When intended parents are exploring the possibility of surrogacy and before they embark on a surrogacy journey, we get a lot of questions around how parents and surrogates are matched. We also get a lot of questions around how healthy, happy parent and surrogate relationships are built and maintained, both during and after a surrogacy. Establishing a relationship with your surrogate may take some time, but ultimately it can be what’s best for you and your family.
Why is it important to build a solid relationship with your surrogate? Your relationship has a tremendous impact on:
- your child. Studies have shown that children who know about their birth story feel a stronger sense of self-identity. If at any point your child (or children) asks about meeting his or her surrogate, having a relationship will help make the experience that much smoother
- the pregnancy. Throughout the pregnancy, you and your surrogate will make decisions together that will impact her body and your baby. Starting with an open dialogue will help inform your communication style to make sure your surrogate feels included and respected – the same goes for you too.
- your surrogate. Many of our surrogates go into this experience feeling it will be one of the most meaningful acts of their lives. We want them to feel appreciated and proud of their selflessness. Surrogates who have positive experiences with their intended parents may either come back to do a sibling journey with you, or go on to help another couple.
- you. A strong relationship with your surrogate will bring you closer to her, her experiences and your baby. It opens the lines of communication for her to share her feelings, silly cravings and emotions with you. Sometimes, intended parents can feel a little removed from the pregnancy, a strong relationship with your surrogate makes you feel much more a part of the growth of their baby.
It can take a little bit of time for new relationships to deepen and grow. Here are some ideas on how to begin building your bond with your surrogate:
- Ask her about her life, her kids, what she does with her “me time”
- If it’s helpful, try keeping a list of things that come to you during the week to chat with your surrogate about
- Acknowledge the awkward! It’s okay to start a conversation honestly with, “I’m a little nervous, I don’t know where to begin!” There’s nothing like sharing a slightly uncomfortable situation to jumpstart a new friendship!
- Talk about her decision to become a surrogate, and your decision to choose surrogacy to build your family
- Ask her how you can best support her throughout the journey how to best stay in touch after
- Looking for other things to chat about? Here are some things you can bring up during your regular conversations:
- How has this pregnancy been different than your personal pregnancy/ies?
- What have you been watching, listening to, reading?
- Do you keep a journal? Would you be willing to jot down a few lines a month (or even just take pictures) to share with baby later?
- Have you had any interesting food cravings? Did you have any cravings with your last pregnancy?
- Do you have any pets? Do they seem to know that something is going on?
- If married or in a serious relationship – How did you meet your partner?
Our surrogates embark on their journeys because they want to help intended parents experience the joy of parenthood – and that includes what happens during the pregnancy, too! Be honest in telling her that you’d like to hear about the day-to-day, as boring as it might be for her! One intended mother asked her surrogate what it felt like when the baby kicked. Her surrogate sweetly responded, “I keep forgetting that you’ve never experienced this! I will share everything I can with you!”
No two journeys are the same, and there is no “right” level of communication. You will find the right relationship that works for you and your surrogate. The most important thing is that you both enjoy the journey.