If you’re preparing to become a surrogate, you most likely know that this process is far from simple. There’s the intense screening before you get started, the exact timing of the embryo transfer, the relationship with the intended parents and 100 other things to consider.
In all of that, there may be one step that slips through the cracks: your ultrasound appointments. These appointments are obviously exciting. You’ve experienced this from ultrasounds for your own children, and maybe even previously as a surrogate. You know that ultrasounds are not very demanding, from a medical perspective.
What you may not know about are the unexpected and sometimes challenging emotions that may arise during the ultrasound appointments, both in yourself and in the intended parents. This step of the journey — as with the rest of the surrogacy process — is often more complex than it appears, but it is also so rewarding.
If you’re considering surrogacy or already in the midst of the process, here are three things you may not know about the ultrasound appointments.
1. You will probably feel excited and a bit nervous.
You’ve experienced an ultrasound before, and you know how amazing it can be. Seeing movement and the form of a baby taking shape, hearing the heartbeat — it can be a beautiful experience.
You may also be nervous. Doctor’s visits can make anyone nervous, even for the “routine” stuff. If the intended parents are there, that could add to your nerves, as well, since you want everything to go perfect for them. If you’re feeling nervous leading up to your ultrasound appointment, that’s completely normal.
Talk to your surrogacy specialist if your nerves are giving you trouble. They’ll understand and help you process your anxiety so that you can focus on the excitement. Or, if you’d like to hear what the experience was like for someone else in your position, you can ask a surrogate.
2. You may feel a confusing sense of sadness or jealousy.
Nervousness isn’t the only uncomfortable feeling that you could experience during your ultrasound appointment as a surrogate. Every experience is unique, but it’s common for surrogates to report feelings of sadness, confusion and even jealousy during the ultrasound.
What’s that all about?
Mentally, you know what you are doing. And you’re proud of it, as you should be! Biologically, it can be a bit more challenging to get your body to understand what’s happening — that you are carrying a baby that isn’t yours. This clash of biological mechanisms (like the hormones naturally released at the sight of a baby moving inside of you) and your cerebral understanding (this baby is not mine) can create an unexplainable sense of sadness. There could be jealousy toward the intended parents, too.
These are natural feelings. They are not bad; you do not need to feel ashamed if you have them. Be aware that this is a complex situation and you might feel sad, jealous or many other uncomfortable emotions. Rather than let these feelings make you feel defeated, you can prepare for coping with them.
3. There may be several awkward moments.
Ultrasounds when the intended parents are present can put the medical professionals in an awkward situation. Your doctor may lose track of who they should be talking to. They could look at you and tell you about “your baby,” or look at the intended parents when communicating medical information about your body.
Try to have some grace in these moments. Laugh them off instead of letting tension build. Everyone is on the same team, so it’s okay when these things happen. Be prepared for a couple awkward moments.
Understanding Intended Parents’ Feelings at the Ultrasound
Every intended parent has a unique experience at the ultrasound appointments. Oftentimes, they are experiencing a confusing mix of emotions, similar to the things you might feel. If things start to feel awkward during or after the ultrasound, it could be that the intended parents are trying to process what they feel.
Being aware of this can help you leave space for the intended parents to process their emotions, just as they create the space for you to process, too.
Speak With Your Specialist
Are you nervous about your ultrasound or confused about what to expect? Talk to your specialist. They can provide guidance and support for this, and every other, step of the process.
If you’re still considering surrogacy and don’t have a specialist yet, contact us today. You can reach out online or call 1-800-875-BABY(2229) to speak with a specialist, free of charge.