No one wakes up one morning and says, ‘Hey! I want to go through all kinds of legal, health and personal landmines to hopefully give a deserving couple a baby!’. Usually, and this decision comes from months or years of reflection, upon looking at your own family and realizing you want someone to have what you have (or their version of it). You realize how brilliant, enriching, and wonderful parenthood is and want to leave a similar legacy for someone else.
My decision to become a surrogate wasn’t one I took lightly. I am a single mom of a (then) busy 6 year old and I was well aware of the energy-suck pregnancy can be and the toll it can take on your health at my age (then 37). But I would look at my beautiful boy and know that while I will never get a wing named after me in a hospital, cure cancer or open a soup kitchen - I can, in a small and meaningful ways, greatly change the lives of two people who deserve to know the joy, fun and unrelenting challenge of raising children. And while all those tropes are lovely and inspiring, I had some very serious logistical issues to navigate before embarking on my decision.
Another factor that influenced me was the general state of the world in 2016. There were terrorist attacks happening faster than the news cycle could keep up (Paris Bataclan, Nice, London, Brussels, San Bernardino, Orlando, etc.), the election in the United States was contentious and nasty, my child’s father was taking me to court to litigate small percentages, the war in Syria was getting worse by the day with thousands of refugees risking life and limb to escape to Europe, there was also Brexit, Zika and the Panama Papers.
Every time I logged on there were just a pile-on of bad news. I was in full-on scroll fatigue and either had to shut off the internet entirely (impossible in my line of work ) or make a dedicated effort to self-care, sleep and general wellness. Surrogacy contracts, intended parent interviews, two rounds of In-vitro fertilization and eventual pregnancy launched me into a much-needed state of TLC, forcing me to ignore the never-ending ‘ping’ of my inbox, the endless pull of daily distractions, and instead create physical and mental margin for slowing down.
I say this often (and I realize it sounds hackneyed): I needed her (the gestating baby), as much as she needed me.
Sally and her team were amazing throughout. I would never recommend you go through this journey alone. Her team ensured that my health, legal rights and psychological sanity were protected and respected. Surrogates are still the outliers of Family Law and fertility clinics and having professionals to help you navigate these unchartered waters (for you and the intended parents) is imperative. Thank-you Sally for holding my hand throughout! I wish everyone an equally rewarding and memorable journey.