The holiday season — a time of family reunions, good food, and catching up after months or years apart.
As much as we love our families there’s one thing we can agree upon — sometimes, they can be a bit nosy. It makes sense; they haven’t seen you in a while, and they want to know what’s going on in your life. But, when you’re an intended parent, you often can’t easily just drop “surrogacy” into a conversation and move onto the next topic.
You may be a bit overwhelmed about the potential surrogacy conversations awaiting you during the holidays. How can you share your surrogacy news without having to answer the same questions and address the same comments over and over again?
Your surrogacy specialist can always help you prepare for these conversations when you call them at 1-800-875-BABY(2229). In the meantime, we’ve created this guide to help you make the most of your family gatherings this holiday season.
1. Only share what you are comfortable sharing.
The first rule of talking about surrogacy with family members? That you are always in charge of the amount of information you want to share.
Surrogacy is an exciting journey, to be sure, but it can also be a very private one. You and your surrogate are taking a path together that few people do. It’s a journey that you will both remember for the rest of your life. It also requires trust in each other, as you will participate in intimate procedures together.
The exact details of your surrogacy journey may be something you want to keep in between you and your surrogate — or, you may be excited to share them with family and friends. The decision will always be up to you. Consider talking to your surrogate prior to the holidays to create a plan of what you will both share with loved ones.
Don’t let any family members or friends try to pressure you into sharing information you’re not comfortable with. If all else fails, falling back on the old “I’ve signed a privacy contract and can’t discuss anything more” should put a pause on your loved ones’ questions.
2. Keep your cool.
Surrogacy can be a complicated topic for many people, especially those who have no experience in or prior knowledge of how it works. When you choose to share details of your family-building journey with your loved ones, you may or may not get the reaction you are hoping for. Either way, you should be prepared for the next steps.
If your family members react negatively to your news, take a deep breath. Remind yourself that this is not their choice to make and that the only one you need to answer to will be your future child. You have to do what is right for you.
Think about what you’ll do if someone questions your decision or responds negatively. Do you have a way to change the topic quickly? Are you comfortable saying something like, “I appreciate your concern, but we’ve already made our decision, and nothing you say will change it”? Talk to your surrogacy specialist for more tips for unsupportive family and friends.
3. Show your pride in your decision.
In many cases, your friends and family will mirror your own emotions about surrogacy. So, if they see you are excited and proud of this path you are taking, they will likely feel the same way. They may have their misgivings about the surrogacy process, but when they see you are so thrilled about this family-building process, they will be excited for you.
While friends and family may be saddened about your path to this decision, especially if you’ve dealt with infertility, try to put a brave face on and tell them everything happens for a reason. Yes, your infertility journey was difficult, but if you can look at it with a positive view, they might, too.
4. Be prepared to answer questions and explain your decision.
Not everyone will be as well-versed in the surrogacy process as you. So, when you announce you are following this path, you should be ready to explain exactly what surrogacy is and how it will work. You’ll likely want to clear up any misconceptions about the process. Explain that your surrogate is heavily screened before being approved, that she will get compensated for her services, and that your baby will not be genetically related to her.
It’s a good idea to research the commonly asked questions about surrogacy so you are prepared with the right answers before this conversation.
5. Set expectations and boundaries early on.
It can be a good idea to prime your loved ones on your surrogacy decision before you even meet in person. That way, you can let them know what aspects of the journey you are comfortable talking about – and save yourself from being bombarded as soon as you walk through the door.
Consider sending out a mass email or text: “Hi, everyone! We’re excited to see you at dinner, and we have some exciting news: We’re pursuing surrogacy! We’re happy to answer your questions when we see you, but please keep in mind we cannot talk about (our surrogate/compensation and finances/etc.) per our surrogacy agreement. We look forward to seeing you!”
Not only will this heads-up help your loved ones process your news, but it gives them time to look into surrogacy and complete some basic research, if they so desire.
Want more tips on sharing your news with your loved ones? Contact your surrogacy specialist today.