huge impression and have made our lives better for being in them. All I can hope is that Cletus has Sabrina as one of those people in his life. To me denying the existence of Sabrina would be the same as saying we were ashamed of how our family was created, which is the same as saying we are ashamed of our son on some level.
Honesty with our child about how they came to be was really the first big surrogacy question we ever asked ourselves. For us part of that honesty was maintaining a relationship with the woman who carried for us. In the end this is the story of how we became a family until Cletus draws his first breath, then it becomes his story which is not ours to edit. I am not going to pretend that it will always be easy to tell him this story. I know that there will be times when it is downright painful to help him process what this all means to him, but we are prepared as his parents to do whatever we can to help. We made this commitment to ourselves and our child from the first conversation we ever had about surrogacy.
Then there was the moment in the ultra sound where I was holding onto the husband, also holding Sabrina’s hand, Cletus was on the screen, tears streaming down my face, and it felt like this was just the way it was meant to be. I am not sure that I have the words to adequately explain what that moment was like. All I know is that any worry I ever had about being able to handle surrogacy and whatever came after just melted away. That squirming little image on the screen was all that mattered to any of us and he was perfect. I cannot imagine anything that would make me ever not want to continue having those moments. So Cletus might just be the first “insert brilliant thing here” to have both his mother and surrogate at his “insert fancy award ceremony here”, but I would not have it any other way. I will always be his mother and she will always be his Aunt Sabrina who spent nine months growing him under her heart.
I will spend the rest of my life trying and falling miserably short of repaying this gift.