How do you tell your young child that you’re pregnant – for someone else? And how does surrogacy affect a child? It can feel like a huge and difficult subject to approach, but as with many things, being open about it with your children can turn out to be incredibly rewarding for your children and for you.
Despite the daunting nature of explaining surrogacy to a child, it is often easier than explaining it to adults. Children are usually more accepting of different family dynamics and family relationships. Here are some tips that can come in handy when describing this beautiful gift to children.
Use terms that they experience in their own lives
Many carriers tell their children that they are babysitting or nannying for the baby and when the baby is ready, the baby will go back to her parents, just like your own children come back to you after the babysitter. It may also be helpful to iterate to your child that you won’t ever be giving her to anybody, and that you aren’t really giving this baby “away,” you’re just returning it to the parents. Some surrogates find it helpful to also tell their children how wanted they were and how wonderful it was to have them – and how you feel so happy to help someone else experience that.
Let your child be part of the experience of surrogacy
We all feel more secure when we know what is happening next and how it will affect us, and children need that security amplified. Talking to your child frequently about the pregnancy and the intended parents, what happens when the baby comes, and what will happen to the baby is very important. Just as important is introducing your child to the baby and to her parents so that your young one has a sense of inclusion and closure with the process.
Use surrogacy as a way to talk about giving
You are giving the best gift to another family, and there is no better time to talk to your children about the value of helping others out when they are in need. You can even incorporate having your child give to a charity that helps out babies in need or couples facing infertility to emphasize the different ways that we can help out in our communities.
Surrogacy is a window to understanding that families come in different shapes, sizes, and configurations
Cultivating acceptance and compassion for others is a lifelong pursuit, and children are so willing to practice it. Talking to them about the different kinds of families that aren’t able to have children on their own can help your own child understand our diverse and beautiful world, and help them feel compassion for others.
So go forth and openly share with your little ones about being a carrier! The experience is not only rewarding for the surrogate and the intended parents, but can incredibly rewarding and world-expanding for the little ones involved, too.