If your friend has told you she’s becoming a surrogate, you’re likely thrilled for her. She’s probably wanted this journey for a while now, and you’re excited to watch her achieve her dreams of helping to create a family.
But, if you’re unfamiliar with the surrogacy process, you may be unsure of how to help her during the journey to come. What’s appropriate and what’s not? How do you know the best things to say and do to support her through fertility medication, pregnancy and postpartum recovery?
Don’t worry — American Surrogacy is here to help. We’ve gathered a few things every surrogate can benefit from during her surrogacy journey.
Friends and family, listen up: Here’s where you can start.
1. A Listening Ear
While surrogacy can certainly be a complicated practical process, it can also be draining on a woman’s emotions and mental health, too. Even when surrogates are 100 percent ready for the ups and downs of being a surrogate, it can be overwhelming to balance their everyday lives and intended parent relationships with the wild emotions of pregnancy hormones.
Your friend will be emotionally committed to the surrogacy process through every step — but that doesn’t mean there won’t be some hard times along the way. A surrogate may not feel comfortable sharing her stress with her intended parents, so you should be there to serve that role. Be her shoulder to cry on, if she needs it, and empathize with the emotions she’s feeling during this time.
Pay close attention to your friend, too. Like any pregnant woman, she will have the chance of developing antepartum depression. If she seems like she’s reaching out for help instead of just venting, help her get the professional assistance she needs.
2. Practical Support — Like Childcare
Emotional support won’t be the only help your friend needs. Managing her surrogacy responsibilities and her everyday responsibilities as a mother can be difficult. Your help will be much appreciated.
You can step in by providing childcare when she has to attend medical appointments or appointments with the intended parents. Offer to take her and her family out for dinner, or cook them a meal they can eat during the week.
Don’t wait to be asked — think about what you or other loved ones wanted most during their pregnancy. Take the initiative to offer those to your friend who’s a surrogate. The last thing she wants to do is make a list of things you can help her with, but it’s unlikely she’ll refuse when the specific help is right in front of her.
3. A Welcome Distraction
For a year or more, surrogacy will be the most important part of your friend’s life. She’ll be paying close attention to her fertility medication, pregnancy, and intended parents’ wishes. Sometimes, she’ll just want a break.
Be there for her in this situation. The next time she seems overwhelmed, offer to take her out for the evening. Go to your favorite dinner spot and then see the movie you’ve both been dying to see. Take her on a spa day to get a pedicure, especially if she can no longer reach (or see) her toes.
While her surrogate pregnancy is certainly something she is proud of, your friend probably doesn’t want to talk about it all the time. Give her a mental break, and she’ll feel more refreshed — and ready to dive back into the day-to-day of being a surrogate.
4. Interest and Understanding
When your friend becomes a surrogate, she becomes an automatic ambassador for the process. She’s going to receive the same questions and comments over and over again — but don’t let them come from you.
One of the best things you can do for your friend is to research surrogacy and understand exactly what the process is like. Not only will this show her you’re interested in this important part of her life, but it will save her from having to explain the basics to you every time you discuss her journey.
You can even go the extra step and start educating others — your family, your group of friends — about gestational surrogacy. That way, there will be fewer questions from your friends’ circle of loved ones. She’ll feel more supported knowing they took the time to learn about something that is so important to her.
5. Postpartum Care
While a surrogate will not bring home the child she delivers, she will still need time to recover from pregnancy and childbirth. As her friend, you can step in to make the recovery easier.
Your friend will appreciate many of the same services that you might give to a new parent. A home-cooked meal can help feed her and her family when she’s too tired to cook. Offering to watch her children can give her the rest she needs to recuperate. And, of course, don’t forget the importance of emotional support — even though surrogates don’t raise the children they deliver, they can still develop postpartum depression. Keep a close eye on your friend’s moods and emotions, and help her get the assistance she needs if you feel like she is reaching out.
Yes, a surrogate’s postpartum recovery period is typically much shorter than any other new mother’s is (because she’s not caring for a newborn), but that doesn’t exclude her from emotional and practical support during this time. Again, don’t wait for her to ask for it; offer your assistance as early and as frequently as possible to ensure her mental and physical recovery.
Supporting a friend through surrogacy can be complicated, especially if you have no experience with the surrogacy process. But, by following these steps, you can make sure she receives the support she needs.
For more information on the surrogacy process and suggestions for helping your friend through her journey, contact our surrogacy specialists anytime.