Probably my biggest concern during the surrogacy journey I recently embarked on was my children. I knew my husband and I were on the same page. Neither of us had a desire for more children and were emotionally detached from this pregnancy. My kids, however, are too young to fully comprehend the complexities of such an arrangement.
We spoke to them at the very beginning of this journey and let them know what would be happening. We decided to go into this being completely honest and open. They seemed to be fine with the surrogacy even if they maybe didn’t totally get what was happening.
During my pregnancy they would often rub my belly and talk to the baby inside. My daughter was only two years old and I’m not sure she truly realized what it meant to have a baby in my belly. My son is four and a pretty smart kid, so we definitely spoke with him about the baby, where she came from, and where she would be going. He was OK with it all. He understood that this baby wasn’t his sibling. He knew the couple we regularly Skyped with were the parents of this baby. We talked frequently about how after the baby was born she would go home with her Mommy and Daddy.
Then one day he hit me with a surprising remark, “I wish we could keep the baby.”
My son seemed perfectly fine and was more than happy to go home at the end of the day without the baby.
I didn’t know how to respond. I mentioned what he said to his teacher and she let me know that many of his classmates had had baby siblings born recently. The class had talked about the new babies one morning and while the new big brothers and sisters gushed about their baby siblings, my son said, “My Mommy has a baby in her belly but it’s not for us.” He didn’t seem sad, but she could tell that he was really processing. Maybe in that moment it really sunk in for him.
We had a long talk about it and by the end he seemed to understand why we were doing this surrogacy. I think it also helped that we made it clear that babies cry a lot and have stinky diapers. He definitely didn’t want to be responsible for changing any poopy diapers.
It had always been important to me that my kids meet the baby after she was born, and I really wanted to make sure they met her so I could monitor their reactions and help them process their feelings and gain closure. I was hoping they would be able to come to the hospital directly after the birth, but the baby ended up being born too late in the evening and I was discharged the next morning while they were at school.
After talking with the parents we agreed to allow a couple of weeks to pass before meeting up again. We ended up going to the pool with all the kids and they had a great time. They were shy about meeting the baby at first but soon warmed up to her. They even held her for a little bit and helped me feed her a bottle. My daughter kept saying she looked like her baby cousin. My son seemed perfectly fine and was more than happy to go home at the end of the day without the baby.
It’s been about a month since the surrogate baby’s birth and life is pretty much back to normal. We've met up with the family one other time before their trek back home to Europe and we plan on keeping in touch through the magic of the internet. And while my kids loved meeting the baby and were very sweet with her, they were also happy to keep our family just as it is.