Each new year brings a fresh new slate. With the end of the old year and the start of the new one, we have a chance to break old habits, examine our strengths and faults and to try to be better. In 2019, let’s make it a priority to stop surrogacy shaming. It’s an old, tired argument that everyone is sick of. Here are six reasons why:
1. Families Expanded through Surrogacy are Families
Whether a family comes together through surrogacy, adoption, foster care, biologically or by any other means, they’re a “real” family as long as there is real love. Biological ties, how a child comes into a family, or whether or not a family is considered “traditional” are all pretty inconsequential in the big picture.
2. You May Not Know the Whole Story
Infertility, disrupted adoptions, lost pregnancies or children, medical treatments, or other heartbreaks — there are often rough patches in a person’s journey that has ultimately led them to surrogacy that you may not know about. Before you speak, even if you’re trying to be helpful or make suggestions, remember that this person may have already tried what you’re suggesting and it ended badly.
Be kind, be thoughtful and keep your “helpful suggestions” or opinions to yourself. This person or family has likely chosen surrogacy after a lot of careful thought, and you haven’t been in their shoes.
3. It’s Not a Moral Superiority Competition
There is no “right” or “wrong” way to have a family. Are you going to presume to know better than anyone else?
Children are not moral superiority trophies to argue over. You’re not a “better” or “worse” person for choosing a different path to parenthood. All that should matter is that you’re a good parent to your children, and that you’re raising them to be kind people.
4. If Someone Wants to Be a Parent, They Deserve that Happiness
Why would you spoil that with your judgment? If you’re a parent yourself, you can sympathize with those who long to know that joy for themselves. While there are many ways to become a parent, a person’s reasoning for choosing surrogacy is their own, and again, you may not know the whole story.
It’s simply not your place to decide who gets to become a parent or how they do so. Not everyone can (or chooses to) have and carry a child biologically. They may need help. Are you really going to try to take away all the happiness and unconditional love that parents get to experience?
Be happy for those who are about to become a parent. If you can’t manage that, keep your opinions to yourself.
5. If a Woman Wants to Help Someone Become a Parent, She Deserves Respect
We’ve talked a lot about why you should stop shaming people who become parents through surrogacy, but it’s no less important to stop the shaming of surrogates. Enough already with the judgmental nonsense.
Surrogates are extraordinary women who see a need and offer to help. They’re mothers themselves, so they know what it’s like to wish for a child. Perhaps they’ve known someone who has struggled to have a child, or maybe they simply feel compassionate towards those who have been waiting to complete their families.
Surrogacy shamers might assume that surrogates only want monetary gain. However, this is far from the truth. Studies like this 2014 report have shown that the main motivators for women who choose to become surrogates are the desire to help others and a love of being pregnant.
Thank a surrogate for helping to create families!
6. Children Born through Surrogacy Will Hear What You Say
Kids who come to their family through “nontraditional” means hear the things you say to their parents, on social media and to other parents in the schoolyard — make sure what you’re saying is something that makes them feel good about themselves, because it’ll stick with them for longer than you might realize.
No matter how you feel about surrogacy, no child has any say in how they come into this world, but every child deserves to feel safe and loved. Is your opinion of surrogacy worth the peace of mind of a child?
Let’s make 2019 the year where we get over surrogacy shaming. It’s time we moved past quibbling over how families are made and instead started focusing on celebrating the many different kinds of loving families!
Share this to spread your New Year’s Resolution and to help end surrogacy shaming in 2019.