Tuesday, July 5, 2016

How Many Times Are You Going to do This?

I took the girls to their annual pediatrician check up last week.  During the delightful visit I shared that I was pregnant with twins in a second surrogacy journey. His reaction was along the lines of:

That's so wonderful!
What a great gift you're giving! 

and... of course...

How many times are you going to do this? 

It is not an uncommon question for surrogates who choose to do more than one journey. While most people will still cheer you on, it sometimes feels as though the assumption of your motives goes from truly altruistic... to somewhat greedy. I've heard tale of multiple time surrogates being on the receiving end of comments such as, "Wow. Do you really need the money?" and "Got yourself a nice little side job there, don't ya?"

For me, the motives to do this again are pretty much the same as they were the first time. I still love being pregnant. I still don't mind the labor and delivery process. I still have a perfect record of complication free pregnancies and deliveries.

The only difference is, this time, I have the gift of hindsight. It's not scary this time. I know I can do this. I know how it feels to give the child back after birth. And, most importantly, I know just how INCREDIBLE and life affirming surrogacy is for everyone involved. It's safe to say it's a high, and I'm kind of hooked.

So, how many times am I going to do this? 

I've always felt like, if possible, I'd like to know at the start of a pregnancy if I intend for it to be my last. Emotionally, I'd like to say goodbye to each phase as they go. I've always known, deep in my bones, I'd be at least a two time surrogate.

When Chris and I started the road to our second experience, we started with the thought of, "What if M & T want a sibling?" Would that be our last experience, or would we still feel pulled to help another family, too?

We decided that we'd want to help a second family. That meant that, had M&T wanted a sibling, we'd have had to have our hearts open to a total of 3 surrogate experiences. That seemed doable. Realistic. Noble. 4 just seemed like too many. For us, anyway.

As it turned out, M&T felt their family was full enough with just Ellie. But, by this point, the idea of three journeys was ingrained my heart and head. So, if all things go to plan, we are hoping for 3 surrogate experiences. I have a little "surrogacy bucket list" with just one or two more things I'd like to accomplish before I retire.

That said, carrying twins, in my 30s, might be cause for me to say enough is enough. I reserve the right to say I'm done after this journey. Also, as a surrogate I look up to and respect very much often says, "When it comes to surrogacy... you're retired...unnnnnnnnntil you're not." So while I say the idea of a 4th is something we're in no way interested in- never say never, I suppose.

The summary here is that the choice to become a repeat surrogate is as incredibly personal and unique to each woman as the initial choice to become a surrogate. Just as you "know" when you are done building your biological family, surrogates have an instinct to  "know" we're done building our surrogate families. Some women know they're a, "one hit wonder." Others know they'll do this until someone tells them they can't.

For me, my uterus isn't ready to retire just yet.