The Stork, a rainbow, “the Birds and the Bees”; these are a few stories used to answer “Where do babies come from?” As adults, we understand where babies come from and the fact that sometimes, babies don’t come that way either. Adults are able to understand the struggles Intended Parents go through, for the chance to have their families. We understand, because we understand the birds and the bees. But, what happens when you have to stray form that story and add in the factor of surrogacy to make a baby for someone?
“What will you tell your children?” is a question asked most times when surrogate mothers and parents meet for the first time. Intended Parents fear there may be a bond made between the child and the baby. Telling children about surrogacy may be a delicate situation. It is easy for adults to reach out and want to help, but making sure the children understand is something to take into consideration. The “broken tummy” story seems to go over well with young children. “Ms. Jane’s tummy is broken. They put her baby in Mommy’s tummy to grow, and then we will give it back to Ms. Jane.” The children seem to understand that their mommy is helping someone have a baby, and it is not going to be their brother or sister. They are proud to make the announcement to other family members, friends, and teachers that their mommy is having a baby and it is not their daddy’s. Further explanation from an adult at that time will be necessary, of course.
Having the children meet the Intended Parents is also a good way to help them understand how their family is helping another family. The children know how happy they are with their parents and siblings and want to know they are helping someone else to have that happiness. The children run up to the Intended Parents showing off their mommy’s belly to make sure they know it is their baby that’s in there. They will talk to it as Ms. Jane’s baby and not as a sibling.
Delivery can be a time for closure for the children of a surrogate mother. If they are able to come to the hospital and witness the reunion of the baby and family, it is a great way for them to see what everyone has worked towards all this time. They will understand that every step of the journey was to make a family. They will see happy new parents leaving with their baby and they will get to take their mommy home with them. If they are old enough to remember what their mommy did for the Intended Parents, they will continue to tell their story of how their family helped create another family.
Article by Tricia Howard, Fertility Source Companies Director of Operations – Regional and International.