During your journey as a gestational carrier, it can be extremely helpful to have a supportive group of family around you. But, how do you know which members to include, and where do you even begin when explaining your surrogacy decision to them?
First, take a deep breath. There’s one big rule when it comes to creating a surrogacy support system: Only include who you want to include. You are never obligated to include extended family in the most intimate part of your (and your intended parents’) journey through surrogacy.
However, it can be helpful to explain your surrogacy journey to your family to avoid any confusion or misunderstanding — especially before you start showing your pregnancy. Don’t worry; when you work with American Surrogacy, your surrogacy specialist will help you prepare for sharing your surrogacy news with your family in a positive way. Your specialist can always answer your questions when you give her a call at 1-800-875-BABY(2229).
As you discuss your personal relationships with your specialist, she will offer a few suggestions to help you prepare for these conversations with family and friends. You can read about them below.
1. Different family members may need different approaches.
Your extended family members will likely have different levels of knowledge about the surrogacy process. Therefore, you’ll want to tailor your conversation with them based on what they already know. For example, you may be able to go straight into your announcement with a relative who knows the realities and nuances of the surrogacy journey, but you may have to first take time explaining the process to a relative who doesn’t know as much before you give them your news. It is always up to you to determine what kind of conversation you have with an extended family member, but know that your surrogacy specialist can provide guidance for different situations, should you need it.
2. Be prepared for the big misconceptions you may hear.
Extended family members are less likely to be aware of your desires to be a gestational carrier, so they may not even be aware of how surrogacy really works. For many people, the only exposure they get to this kind of family-building process is the stories gone wrong presented by the media. You may not get a positive response right away, especially if your relative believes you will be “giving up” a child of your own or that you are only doing it for money.
Consider these common misconceptions before having the conversation, and take this chance to educate and inform your relative of the realities of the modern surrogacy process.
3. Be confident and unapologetic in your decision.
It can be tempting to want your family’s approval of your surrogacy decision, especially if you are speaking to elder relatives who mean a great deal to you, such as your grandparents. However, remember that you and your immediate family are the only ones who have any say in your surrogacy journey. Don’t come into these conversations asking for permission. Be confident about your reasons for becoming a surrogate and your excitement for the journey ahead. Even if you receive a less-than-positive response, don’t let your extended family’s opinion change your mind. They are not the ones directly impacted by your choice — only you are.
4. Consider your intended parents’ privacy.
It’s normal for anyone you tell about your surrogacy to be curious about who you are carrying for. They will want to know more about the family that you are choosing to give your time, energy and body to for a year or more.
But, remember: Surrogacy is an intimate partnership, and the information you are privy to as your intended parents’ carrier may not be information they wish to share with the world. As a surrogate, you will be responsible for explaining your journey to your extended family in a way that protects your intended parents’ privacy. Be prepared for questions about them and know how you will respond when they do come up. If your intended parents are willing, perhaps even arrange a family get-together where your extended family can meet them!
5. Recognize which individuals should and shouldn’t be a part of your support system.
Not everyone will always be supportive of or understand your surrogacy journey. It’s a sad reality, because surrogacy is still so misunderstood by many people out there. We hope that your extended family will support your decision, but we also know this won’t be the case for every gestational carrier.
Don’t feel like you have to share your surrogacy journey with everyone in your family. You certainly don’t have to involve all of them in your surrogacy support team. Instead, focus on the people you know can support you throughout this journey — by providing childcare when you need it, helping you get household responsibilities taken care of and more. In a lot of families, extended relatives cannot practically assist with these anyway due to distance.
While it’s a good idea to announce your surrogacy to extended family to avoid future confusion, remember that who you include in this journey is always up to you. Whether that’s simply your spouse, your parents or your close friends and family, do what feels right for you. For more guidance on building your surrogacy support system and announcing this decision to your loved ones, contact your surrogacy specialist today.