As this blog continues to gain in readership and popularity, I find that I censor some of my subjects or topics from time to time. That was never my intention, in fact quite the opposite of it, but it is the mature thing to do. But I've been biting my tongue so hard these past couple of weeks that I'm going to start bleeding soon if I don't get this off my chest.
Sometimes the negative stereotypes that circle surrogacy have nothing to do with the surrogate, and everything to do with the Intended Parents.
To be clear, this has positively NOTHING to do with my IFs. M&T hung the moon in my eyes, I can't imagine them ever doing anything (on purpose or not) that would really make me mad. We mesh well. They've got the perfect blend of not putting me on a pedestal that I don't need and not making me feel like an employee.
But some of these other IPs.... whew...
It seems like in the past several weeks so many of the gals I've come to call my surro sisters are needing support... because it has been sorely lacking from the folks they're putting their lives and waistlines on hold for.
I just can not fathom wanting a family so badly as to front the cost of surrogacy (because while I'll admit I have no idea what it costs to IPs, I know that it can't be cheap) and then not giving a hoot about the pregnancy, the surrogate or the birth.
For me it comes down to this one simple truth: This is not MY pregnancy. It's YOURS. I expect IPs to sit up and pay attention. Be an active part of it. And when they don't, it just gets all 5 foot 2 inches of me fired up!
Further, don't treat a surrogate as a minimum wage employee. While it may be true that you sign a check that somehow finds its way to her account.. it's not really Earth moving amounts, most of us don't need it, and even fewer of us are doing this for the money. To treat a surrogate as a baseline employee and not family, or at a bare minimum as a respected colleague, really just gets under my skin.
I wish I could give examples of certain stories I've heard lately. But, those stories aren't my story and it's not my place to share them. It's just been too many examples of people who don't seem to realize that their surrogate has feelings, or is a person with needs. Or of people who haven't seemed to find a way to grab onto the fact that very soon, it does't matter what you do or do not WANT to do, you're a parent and you now have obligations and responsibilities.
So if you're an IP reading this -- I know I have a handful of you that follow-- here are some very basic guidelines that will go a LONG way.
Be present. Take an interest in YOUR child. What he/she does in womb. Do they like music? Certain foods? What was the heartrate? Ask.
Remember your surrogate is more than a uterus. Ask how SHE'S feeling. Especially in the days and weeks post birth, when she's likely to feel very un-needed. Bonus? If you're OK with her holding the baby, offer it... don't make her ask (seems like lots of gals have a hard time with asking)
Finally, if possible, be her friend. Remember the golden rule. Pay attention. M&T sent me hydrangeas a couple of weeks ago. Blue hydrangea to be exact. My wedding flowers. My favorite flowers. I cried. It meant so much more to me than some of these super gifts I hear about from time to time. They're my friends. They care about what I love. They paid attention, and the impact it had is more than I can express.
OK- I actually do feel better. Sorry for the long rant.
I now return you to the world of M,T, Mandy and baby Joey Girl... where everything is sunshine, rainbows love and respect.