I was fully prepared to come home from the hospital without a baby; my friends and family, however, were not.
The days following giving birth to my surro-baby continued on as normal. There were birthday parties to be had, school, and kids afterschool activities. I was stuck in this after birth limbo- life had to go on, but how could it? I had a sore bottom, huge, tender breasts, and hormones like a roller coaster ride. Was this what I had expected? To be left alone to deal with all these postpartum norms? Since I had no baby to take care of, and I was perfectly okay with that, then what else could there be to support me through?
The first thing people are concerned about when learning I was having a baby as a surrogate mother, is how I could handle not bringing home the baby. That part, for me, was never an issue, as I went on this journey with that being the end goal. I was prepared and happy to give my Intended Parents their precious baby. I spent months reassuring my friends and family I would be completely fine with it. What I should have been doing is making sure they would be fine with ME being fine.
I should have had more conversations about how life would be difficult in other ways, and what I would need that didn’t include worry over my emotions.
I needed companionship; I needed wholesome meals and coffee breaks. I needed people to spend time with my kids so I wouldn’t feel guilty about staying in bed all day. I needed check-ins about how life was after the baby, and not how I was dealing with not having a baby.
And on the days I wasn’t feeling all that fine, I needed it to be okay that I wasn’t. I needed to be told that I didn’t have to be to be so strong. I didn’t need to hear with a knowing nod- “Oh I was expecting this- she’s not as ok with this as she says she is”.
Because it wasn’t about that- it was about the fact that my body still had given birth, and even though the baby wasn’t around, I still had to physically recover.
And to be even more honest, I had grown used to the attention over the pregnancy. Everyone I knew was excited for us all, and couldn’t wait to hear the news and how it all would go. Then, the baby was born, and just like that- it was all done. Did I expect anything different? I didn’t know what to expect and that’s the thing, none of us did.
But the days went on, and my body healed gradually. I had a new found gratitude for everything that I could do again now that I wasn’t pregnant or caring for a newborn. Life was so different postpartum without a baby!
Now it’s been a few months and life has gone back to normal as if the surrogacy has never happened. It’s such a surreal feeling; almost like it was a dream. The only thing I would change would be to have had more conversations about what I might need after the baby was born, what postpartum might look like for me.
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