By Suzie White
However a sweet new addition comes into a family, that family will be eagerly counting down those final weeks, and working on getting all those baby essentials, too! Throwing a baby shower for your family or friends who are intended parent/s-to-be is a great way to help them get prepared, and a great way to honor their journey with surrogacy. When someone is using a gestational surrogate to carry their child, the parents will be taking the baby home right from the hospital and jumping right into parenthood. A shower for intended parent/s prior to the birth (or even after!) is a wonderful way to show your support and encouragement. Here are a few things to consider.
Do the parent/s-to-be even want a shower? This can be a hard one, because all we want to do is make the parent/s-to-be feel special, but they may have some really good reasons for not wanting a shower. If the parent/s-to-be don’t want a shower, maybe you can help them feel special by offering to help with announcements or with other preparation at home. Their surrogate may also have ideas on what would be an appropriate way to celebrate them!
Surrogate involvement. Be sure to ask if the parent/s-to-be would like to include their surrogate in the festivities, and to what extent. Some intended parent/s are close with their surrogates, and it only makes sense to invite her. Some have a more business-like relationship with their surrogate, and in that case it might be more awkward to have her there.
If the parent/s-to-be do want to invite their surrogate, she will likely feel very honored to join. She can help open gifts and be part of games, or she may be happier to let the spotlight be on the parent/s-to-be. It’s important to honor this relationship, and make sure everyone is comfortable. Parent/s-to-be might ask guests for help in honoring their surrogate with a small token or a larger gift from everyone.
How to announce the baby shower. Intended parents may feel conflicted about how to announce their baby shower because not everyone is familiar with surrogacy. If their surrogate is joining them, the invitation can mention the names of the “Proud Parents-To-Be” and the “Proud Surrogate Mother.” If the intended parent/s (or the surrogate herself) don’t want the surrogate’s name on the invitation, the language could be more general about “celebrating the birth via surrogate” of the parent/s-to-be. It would be completely fine to just have a traditional baby shower, as well! Anything that can honor the parent/s-to-be and their surrogate will be appreciated.
When to have the baby shower. Some parents-to-be may want to have a baby shower closer to the birth, or some may prefer well before the birth so that baby isn’t “accidentally” born before the shower. Some parents-to-be may prefer a “Baby as Special Guest” baby shower, once baby and parent/s have settled at home. The parent may have a really good reason to want to wait, so be flexible about what works best for the parent/s!
What to get the parents-to-be of a baby born by surrogate? These parents-to-be are just like any other parents eagerly anticipating their baby’s birth, and they need the same things you’d get any other pregnant family. In particular, gifts that help make that leap to parenthood are always appreciated – a baby book to hold all of those precious memories; gift cards for restaurants that deliver or where there is curbside pick-up; items that are personalized with baby or family’s name; a family photo session; naming a star after the baby; helpful parenting books. Remember that intended parents enroll in baby registries, too, so share that information with everyone invited.
Showers are a time-honored tradition, and throwing one for intended parent/s is no different. Be sure to plan well so that no one feels a time crunch during this exciting and sometimes stressful wait. Remember that this shower is a wonderful way to remind them that you are all there to support them in this beautiful life changing event, and to help them prepare for all those diapers, wipes, tiny socks, and baby toys!