It can be hard to be an intended parent. In many cases, these hopeful parents have gone through a lot to even get to the surrogacy process — and, once they’ve started it, they still have a long and complicated journey to go. Sometimes, they just want to feel like any other expectant mom or dad.
If you’re a friend or family member of an intended parent, you can take certain steps to help them feel “normal” during their family-building journey. Just like any parent creating their family through adoption, intended parents deserve all the same love as someone who has conceived naturally.
Not sure what you can do to help? We’ve gathered a few simple tips that you can use to support the intended parent in your life:
1. A Baby Shower
Just because your loved one isn’t giving birth to their child doesn’t mean they don’t deserve a baby shower! It’s common for intended parents to be left out of the baby-shower fun because they are not the ones who are pregnant. But they deserve to be showered just as much any other parent.
Take the initiative to throw a baby shower for your loved one (they probably won’t do it themselves). It may be the first time they truly feel like an expectant parent, and a baby shower can help them experience some of the parent “firsts” they’ve been longing for.
Check out our tips for throwing a baby shower for surrogacy here.
2. A Distraction from the Wait
During much of their surrogate’s pregnancy, an intended parent can feel like they are just sitting around, wasting time. There’s not much they can do to contribute to their child’s development in utero, and the wait to meet their baby can be a difficult experience.
So, take it upon yourself to distract them from the tough emotions they’re feeling. Suggest a night out with a nice dinner and a movie, or invite them to your next big gathering (avoid anything with too many children and babies). Sometimes, even the smallest things — like a drink at your local bar — will be enough to alleviate the stress they’re feeling.
3. An Inclusive Conversation
It’s easy for intended parents to feel left out of conversations about parenting with their friends who have had children. So, the next time you talk about parenthood and include the intended parents, focus on what makes the journey exciting for them. Ask about their surrogate and her pregnancy, and talk about their plans for parenting after the baby is born. While you don’t have to completely avoid topics such as pregnancy and labor-and-delivery stories, be mindful of how your loved ones’ experiences will differ from your own.
4. Emotional Support
It’s no secret that surrogacy is an emotionally trying experience. It’s likely that your friends are going through this process for the very first time; they have to cope with all the novelty of their situation while simultaneously grieving the infertility path that likely brought them here. Like any expectant parent, sometimes they just need a shoulder to cry on.
Be there for them. Don’t try to solve all of their problems or connect with everything they’re saying; unless you’ve been through surrogacy yourself, you can’t comprehend the situation they’re in. Show them some empathy during the hard times and, if you think they are crying out for help, help them get the assistance they need. Postpartum depression is possible among intended parents, too, so make sure to keep a close eye on your friend.
5. Practical Support — Like a Home-Cooked Meal
Emotional support won’t be the only kind of support your loved one needs. Once their new baby is born and brought home, your friend will be dealing with all the normal demands of parenthood. You can be a huge help during this time.
Don’t wait for an intended parent to ask you for help; step in to provide the practical support they need at this time in their life. Ask if you can watch the baby while they take care of important details such as calls with their surrogacy lawyer, surrogacy professional or insurance company. Bring them over a home-cooked meal; they’ll probably be too tired to cook themselves.
If nothing else, just be there for them. Be the first one to volunteer if they look like they need help, and don’t take no for an answer. Just because they didn’t give birth doesn’t mean they’re more prepared for the parenthood journey. If they’re going through it for the first time, every exciting new step has a learning curve.
Don’t forget — your loved one needs just as much support during and after the surrogacy process as any other new parent. Step in and be the friend they need during this time. They’ll be forever grateful.
If you’re an intended parent struggling with the emotions of the surrogacy process, remember that you can always look to your American Surrogacy specialist for advice and support. Call us at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) any time.