Talking About Surrogacy With Your Children
Surrogacy involves bringing together two families and while we all know that a gestational carrier will always already have children, often times the intended parents will have children as well. The children of both families will need to be prepared for the surrogacy process. There are three main ways to support and prepare the children for their parent being pregnant or welcoming a sibling. It’s best to give them basic information about what’s happening, explain how things will change, and answer their questions. It’s important to be truthful with children but also to keep the information understandable and not overwhelming. Below are some tips and suggestions for talking with your children.
Provide Basic Information
Once there is a baby on the way you will want to let the children know. If the children are younger, you may want to wait until the pregnancy is past the first trimester. Older children, 8 years and up, will likely need to be told about the process from the beginning.
Just give the basic facts and the situation. Your children may or may not have met the Intended Parents or the GC at this point, but some kind of meeting probably needs to happen.
Children need concrete experiences to build their understanding around. This helps children structure and make sense of more complex situations. You will also want to keep pictures of the other family around.
IPs should have up to date pictures from the GC showing the belly growing. This will help the older child see the changes and know the new baby is coming as the belly grows.
As the GC you will want to have pictures of the IPs and their family to show your children whose baby is growing in your body.
Explain Upcoming Changes
As a Gestational Carrier you will want to explain how being pregnant is going to impact the daily life of your children. You will want to explain how your body is going to change and how your caring for them may need to change. You also want to make sure you tell your children how you will need to heal after the baby is born and goes home with the parents.
As Intended Parents you’re going to need to prepare your child for having a sibling. Some of the changes could include schedule changes, visitors, and sleeping arrangements. You also will want to explain what new babies are really like. It’s also important to explain to your child about how normal it is to be happy and sad about the new baby at the same time.
One of the best ways to help a child is to be ready to answer the questions they have. You want to make sure you answer their questions without over informing. Here’s a quick guided to how to answer questions:
Validate the question: That’s a great question!
Ask a clarify question: Can you tell me more? Or What made you think about that?
Answer only the question asked: Be specific and simple.
Follow up: Is there anything else you need to know?
For example if a child asks, “How did the baby get inside?”
Parent: That’s a good question. what made you think about that?
Child: I thought the parents are the ones who put the baby in.
Parent: That is one way it works. We had a doctor help us and the doctor put the baby inside.
Child: How did the doctor do that?
Parent: They used a special tool.
Parent: Is there anything else you need to know?
Keep the answers as simple as possible. If your child needs more they will ask another question to get more information. It can be helpful to sit down with your partner and brainstorm questions and answers so you’re ready when questions start to come.
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