Motivation and expectations

Due to a recent surge in surrogacy related posting (if you know why, good for you, if not, I don’t really want to talk about the article but googling surrogacy article would probable be a good start.) I have been thinking a lot about things like motivation and expectations.  I know I try to put up a good blog that people enjoy reading but I also know that I’m not the best out there by any means so it is rather intimidating to me to even try to write about this but I will toss out my attempt and hope that someone finds it interesting. 

The ‘stereotypical surrogate’ has been thrown out there for the world to see as an uneducated, not-so-well off, unemployed mother.  I’ve never met a carrier that met this stereotype but since I’ve never in person met ANY carrier, I guess that doesn’t mean much.  I do, however, feel a certain shield around me from any insults hurled to these surrogates because I know I do not, in fact, match that stereotype.  The only one I do match is that I’ve had children and I’m the wife of a military person.  Now, that military wife bit just makes me laugh because I am the most NON-STEREOTYPICAL military wife you’ll ever see.  I stick out like a sore thumb any time I go to anything military for my husband.  The fact that I married someone that ended up being in the military is just such an odd twist of fate that I think one of the weavers must’ve been high on something when they tossed that shuttle cock about.  Anyway, getting back to that shield, maybe it IS snobbery.  Who knows.  But the fact is that I am not uneducated (college degree, computer science), I am no not-so-well off (personal opinion there really, I don’t know what our family income would have to be to qualify me for that statement.), and I’m not unemployed. (I’d LIKE to be a stay at home mom, but that whole military husband thing along with my computer science degree and me being the main breadwinner in the family gets in the way of that.)

Being a non-stereotypical surrogate means that no matter what media or public blog commentators have to say about it, I don’t feel I have to listen.  Then I question though… honestly… what motivates someone to BE a carrier?  I’ve had a number of people tell me “OH, that is so wonderful!  I had thought about being a surrogate but I didn’t because…..” and there is always something.  Because they didn’t.  Because not a lot of people DO.  Because of all the people that I’ve met in my life, I have never in person met another surrogate.  If that stereotype even had a chance of being RIGHT, there would be so many MORE surrogates.  I’d KNOW more surrogates in my life.  I mean, let’s face it, the almighty dollar has a pretty big hold on our culture.   I also don’t think that there are that few people that would have such an issue with handing the baby back to the parents at the end.  THAT I get from all the people that ‘would’ve done that but…’ because they admire the part about helping people to become parents.  What they didn’t want to do was spent a huge amount of time and energy putting their bodies through something that is a monstrous pain in the ass just for someone else – especially if that someone else is a stranger.  I honestly don’t think that I would’ve done it if I hadn’t lost Anily.  I think it takes that push – something that is a huge emotional trigger to really let a woman FEEL the pain of infertility – that drives someone to pursue surrogacy.  I think it HAS to.  So the implication of the stereotype – the dumb poor girl that naively thinks that she can get pregnant and sell the baby off to make some much needed funds for her family – that implication is extremely unfair to ANYONE.  Even IF she happens to be poor, uneducated, and yes, a barefoot mother with a dilapidated porch.

See, if you are doing this because you know the pain of infertility, then you are more likely than the general public to understand what you are taking on by becoming pregnant with, loving and caring for, and then turning over the intended parents’ child(ren).  I don’t think anyone thinks that it will be easy.  I even told P and J that I was, in a way, feeling a bit less anxious about that point in this journey because they are having two boys.  Had there been a little girl, I knew from the start that I’d have to deal with that correlation to giving birth to Anily and not bringing her home.  Not that my mindset is “Oh crap, more boys, take the little urchins away!” or anything like that, but I’ve learned over the years that the grief of losing her sneaks up on me at times that I would often not expect it, and expect it when leaving the hospital after giving birth empty-handed for a second time I certainly do.  But knowing that something will be hard doesn’t mean that you are not going to do it.  Just like DOING something doesn’t mean that you thought it was going to be easy.  I guess that’s why I get so defensive whenever someone says “Oh, you must love being pregnant!”  So no, I don’t believe that any surrogate goes into BEING a surrogate naively thinking that she can get pregnant and sell the baby off because she really needs the funds.  She goes into it KNOWING that it is going to be hard both physically and emotionally, but she does so because she is a STRONG person and genuinely knows what kind of heartache she is helping to allieve to whatever extent that she can.  And because she thinks that helping someone not feel that kind of hurt is worth all the pains and trials of getting to that point.  Is it really fair to dismiss all that resolve by making a sweeping statement that she is ‘taken advantage of’ and thus tricked into being a surrogate?

Talking about this makes me think of a question I was asked last night by J.  He wanted to know if there was anything in the surrogacy journey so far that was different than what I expected.  I had said no and I was being honest.  So far, it’s been pretty much what I thought it would be.  Some minor differences have come up. I thought the agency would be better.  I thought the intended parents would be more authoritative when it came to how I went about being pregnant with their children.  I thought that it wouldn’t take so long to get to the point of attempting our first transfer.  Then again, I figured there would be unexpected things happening as well so those differences are not really differences at all.  Along with that line of thought though, has being pregnant with twins been what I expected from being pregnant with twins?  So far, it has actually been easier than I thought.  Now, if you’ve been reading, you know that I’ve NOT been having an easy time.  It is just that I thought it would be more different from carrying a singleton than it has turned out to be.  I don’t claim to have the best stance on that so far though because I’m a day away from being only 20 weeks along and I know the hardest part is yet to come.  I guess what I’m saying is, yes, it has been exactly what I thought it would be, and that is to say that it has been a huge inconvenient pain in the ass that has also been kind of fun along the way as well as very emotionally rewarding.

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6 Responses

  1. Honestly the last month was the hardest for me-34-37 weeks. I’m hoping alot of the discomfort had to do with it being August. I look forward to hearing how you feel about the differences a few weeks after your delivery. It took me a good 18 months to be ok with the idea of carrying twins again.

  2. Here’s my ‘surro’ qualifications. I only have an AA in Child Development. This was a choice though to get on with having my kids first and going back for a 4 year degree once they were grown if I really wanted it.
    We live in CA on just my husband’s state salary-not a ton, but enough for us to get by. We’d be doing great if we lived in a cheaper state.
    Yes, we have a dilapidated front yard, but it’s a choice. They raised our water rates several years ago and I refuse to pay that much for green grass. Eventually we’ll get to ‘green’ landscaping, but it’s very low on my priority list. It doesn’t make me less able to carry a baby.
    I am a SAHM by choice. I could get a job, even a good paying job, but we made a choice for me to stay home and raise my kids, not because I’m unable to work, but because that was the right choice for our family. I also know that if I was working surrogacy would have a much greater impact on my family and I didn’t want the surrogacy to impact them.
    I personally have not had infertility struggles, but I did have a friend that we thought medically it might not be the best idea. I offered to carry for her on her wedding day, once they had a baby on their own I began to seriously look into doing it for a stranger. I felt it was what I was meant to do.

  3. This was very interesting to read in light of the current media coverage. Thanks so much.

  4. Ooh, this was a great and thorough take on surrogacy!! For me, you hit the nail on the head. I had a *short* visit with infertility when TTC with my first child and that really was the motivator when the idea was presented to me. I giggle just a little when people insinuate it is for the money. Really?? Pregnancy is a big pain in the …. Vagina.., injections for weeks aren’t fun, letting go of control to the IP’s isn’t a cake walk, and the strain on your body just being pregnant isn’t neat. The money? Really isn’t all that great. I’d make more working at my local pizza place. And I guess I AM the stereotype. I don’t have a college degree. Several years as a successful real estate broker? Yes? College degree? No. And now I DO stay home with my children. Because, for my family, that was the right thing to do. And you know what? The additional relief that the compensation provides for my family is nice. It makes me less uncomfortable with the changes that they have to make because of this pregnancy. But the bottom line is that if it isn’t *right* for you, it won’t matter HOW much money is offered. And if it is? The same thought applies. Some wouldn’t do it for ten years’ salary, and some would do it for free. For both, the actual bottom line number isn’t the deciding factor. It was so refreshing to read a post that so clearly details the reason many ( most) women become surrogates!

  5. It’s great to read your take as someone who doesn’t fit that stereotype everyone likes to use. It’s really interesting that you had the experience of a loss (I’m so sorry) and that’s what made you (at least partially) connect to surrogacy. I think most surrogates have probably not had that experience, from what I have seen. It must be a wonderful feeling to help build families when you know first hand of some of their pain, as unfortunate as that fact is.

  6. This was an excellent post. I am really sorry that you lost your precious daughter. No doubt that loss resurfaces and can hit you hard. Wait…..do you hear that cheering…..that’s us IM’s giving you a standing ovation.

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