Is there a name for this: trying to detach yourself from the family that you just had a baby for even through this is your 4th surrogacy journey?? I know it will happen, it always does. It takes a while but it happens, I get over it and I get on with it but is there a name for it?
I swear I find it so hard to just leave them alone!!! I am not attached to the baby/babies at all. I just treasure the friendship and the bond I I have formed with the IPs for all 4 babies. In my mind, the IM and I are best friends (she has her best friends, all of whom I never met, I am just the surrogate) we had such a deep connection. Two women fighting for the same thing, to have this beautiful baby in order to complete her family. I have a full life, raising my own children, happy and fulfilled. I am single, have been for the last 9 years. I have been celibate for the last 9 years because I chose to be a surrogate and be on this journey four times. Surrogacy has helped me work through and overcome my divorce.
Surrogacy has been a season in my life that I am very proud of and I now know in my spirit that I am done. (Am I though?!) I am now officially retired. Surrogacy gave my life meaning when I was still processing the divorce, it gave me independence and boosted my self-confidence.
However, each journey I found myself so invested with the families – so intent on doing good and making the experience for them as smooth as possible. How as surrogates are we expected to just move on, to cut ties so to speak and to just go back to normal. What is normal? The best analogy I have is the honeymoon phase is over. For the entire journey, you the surrogate, you are the focus, you are the star! you are in constant contact with your IPs (I was, at least) for the entire process of the journey. Texting almost everyday and constantly updating them on upcoming appointments, babies movements, sharing bump pictures, etc. The match, the transfer, the positive pregnancy test, the pregnancy, the appointments, then the birth. As surrogates, we are so committed and invested in this process and I find myself quietly having to deal with this and it is so hard mentally. Finding myself wanting to text them, or just thinking of them and baby. So again I say, is there a name/term for trying to detach yourself from the IPs?
The families have moved on with their lives. They have their precious baby/babies, they are immersed in this new phase of raising the baby and the last thing on their mind is checking in with you and seeing how you are doing. Of course, they are not heartless and they will show their appreciation and voice their appreciation once the baby arrives. Yet nobody realizes and maybe it’s not shared enough via surrogates themselves that we feel down after the birth. Not everyone, but some. You feel down, not blue, just down. With my first journey in 2016 I was very down. Not depressed, just down. I didn’t know why. You know you are still a hot mess with all those hormones and changes your body is going through. You’re dealing with breastmilk or sore breasts if you decide to pump for the baby etc. In order to snap out of that I booked a lovely trip for myself and my daughters and just focused on me and spoiling me. It really helped to get over it and get on with it.
In 2018, my second journey, I delivered a healthy baby girl, naturally, but this time around I was fortunate enough to have 4 weeks with the family, seeing them almost everyday before they left to go back home (they live internationally).
These IPs are still in touch with me and I am hoping to save the money this year to visit them. This mama needs a trip away from her everyday life and reality and bills and children and all the real life stuff!
In 2020, my third journey, I delivered a healthy baby girl, naturally, and it was the sibling journey for surro baby #2 so it was easy to let go and did not affect me as much. It was easy for me to stop thinking of them soon after the birth because this IM would on her own send me updates of the babies every few weeks. She seemed and is genuine and like family to me and my children now. She always tells me that when the kids are old enough she will tell them about me. She doesn’t have to but then again, it is her choice. Most recently my baby turned 18 years old and she sent us a video of her 2 girls, two of my surro babies, singing Happy Birthday to my daughter (who they have no idea who these people are they are singing too, LOL). It was the sweetest thing ever!!
In 2022, my fourth journey, I delivered a healthy baby girl, naturally, and this time around the IPs were local so there was no need for them to stick around and wait for a passport like my other couples had to. For surro baby #4, the IPs had their own room in the hospital, whereas for the first 3 journeys they were all in the room with me. Which I actually loved.
The previous IPs wanted me to breastfeed the babies. Yes breastfeed, not pump but breastfeed right away. Your agency will likely tell you DO NOT breastfeed but whatever you and your IPs decide is whats best. I did pump for a few weeks after the birth and when they left the country, I stopped pumping. My final journey, the couple were eager to be out of the hospital and go home. They had to stay an extra 2 nights because the baby had slight jaundice but I had already gone home by then. They left the hospital, and they did stop by my house to say goodbye but it felt rushed, I felt sad. I was not mentally prepared for it.
I am not bitter, I assure you. I have done this before, four times and I know in time this feeling will pass as it has done before. I am not sad, these are just thoughts I have and I am so sure there are many, many other surrogates that feel the same way after a surrogate journey ends. These are all valid thoughts and feelings. In essence, I do feel that after four journeys, surrogacy is not all sweet-smelling flowers in a beautiful open field with unicorns and rainbows everywhere. It is hard, man. It is emotionally draining, it changes you as a person. It is something that affects your spirit on a level that only another surrogate can fully comprehend. The money does not and never will compensate surrogates for carrying someone else’ baby because people can never know what we go through emotionally, physically, and mentally. In my experience, there are many surrogates that I know of that had really bad experiences, health complications, IPs that didn’t mesh, IPs that were not supportive, IPs that just refuse to have contact after the baby is born even after they promised you were like “family” to them. People fail you and nobody is perfect but where does that leave the surrogate who sacrificed so much to complete strangers?
I am so thankful for the amazing, wonderful IPs I have had, all of whom keep in touch with me and message me every so often with pictures of the babies and have promises to visit me when the babies are older. If they do not, that is okay too. I so treasure the friendship and the bond I have formed with the IPs for all 4 babies. So again I say, is there a name/term for trying to detach yourself from the IPs?
I often wonder if I feel this way and my IPs were always amazing to me, can you imagine what other surrogates go through? The surrogates who have parted ways after birth with IPs on a not so amicable level for whatever reason. We deserve sainthood, for real. You did your best. You are amazing and even if you were not made to feel appreciated in whatever part of your journey, you are AMAZING! You are one in a million and you are loved. It takes a very special woman to be a surrogate and thats you – you are special.