If you’re a surrogate, or in the process of becoming a surrogate, or simply just wondering… How in the world do surrogates explain the pregnancy to their children? Well, most know that surrogacy agencies require a surrogate to have birthed one or two children of her own before becoming a surrogate for someone else. There are a number of reasons for this requirement. First and for most, having had previous experience with a pregnancy helps you know what to expect from your body and how to handle any challenges that may come along. In addition, the fact that you already have had a successful pregnancy makes it more likely that you will have a successful pregnancy with the baby you are carrying for the intended parents. We require a medical screening of all our surrogates because they are accepted into our program.
As a gestational surrogate, you may face the dilemma of what to tell your children about the baby growing inside you! It can be confusing for little ones to understand a complex concept like surrogacy, but if you keep it simple and stick with the basics, your children should come to understand all that they need to about your pregnancy. Here are some ideas for explaining surrogacy to your kids.
For younger children
When you explain surrogacy to a toddler or preschooler, keep the words a simple as possible. You could tell it in the form of a story. “Once upon a time, there were two people who wanted very much to have a little baby of their own. They wanted to have a child, but they couldn’t. So your mommy decided to carry their baby in her tummy for them for a while. When the baby is big enough to come out into the world, it will go and live with this very special family, and they will be so happy!” There is several wonderful picture books out there to read to your little ones.
For older children
If you have a couple of older kids, you face a new set of challenges explaining the pregnancy. Your oldest child has seen you pregnant before. The last time, that pregnancy resulted in a sibling. You’ll need to explain very clearly that the baby is for a different set of parents. Your child may be concerned that you are giving away a brother or sister, simply because you don’t want to keep it; so you need to clarify that this is not a baby made by you and that you are simply just a kangaroo pouch, but this is a very special baby made for another family. Explain that the other mom’s tummy could not grow the baby, so you offered to give them a very special gift and grow their baby for them until it is ready to enter the world and join their family.
An older child may be able to understand terms like “incubator” or “oven,” images that help them grasp the concept of surrogacy and its temporary nature. You can also refer to yourself as the “extended babysitter” for the intended parents. Introduce your children to the Intended Parents; this will help them understand who the baby actually belongs too.
Reassurance and Love
No matter what your child’s age may be, he or she may develop a fear of being given away someday, as you plan to give the intended parents’ baby to them. When you explain surrogacy the first time, and at other times in the future, express your deep love and commitment to your children. Let them know that you planned for them, wished for them, and will keep them forever. Often time’s children get very excited for the Intended Parents. They see the bond their mommy has with the Intended Parents and how excited they are to meet their baby!
Golden State Surrogacy CEO, Shannon’s personal surrogacy journeys.
At the time my son was only five years old and my daughter was just turning two. They didn’t really understand surrogacy at all, but why would they? My son knew I was having a baby for a great friend because her belly didn’t work like mine. I introduced my children to the families I carried for. We would often get together for lunch, celebrate holidays together, or simply send pictures back and forth to each other. My kids knew the Intended Parents as friends and once the baby came they were just happy to have me back home. Our daily routine never changed too much, and once the babies were healthy enough to meet my children, they did! Today I am lucky to say that my children love seeing pictures of our “surro babies” and know that they are just like any other child who is loved!
Our mission at Surrogacy Journeys is providing exceptional services for families who acquire guidance to become parents. We thrive to make your journey to parenthood as smooth as possible with our experienced and compassionate on call team.