One of the most exciting times for an intended parent is when their surrogate’s pregnancy is confirmed by their fertility clinic. After all the waiting and hoping, the tangible proof of their parenthood dreams coming true is in front of them.
While intended parents are likely still cautious about putting too much hope into a pregnancy in its early stages, once a physician deems the pregnancy safe, you should be excited to move forward with your parenthood journey — which means preparing for the imminent arrival of your little bundle of joy.
Just like anyone who has a child in a traditional way, you are now expecting, and you can take this time during your surrogate’s pregnancy to prepare yourself for all the challenges and joys of parenthood. To stay busy and productive during this waiting period, there are a few steps you can take.
1. Learn as much as you can about parenting.
No one is ever fully prepared for the unique challenges of parenting, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to make it a little easier. There are thousands of resources to help you learn more about becoming a parent and caring for a newborn baby. Consider:
- Reading parenting books
- Taking parenting classes
- Talking to other parents
- Attending parenting support groups
Because there is so much information available, seeking it out can seem overwhelming. Choose a couple of methods that work best for you and topics that you are most interested in. No one knows everything about being a parent before they become one, so remember that there will be a learning curve as you adjust to your new lives as parents of a newborn.
2. Prepare your home for your baby’s arrival.
There are many important steps expectant parents need to take before they can bring a baby home into a safe environment. Most homes are not already baby-proofed, so parents need to make sure all dangerous items are locked away, and all outlets and sharp edges are covered. Find a baby-proofing checklist here.
You should also start gathering necessary supplies for your baby’s arrival, as well as decorating the nursery. Make sure you have the proper crib and stroller for your baby, as well as other supplies like nursing materials and baby clothes. Not only will this step physically prepare you to bring a child home, but it can play a key role in the “nesting” process and mentally prepare you for becoming a parent.
3. Identify your support system.
You know the phrase, “It takes a village?” It’s true — no parents are able to raise their children completely on their own.
It’s important to recognize that, even if you want to be the superhero parent, you will need extra helping hands at certain times in your parenthood journey. Whether you need to identify a local, trained babysitter or talk to your parents about being there in times of need, you should understand where you can turn to for parenting support after bringing your baby home. This may also include finding a local parent support group or taking advantage of resources your local hospital provides.
4. Prepare your hospital kit.
Speaking of hospitals: Even though intended parents are not giving birth themselves, they will still need to create a hospital kit for their baby’s delivery. Not only will this kit include materials for you but also important baby supplies like a going-home outfit and a car seat. Intended parents who are working with a long-distance surrogate will need to pack more supplies for a journey across state lines for their child’s birth.
Expectant parents will usually know whether or not their surrogate will be scheduled for an induction or a cesarean-section. Just in case, most professionals advise parents to pack a hospital bag starting at 35 weeks of pregnancy. As you pack, make sure to speak with your surrogate’s hospital to find out which supplies they already provide.
5. Understand what bonding steps you need to take.
When you are expecting via surrogacy, you will not have the same bonding experience as parents do in a traditional pregnancy. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t have any prenatal bonding at all.
There are many ways that an intended parent can still bond with their baby in utero, and your surrogacy specialist can provide some suggestions if you’re interested in this topic. Some of these may include:
- Using Bellybuds or a similar speaker system
- Providing a transitional item, like recordings of music you typically play around the house
- Striving for as much skin-on-skin contact as possible soon after the baby is born
Your surrogacy professional can always provide more suggestions to help you prepare after your surrogate’s pregnancy has been confirmed. Consider throwing a baby shower or a similar event to help you share the good news with all of your family and friends. Just because you are not pregnant yourself doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the congratulations and attention — or that you should shirk the responsibilities of preparing to bring your baby home.
With proper preparation and mindset, the time you wait for your baby to be born will fly by before you even know it.