For many people, the nine months they are expecting is a time full of excitement, joy and things to do. But, when you’re not the one who is physically carrying your child, you may find yourself sitting around twiddling your thumbs — and obsessively counting down the minutes until your gestational carrier gives birth.
Surrogacy is a hard journey for everyone involved, but it’s easy for intended parents to feel forgotten during their surrogate’s pregnancy. But just because you aren’t carrying your own child doesn’t mean you can’t prepare for his or her imminent arrival! On the contrary, you actually have a great many things you can do during these nine months while your surrogate is carrying your child.
Below, find some tips on staying busy during your surrogate’s pregnancy. Not only will this help keep your mind occupied during the wait ahead, but it will also help you cross some important things off of your to-do list!
1. Prepare your nursery.
Just like any other expectant parent, you should make sure you have your baby’s nursery ready to go long before he or she is born. This eliminates a great deal of stress and can help you feel more connected to your experience as an expectant parent.
If you have a spouse, make the nursery a team project. Pick out wall colors, put together furniture, and organize baby supplies together. It will help you develop your team skills as a couple and put you in the proper mindset for bringing your baby home soon!
Make sure you have a list of baby supplies so you don’t forget about any important items!
2. Take parenting classes.
Contrary to what many people think, not all aspects of parenting are instinctual skills — and are definitely not skills to learn on the fly. To be the best parent possible, you’ll need to attend parenting classes and educate yourself about the path ahead of you.
“Parenting classes” may conjure up images of rows of pregnant women sharing their pregnancy experiences, but that’s not the case at all. Today, there are many non-traditional ways people can bring children into their families, and you may be surprised to see you’re not the only one in the class waiting for a gestational surrogate or a prospective birth mother to deliver. Focus on the important aspects of parenting classes — the skills you’ll learn — instead of the experiences you may be missing out on.
3. Plan some date nights.
Your life will dramatically change the moment that you become a parent. Your priorities will need to shift, and you’ll have a lot less free time than you had before.
So, take advantage of the time you have now! You and your spouse can schedule some date nights out on the town, focusing on things you won’t be able to do with a newborn by your side. Or, you might take the opportunity now to try a new hobby or do something else you’ve always wanted to do. While being a parent is a change you’ve been anticipating for a while, don’t forget to enjoy this period in your life, too!
4. Spend time with your family and friends.
Remember that your loved ones are just as excited for your upcoming child as you are. Odds are, they are likely planning some baby showers and other exciting events during your surrogate’s pregnancy! Take the extra time you have during this period to share your excitement with them and solidify your relationships.
You will need a lot of help when you’re a new parent, and your friends and family will be there for you. Help them know the support you’ll want ahead of time; don’t wait until your baby is born to ask!
5. Support your surrogate.
This is an obvious thing to do during your surrogate’s pregnancy, but its importance can’t be overstated. Remember that your surrogate is giving up a great deal of time and energy to help you create your family, and she likely wants to involve you in any way she can. At the same time that she is sending you updates and making you feel a part of the pregnancy, you should also be doing what you can to help her out. Offer to take her and her kids out for a day trip to the zoo or another similar adventure, or suggest a special bonding activity like a spa day.
Pregnancy is hard, and your surrogate will appreciate the friendship and support you can offer her during these next nine months.
6. Record your story.
Surrogacy is a unique journey to go through, and intended parents often have a lot of emotions along the way. You can address those emotions by writing down your story — either for yourself or for your future child.
Just because you are not carrying your child doesn’t mean you can’t create a baby book for them! You can document your child’s surrogacy story in a scrapbook, detailing the different steps and people involved to bring them into the world. You and your surrogate can include letters to your future baby, as well as photos of her pregnancy and prenatal ultrasounds.
On the other hand, maybe you just want to document your surrogacy story for yourself. You might find that journaling can help you process your emotions during your family-building journey. It can also helpful for looking back later on when things are especially tough or especially joyful.
7. Share your story, if you’re comfortable doing so.
Surrogacy is still a fairly new way for people to add to their family, and there is a lot of misconception out there about exactly how it works. If you feel up to it, you can take the opportunity to educate others about the reality of the surrogacy process. Start with your friends and family — it’s important they understand proper terminology for how your little one is coming into the world. You can also be open about your journey with anyone who asks. After all, you will need to explain your child’s surrogacy story to many people as he or she grows up, so practice makes perfect!
8. Organize and update your affairs and official documents.
Surrogacy involves some complicated documents and processes. While your surrogacy specialist and surrogacy attorney will guide you through most of these, you will play a role in making sure all your “i”s are dotted and your “t”s are crossed. Important things such as insurance for your surrogate and your baby, pre- and post-birth parentage orders, and wills should all be arranged for prior to your child’s birth.
9. Choose a pediatrician.
Parents should always have a pediatrician picked out for their child long before he or she enters the world. This can be a process that takes some time, so take advantage of your surrogate’s lengthy pregnancy to interview professionals and determine the best choice for your family.
Remember: If you are matched with an out-of-state surrogate, the pediatrician who sees your child immediately after birth will be different than the pediatrician he or she sees for the rest of his or her life. If you can, explore your options for pediatricians both locally and where your child will be born.
10. Explore your childcare options.
If you’re like many intended parents, you will be lucky enough to take advantage of maternity and paternity leave after your child arrives. But, if you and your spouse plan to go back to work, it’s important that you think about the childcare options available to you.
Just like choosing a pediatrician, choosing a childcare provider is a big deal — and is often done well before a child is born. Take the time you have now to interview several providers and find the one that works best for your family’s needs. It may take you longer than you think.
American Surrogacy knows that the time between a successful pregnancy test and the arrival of a child can be tough for intended parents. That’s why our team of surrogacy specialists will always be there to support you, every step of the way. We are never more than a phone call away: 1-800-875-BABY(2229).