I have to say that I have been incredibly lucky in my surrogacy journey so far. We haven't had to face many obstacles and mostly everyone I encounter is supportive of my decision to carry a baby for someone else.
There have been a few, however, who can't help but voice their negative opinion about what I'm doing. I understand that surrogacy is hard for some to understand. They cannot fathom someone putting their life on the line to carry a baby that they don't get to keep. There have even been ethical concerns raised. That's just life.
I know not everyone I meet is going to agree with my choices and that's okay. It can still, however, take a toll on you when you're facing criticism. I just wish people would trust me as a grown responsible adult to make the best decisions for my own life. I certainly didn't come to the decision to be a surrogate lightly. This is something I thought about for years. This is something I prayed over and discussed at length with my husband and close confidantes. So while I understand the criticisms and concerns raised by others, it can still be little annoying and insulting to deal with their unsolicited comments.
So, what to do? How is a surrogate to handle the criticism often thrown her way? Here are a few things I have done and seem to work for me:
1. Be an open book. I find that, often, when someone criticizes something, it's simply because they don't know much about it. They may have some false preconceived notions about the process of surrogacy. I have tried to be as transparent about my journey as possible in hopes of shedding light on the surrogacy world. Hopefully by having more information they will see that it's really not that weird.
2. Explain why you chose surrogacy. Again, offering information can help people better understand why you would choose to do something most people would never do. When I explain my whole thought process behind my decision, most people seem to nod along and get it.
If someone is being incredibly rude or hurtful, just walk away and forget about it. Don't waste your energy fretting about what they think.
3. Be kind, but firm. When others have criticized my surrogacy I have been as kind as possible, but very firm when shutting them down. Someone I know used the term "synthetic children" with regards to babies conceived through IVF. I was appalled by those words. I kindly let them know that the baby I am carrying is in no way synthetic, but is, in fact, a very real living beautiful baby that is loved beyond measure.
4. Be sympathetic. I have some older family members who are very Catholic. Surrogacy is simply unheard of for them. I have chosen to understand that they are of a different time and mind-frame, and that's fine. When you've gone your whole life believing something it can be hard to let that go. I have to respect their opinion, even if I do not agree with it. Walk away. If someone is being incredibly rude or hurtful, just walk away and forget about it. Don't waste your energy fretting about what they think. Sometimes it's necessary to get some tough skin.
5. Have a support person. Whenever I have felt overwhelmed by criticism I have been able to go to my husband for support. He reminds me of why I'm doing what I'm doing. And he also reminds me that not everyone thinks I'm crazy. He's my rock and I'm so thankful to have him on my side.