For most surrogates, the relationship with intended parents is a source of mutual support and positivity. You are each other’s partners in this exciting event! But sometimes, like in all relationships, there are some difficulties to navigate.
Here are a few scenarios you might have encountered with even the best intended parents, and how you can have a stronger relationship with your intended parents:
How to Handle Well-Meaning But Overbearing Parents
Most intended parents have waited for years to have a child, potentially struggling with infertility, miscarriages and disappointments. When so much of the surrogacy process is out of their control, some parents try to control anything that they can in an effort to feel less helpless. This may mean that they overstep personal boundaries, pepper you with lots of questions and concerns, or even try to micromanage how you care for your pregnancy.
Feeling like your intended parents are overreaching or smothering you can be frustrating. But, consider why they might be responding to the emotions of surrogacy this way, and try to stay patient. There are lots of reasons why your intended parents might be a little overbearing:
- They may have never experienced pregnancy before.
- They want their baby to be as healthy and safe as possible.
- They may feel indebted to you and want to make sure that you’re well.
- Their excitement for their baby is showing itself as nervous energy.
But “helicopter” parents can still be distracting and demanding for you. Try to set clear boundaries, and let them know that you have everything well in hand. Set a schedule for when you’ll update them and stick to that schedule. Showing them that you’re consistent may help them relax and put more trust in you.
Still feel like the parents are putting too much pressure on you? Reach out to your surrogacy specialist for advice. They can always talk to your intended parents about respecting your space and decisions.
How to Handle Distant Parents
There are a number of ways you can feel distant from your intended parents during your surrogacy journey:
- They’re not communicating consistently with you and you’re feeling left adrift.
- You’re struggling with physical distance in a long-distance surrogacy match.
- You’re feeling disconnected from your intended parents because they don’t seem as excited as you.
Sometimes intended parents’ hopes for a child have been crushed before through miscarriages or failed IVF, so they may keep you at arm’s length to emotionally distance themselves in case embryo transfers don’t work, there’s a pregnancy complication, or something else unexpected happens. They may be afraid to hope for the best, so they come across as distant or unengaged.
Being clear and honest about your needs in the surrogacy partnership can help. It can also help to keep checking in with pregnancy updates and expressing your excitement for them. They may relax and feel more engaged as your pregnancy progresses. If you and your intended parents live far apart, try video chatting. Asking about the nursery they’re preparing or telling them about their baby’s movements can help you feel connected, even if you’re far apart.
5 Things That Can Help
In many ways, you’re the expert here! Your intended parents have likely never given birth themselves. You’re the one who understands your pregnancies and knows what to expect. You’re the main player from the moment you become pregnant until the time you deliver their baby.
This means that you’re also the one who will be best at easing the minds of your intended parents. If you think your intended parents are feeling anxious and it’s affecting your relationship with them, these tips can help them (and you) to stay sane throughout your pregnancy:
- Be honest with them about what you need. Do you need them to give you some space, or do you need a little more feedback from them? Do you have any concerns or need them to be more supportive of you? Let them know!
- Set a consistent schedule for pregnancy updates. Your surrogacy specialist can help you with this. Decide how you want to communicate updates to the parents, and then let them know when they can expect to hear from you. This can give them something to look forward to and prevent them from asking you for constant updates.
- Offer to share some of the little things. They might find some comfort in hearing about your pregnancy experience. When does their baby kick the most? What kind of foods does he or she seem to react to? How are you feeling? Many intended parents are interested in getting to know their child, even during pregnancy, so offer to share details.
- Keep your promises. If you told the parents that you’d send them an ultrasound on a certain day, be sure to follow through. Staying consistent with what you promise can help them feel more at ease, so they might put less pressure on you. Don’t break their trust with small things like forgetting to send them a scheduled update.
- Be gentle but firm about your boundaries. Remember that intended parents don’t have much control at this stage, and remember how that might feel. That being said, it’s OK to be clear and firm about things you feel strongly about. Feel like the parents are overstepping themselves, or like they’re not hearing your wishes? You are all equal partners in this surrogacy journey, so let them know what you’re uncomfortable with and what’s important to you.
Don’t forget that your surrogacy specialist is a great resource for advice. A big part of their job is to help manage the relationships between surrogates and intended parents, so let them know if you need some help.
For more details on how your specialist can help you manage your surrogacy relationship, please call 1-800-875-BABY(2229).