Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I am a Gestational Surrogate

Some of you may already know this, but now that we've hit the second trimester I decided to make it officially public news:  I am a surrogate.  More specifically, I'm a gestational carrier.  I'm carrying twins for a wonderful, loving, enthusiastic French couple whom I adore.  If the idea of surrogacy is new to you, you might want to check out the wikipedia page for a quick catch-up.  The babies are due in November; being twins, they'll probably come earlier.  I'm hoping for full-term October babies.

Here are some pretty typical questions I hear when I tell people I'm a surrogate, along with my responses:

What made you decide to do this?
I am blessed with a body that seems intended to bear children.  I have easy pregnancies and births, but I don't particularly want a large family for myself.  Soon after Isobel was born, I remember thinking to myself- "All that pregnancy and birth business was a piece of cake compared to life with a newborn.  I could do pregnancy/labor/delivery a hundred times if I didn't have to have a newborn afterwards."  (Hyperbole!  I don't actually want to do this a hundred times.) 
Surrogacy is meaningful, even fulfilling:  I feel honored to be involved in helping a couple start a family. 

Won't it be hard to give up the babies?
The line most surroMoms use here is "I'm not giving them up, I'm giving them back."  These babies are not genetically related to me and I haven't thought of them as mine ever.  My focus is very much on the Intended Parents: my relationship with them, their relationship with the babies.  Obviously I care about these babies and want what's best for them (if not, I wouldn't be a very good surrogate) but I don't LOVE them or feel attached to them.  It's nothing like the feelings I had with my own pregnancies.
If I wanted a baby of my own, I'd be having a baby of my own.  I have absolutely zero desire to keep these babies.  The culmination of this journey will be the beautiful moment when I get to see them in the arms of their parents for the first time- I love to imagine that moment.

Do you know the babies' parents?
I was matched with this couple last fall through an agency (Circle Surrogacy) and didn't know them prior to the matching process.  Since then we have gotten quite close and I count them among my most treasured friends. 

How does Brooke feel about this?  And the kids?
Brooke took some convincing in the beginning, but now he is 100% on board.  He's proud of what I'm doing and loves the Intended Parents just as much as I do. 
Jude, of course, is really too little to be tuned in to what's going on.  Isobel, on the other hand, gets it.  I prepped her with a children's book about surrogacy called The Kangaroo Pouch.  So when I told her that I have twins in my womb that I'm carrying for another family, she seemed a little surprised but not really thrown.  Now it's just a normal part of her world.  She likes to talk about the babies and their parents and meeting them next month when they come to town for an ultrasound and hospital tour.  She knows that as my belly gets bigger it will be full of babies, but their not OUR babies, not her brothers or sisters.

Hm... I'm sure there were other things I was going to mention, but now I can't remember what they were.  If you have questions, please feel free to ask me!  This is a pretty huge and exciting part of our life right now and I love to talk about it.  It has actually been hard to keep it a secret this long, and I'm happy to finally be going public!


Rachel Helps said...

wow, interesting! I like that you're willing to share your talents, even if that talent is having babies and not a usual way of giving service (or whatever you want to call it, I assume you have some compensation).

I admit the idea of surrogacy seems weird to me, mostly because I see pregnancy as this huge labor I wouldn't be willing to do for anything but a child of my own. But if it's easy for you, why not?

Dani said...

I am so happy and proud of you!!! It gives me chills every time I think about it...but you know I've been your #1 supporter since the verrrry beginning!!!!!

allarminda said...

Wow, Christina! You continue to surprise, amaze and delight me as a human being. I'm grateful to know you, and grateful you're so open and willing to share this amazing decision with the rest of us.

Best of luck for a continued healthy and easy pregnancy. But TWINS?! Wowsers.

littlemisspretty said...

I am SO SO excited about all of this! You are such an amazing women to give this great gift to another family.
I still want to be your doula, if you want me?

Megan said...

That is so, so neat! Wow! Surrogacy is so amazing, and it just seems so perfect for you. Your announcement made my day. Can't wait to hear more about it and especially when you get to give the babies to the parents! Congrats.

Cagney and Laci said...

I pretty much think you are a rock star, always have, always will! Way to just do the right thing and help people who want to be parents so badly! I love you girl!

Andrea Landaker said...

So cool! I kind of feel the same way about being pregnant myself and have pondered the possibility of doing such a thing for family if needed . . . but actually doing it for a stranger is way awesome. :-)

Christine Mains said...

Enjoy! If you ever need anyone to talk to about your twin pregnancy, you can call me anytime.
I miss your little one's!! They really added to our family dynamic!!
Isobel and Jude are really amazing, and that is because they have really amazing parents!

Missy said...

Wow, what a tremendous blessing in the parents' lives, and yours as well! And TWINS! Amazing! Wishing you an uneventful pregnancy, smooth birth, and healthy babies!

theriddle said...

I"m so proud of you! As someone who struggled with infertility (but thank goodness I got pregnant) I can well imagine how grateful the parents are. I'm in constant awe of modern medicine. How cool is it that you could carry two twins that have two different parents? hurrah for you and for the parents and the sweet little babies.

Jet said...

Hi Brooke and Christina! (This is Juliet Paul), and Erica just told me about your pregnancy. I think it's AWESOME what you are doing--what a gift!

My twins are now 3 1/2 years old, and I wanted to share this video about being preggo w/ multiples--I love it:

Wishing you the best from AZ! Take care!

Christina said...

Hey Juliet! Thanks for the comment!
It is awesome to see a bunch of full-term, natural twin births in that video! I gotta admit, I'm pretty intimidated by the full-term bellies, though. Oyvay!