Friday, December 18, 2015

Expectation vs. Reality

One of my life catch phrases is, "I LOVE a captive audience!"

Most people fear just one thing more than death.
Public Speaking.

Not me.

I adore public speaking, it's a natural high for me. I've actually job searched for positions where I could get paid to talk to audiences about.. well, anything. Those jobs don't exist.

While I honestly feel like I could talk to an audience about just about any topic, it's an added bonus when the subject is something I'm passionate about.

So when I got the chance to give an impromptu interview about surrogacy.... I mean... is it even really a question that I'd be champing at the bit?

This particular journalist had a very difficult time accepting that surrogates could:
  • Not be here only for financial gain
  • Not have a maternal attachment to- and desire to keep- the child she carries
  • Are not being exploited

During our conversation I felt like I had a break through moment, and I wanted to share it with you all.

This journalist cited two Italian couples who had both gone to an IVF clinic with hopes of conceiving a child. Through a horrible (and impossibly rare) occurrence, these women had their embryos swapped. Mom A was implanted with mom B's embryos, and vice versa. Well, mom A's transfer wound up being unsuccessful, and mom B? She wound up pregnant with twins. Twins who were not biologically related to her or her husband.

So, naturally, mom A wanted those twins. They were, after all, her biological children. And, of course, mom B wanted those twins as well. She was, after all, carrying them. Read more about this horrible story, here.

This reporter felt that, as a surrogate, I must feel as mom B did. While the children in my uterus are not my biological kin, how could I NOT want them, in the exact way that mom B wanted the twins that she carried to term and birthed?

Well, friends. Here's how.

It's all about expectation vs. reality.

When mom A and mom B walked into the fertility clinic, they both expected to be implanted with embryos that were biologically their own. They expected that, 9 months later, they'd give birth to children that were biologically their own, and take them home with them.

As a surrogate, when I walk into the fertility clinic, I expect to be implanted with an embryo that is in NO way biologically related to me. I expect that, 9 months later, I'll give birth to a child than is in no way biologically related to me, and that the child will go home with his/her biological parents, and not me.

Tragically, mom A and mom B had realities that did not meet their expectations.

For me, my reality will always match my expectation, and that is why I am able to do this. I walk in with a predetermined expectation, and my reality will meet that- every single time. Comparing the Italian case against that of a standard gestational carrier... is comparing apples to oranges. Or, better yet, comparing apples to eggplant. They're no where near the same situation.

When you add in the layers of ethical surrogacy- the hyper intense screening process wherein 99% of applicants are declined- of course surrogates (at least those working with Growing Generations) are here for the right reasons- they're in no way desperate for money or being exploited.

It is eye opening to me to meet real, sincere, heartfelt people who are so far removed from what I consider to be an obvious truth. This reporter was in no way rude, or abrasive. This was simply a case of underexposure and under education.

I hope that maybe I gave her something to consider, and that hopefully I have opened her eyes to how gestational surrogates can do what we do without being victimized, exploited, or left in despair. I hope that, maybe just maybe, I opened her eyes to that fact that, for most of us, surrogacy itself is its own reward. We're not here for the money, we're here to make dreams come true.

I do this for that first cry. For that moment when a new life exists because of women like me. For that moment when I hear three cries... one from a baby and one from each of two new parents. Because in that moment, my life has made a difference in the world. I have changed a family tree, and potentially the whole world, because I said yes. Yes, I will help you do something that you can't do on your own.