First, with Mother’s Day being this past Sunday, thank you to all mothers out there: your work is never done and it is some of the most important work in the world. You are truly amazing – Happy Mother’s Day! We also want to give deep and heartfelt recognition to the women out there struggling with infertility, waiting and working so courageously for those babies so desperately desired. Happy Mother’s Day to you, as well.
One of the undeniable traits of mothers is a will to give. And surrogate mothers have an added dimension of being giving with their commitment to helping another person/couple become parent(s). This generosity and giving spirit of mothers, aspiring mothers and surrogate mothers is awesomely beautiful. But just as moms in our everyday lives need strategies to not give too much of themselves away, surrogate moms need support in not giving their whole selves away during the surrogacy journey. Here are a few things to keep in mind when learning how to give during surrogacy without giving your whole self:
Boundaries can be really hard, especially for a person who is very giving, and especially for a person who is dedicated to helping someone else have a baby. However, it is really important to know your limits, to know what you are and are not willing to compromise, and most of all it is important to not take on too much of the IPs journey. The surrogate’s journey and the intended parent’s journey are intertwined, but understanding that they are still separate is key. You, as the surrogate, do not need to take on the responsibility for the IP’s feelings or hardships, just as the IPs do not need to take on your feelings or hardships.
Compromises are the flexible rubber bands around boundaries that are able to flex a little. Be open to communication and compromise with your IPs. You don’t always have to compromise (keep those boundaries!), but understand that with such a human endeavor, a little bit of flexibility and understanding can go a long way.
Integrity for this purpose means honesty, not only with those with whom you are working, but most importantly with yourself. This is instrumental in being able to figure out where your boundaries lie and where you’re willing to compromise. It also allows you to foster open communication with your IPs, thus possibly avoiding situations that won’t work for either party.
All relationships are complicated, and this is very true of surrogacy, as well. A good relationship between you and your IPs, and between you and your own family and friends will help you navigate the hard times. Positivity, assuming the best intentions of the other, and honest communication will help guide these relationships.
Something we could probably all hear a little bit more often: It is OK to say no!
Hopefully these tips give you an idea of the ways you can protect yourself as a surrogate from giving too much of yourself away while on the surrogacy journey. You’re a very giving person, and only by protecting your core self can you continue to give.
Note from Amanda who works in our office:
I myself was a surrogate. There are times I have to stop myself from doing something for somebody else because of the negative consequences for myself or my family, despite the positive ones for someone else. I never thought of myself as a giver, yet even as a surrogate, I still wanted to do more, whether it was send a card, or give a gift for a special occasion to the intended parents and their family. Even though I was growing this beautiful life inside of me, I still felt like it wasn’t enough, and then realized I can give without giving my whole self away, and not feel guilty.
“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” Mother Teresa