Abigail Glass is a therapist, wife and mother. She has both personal and professional experience of fertility treatment, miscarriage, pregnancy loss and surrogacy.
In this blog, Abigail explores the sensitive subject of explaining surrogacy to children when you are the surrogate.
There are a few things to consider when you tell your children about your surrogacy journey. The way you approach the conversation will depend on your child’s age and cognitive ability.
You also need to consider if you have more than one child and whether you have support around you from your family and your community.
It is important that your children learn directly from you that you are a surrogate. You don’t want them to overhear any conversations about it or are asked about it by someone else.
Follow your child’s lead. Share with them the basic information and see if they ask another question. If they do, answer that question. Avoid overloading them with too much information. They will ask the questions based on how much information they can handle.
If your children are very young, wait until you know you are pregnant. Then they don’t have to retain the information for too long.
I have found the best way to describe surrogacy to children is to show them a photograph of the intended parents. It gives them something tangible that they can see and hang onto.
You can explain to them that the intended parents hope to have a child just like you had them. Share with them that the person’s body is unable to grow a baby, so you are going to grow their baby inside of your body.
Let them know you are helping to grow their baby, but you are not going to be the baby’s mother. This is a gift that you giving to someone who wants to have a baby.
It is important to use the word ‘surrogate’ with your children. This is such a significant event in your family’s world; they should feel like they are a part of it.
They need to know what surrogate means, as they are bound to hear conversations between you and other adults either personally or medically.
You may be surprised by how many people in public are willing to say and ask personal questions. They are likely to assume that the pregnancy will result in a sibling for your child., They may ask directly, “Are you having a baby brother or sister?”
Your child should have the information to respond in a way that feels comfortable to them. They may wish to answer the question or direct the person to you.
Some children may ask about the medical side, as you will be going to several medical appointments. You may get questions like, “How does the baby get inside?” Depending on their age, you may respond by saying, “With the doctor’s help.”
Depending on how inquisitive your child is, as well as their age, will determine how much technical information they need.
If you are not sure of the language to use there are some books that can help, so that you can read the material to them.
Abigail Glass. MFT
With children of all ages, it is important to reassure them that you are feeling fine, even if you have nausea, don’t feel well or are going to the doctor more often.
If your children are a bit older you can let them know that not every seed or embryo becomes a baby and that you may need to try a few times.
If you have multiple children of different ages and you choose to tell your older ones first, you don’t want them to have to hold a secret from your younger children.
Sometimes it is best to tell your different aged children separately so you can answer their various, age-appropriate questions.
Surrogacy is an exciting journey to take with your family. It is an opportunity for your children to learn about you and have a unique life experience they will always remember!
For more information on becoming a surrogate please click here.