Dear Sassy Surrogate: How do I talk to my child about their surrogacy experience?
Dear Sassy Surrogate:
My husband and I are having our first child via a gestational surrogate. I know we have awhile to think about it, but how do we go about explaining the surrogacy journey to them as they get older and ask questions?
Hi, Curious Parents-To-Be:
Telling your child that they were born via a gestational surrogate can be an awkward conversation to start, but what an exciting way to come into the world. They’ll love hearing all about who they are. This is their story and their identity. It will become second nature after a while.
The feeling can be daunting for intended parents. The fear of how your child is going to process this information can be a little scary. Anne C. Bernstein, a family psychologist and author of ”Flight of the Stork: What Children Think,” says it could be damaging and confusing to the child to not tell them early on. Remember, your family and some of your close friends will know, and you wouldn’t want them to accidentally tell your child before you do. Younger children are more open minded to new things especially things that involve them.
A great idea would be to start with your relationship with your gestational carrier. Start a journal for your child. Have pictures from the beginning and (even as early as you met each other!) – up to birth. You’ll be able to show them just how important and how much they are loved. You can explain to them that families are made in so many ways and that their family has its own amazing story. The older they get the more in depth you can explain the process and make it more age appropriate as you go.
There are many books that you can read with your child that will also help you all as a family:
- The Kangaroo Pouch by Sarah Phillips Pellet
- Why I’m So Special: A Book About Surrogacy with Two Daddies by Carla Lewis-Long
- The Pea That Was Me: An Egg Donation Story by Kimberly Kluger-Bell
- Baby Cake- An Egg Donation Story by Mrs. Jordan DeGusipe
Start with the basics and let your child ask the questions. Offer a few bits of information, and let the child fill in the details. Don’t give them more than they want at the time. Some families say that when you tell them how they were conceived, the child will just “shrug it off.” Sometimes it’s not really a big thing to them. For Elizabeth Gaba, who was born via egg donation and a surrogate, she said she knew her whole life and loves her family but had always wanted to learn more about where she came from.
Surrogate parents and their children should never be ashamed of their story and shouldn’t be afraid to talk about it, after all, the hardest part was the time before they were born!
Best Wishes and Congrats!