How to Help Your Children Understand Gestational Surrogacy
As a gestational surrogate, you’ll face questions from family members and friends about your decision to help a couple build their family. These questions are expected, especially from those who are not familiar with third-party reproduction. However, many surrogates have found that some of the toughest questions don’t come from the adults in their lives, but from their children.
Telling your children that you’re going to help someone else have a baby is a very important conversation to have with them. How you approach the conversation will vary depending on the ages of the children involved. Older children and teenagers will have a better understanding of pregnancy, childbirth, and conception, and they would be more likely to understand the role of third-party reproduction. Conversations will likely be more practical in nature, with questions about the family for whom you are carrying the child and questions about their relationship to the baby.
Surrogacy can be confusing for younger children. They may grow attached to the baby, even with frequent conversations about who the baby’s parents will be and who the baby will live with once it’s born. In order to help gestational surrogates and their partners have these conversations, we’ve compiled helpful tips on how to approach surrogacy, regardless of your child’s age.
• Talk openly and often.
Encourage an open atmosphere where questions and concerns about your surrogacy journey are met calmly and honestly. Explaining why you decided to become a surrogate will be a big part of this discussion. Your pregnancy will affect your child’s life due to your altered work schedule, frequent medical appointments, and when and if you travel to meet with the intended parents. This schedule shift may impact your child, and he or she will want to know that it’s okay to voice questions about why things are different than they usually are.
• Expect some jealousy.
Parents of more than one child may already be familiar with sibling rivalries. Children of all ages are prone to moments of jealousy when a parent devotes attention to more than one child. Your pregnancy will require time and energy that you may normally devote to your child, and they may feel resentful of the time spent apart.
• Prepare to reassure, reassure, reassure.
Parents know that there are many occasions where you feel like your child fully understood a conversation, only to learn later it didn’t exactly take. Children, especially those who do not fully understand surrogacy, will need extra reassurance about how much you love them and that this baby will not replace your love for them.