Deciding to be a surrogate mother is one of the biggest acts of generosity that any woman can make. There is nothing small or trivial about agreeing to use your uterus to allow another couple’s child to safely develop there, then undertake the struggle of labor to deliver a healthy child that is united with his or her new, intended parents. This is an effort that takes an enormous amount of time, commitment, personal, and financial resources to do safely.
That’s why, if you’re thinking of being a surrogate mother, there are plenty of things that should be considered. We have a few tips to keep in mind for anyone that is thinking of walking down this rewarding but demanding path.
Go It Alone, Or Get Some Help
Try to decide early on whether you want to be an independent, or part of an agency. If you want more control over your choices, then independent may be better, but it means more work for you! You’ll need to screen couples carefully, do a lot more research and verification on your own to ensure the legitimacy of an offer.
If you agree to work with an agency, this means that the agency takes on the role of “matchmaker,” and this takes much of the burden of safety and screening away from you. This may mean a few more ground rules or regulations the agency would like you to follow, but it also means less effort on your part.
Your Health Is Everything
The key to successful surrogate motherhood is staying in good medical condition. This is not just important for you, to better handle the stresses of pregnancy; it is critical for the baby. If you’re not in good health, this is going to impact the baby’s development, and possibly even have long-lasting, negative consequences, such as the baby being born with a medical condition.
This is why you should always be willing to eat right and exercise appropriately, but safely. Your lifestyle habits are important in this as well. Don’t think you’ll be able to smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol while pregnant. If you do all this already, be prepared to stop if you’re serious about being a surrogate mother.
Your Feelings Matter Too
Few people appreciate just how much of an emotional experience being a surrogate mother will be. This is why it’s important that you acknowledge this aspect and make sure you have emotional support. If you’re with an agency, see if they provide counselors for their surrogate mothers, and if you’re on your own, try to find a counselor that has experience with surrogate motherhood.
You’re going to experience a strong range of emotions, sometimes positive, sometimes negative, always powerful. Counselors can be an essential pillar of support during this time, to help you maintain control during the experience and keep sight of your goals.
Involve The Hopeful Parents
You’re going to carry a baby, and the parents, naturally, will want to be in the loop. This isn’t like a typical pregnancy where the couple maintains constant, daily contact with each other, and watch the baby develop. This means that unless you keep the hopeful parents informed, and updated, they can only wait and hope.
During the pregnancy period, make an effort to keep the hopeful parents caught up. Provide updates, try to accommodate visits, and make sure to forge a strong, meaningful bond. You’re all in this together for the duration of the pregnancy, and you all need to be on good terms with each other, as well as caught up on the progress of the baby.
Get Ready To Talk About It
While much more common today, surrogate motherhood is still not something that you frequently see, on the street. At least not knowingly. This is why you should get used to the idea that if people find out you are a surrogate mother, there is going to be a conversation about it. Plenty of people have questions about carrying someone else’s child, and some will have no hesitation about asking those questions.
Be prepared to give answers. Always be polite, but firm. You don’t have to justify your actions to anyone, nor do you have remain in a conversation if it takes a hostile turn. But do expect there will be much honest curiosity about the topic, and you are now an ambassador.
Have A Support Network
Pregnancy is one of the biggest challenges that any woman can face, so make sure you don’t do this alone! If you have the support of an agency, with professionals like counselors or other handlers, make sure you take advantage of this. But don’t forget your network of family and friends.
There is no shame and nothing wrong in asking for help when you need it during this challenging time. A pregnancy means taking care of yourself is taking care of the baby. Make sure you do it!