How Does a Surrogacy Relationship Change After Birth?

A while ago, I asked the question that is a very tough one to answer.
When does a surrogacy end?

Of course, many people will say "it never ends."

For others, it might be at the moment of birth. And it actually
ended long before that takes place.

I am not one of the hardliners on this subject.

I don't believe that it's a quick fade to black after the birth of the baby.

The more appropriate questions would be:

  • How does the relationship mature?
  • What are the new boundaries that need to be established?
  • How does everyone evolve in a healthy way through the transition phase?
One of the best answers that I have heard so far (I will paraphase) from an experienced surrogate is:

At the end of each of my surrogacies, I plan a big trip for MY family to go on so that we can reconnect. The Surrogacy journey is a long road and takes a lot out of me and my family. We need time to get away and focus on us and enjoy time together. 

For me, it's a very interesting time.

Your told to prepare for the roller coaster ride of IVF.

Prepare for the Two week wait.

Prepare for a Heart Beat.

Prepare for the Birth.

Prepare to bring home a baby.

Where are the instruction to prepare and transition from Intended Parent to Parent and Surrogate to Experienced Surrogate?


Cyn said...

Gosh this is hard. It's different for everyone. I love the idea of the trip and would agree that it was a nice thing for my family to do as well. I would suggest waiting to take the trip until hormones have settled though. Around 6 weeks things are feeling pretty normal and hormonally we are much more balanced by then.
Everyone has such different ideas about how the relationship should be AFTER the birth and I personally feel like that choice should be left up to the parents. I, the surrogate, should take my cues from them. If they are not calling me once a week, than they probably don't want me calling them that often either.
Being a parent is a busy time. In general people give new parents TIME to settle into new routines. Parents through surrogacy aren't much different. They still are entitled to time to sort through the changes. Give them some space and allow THEM to make contact and set the precedent.
Now as a parent through surrogacy, it is also decent of you to check in on your surrogate in the first few weeks (even 6 can't hurt). See how they are doing emotionally, physically. Share with them the joy you are experiencing and how happy/sleep deprived you are. It doesn't have to be a long call or email, but the gesture means a lot to a hormonal woman.
If you don't have a surrogate that picks up on cues, one may have to be a little more specific about the kind of relationship they'd like. "I am immensely thankful to you for nurturing my baby. I would love to share photos with you, but please don't show them to everyone/please don't post them on FB/please don't ...."
"We had a great relationship during the pregnancy, I know things will change a little/a lot, but I still think of you even if we don't get a chance to text daily anymore."
I've heard from others, that one of the toughest adjustments is the change in contact and not having such close, daily, communication. We worry that a lack of communication means that we are going to be forgotten about forever and there will be NO contact. Quite often this is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Because we obsess so much about being 'dumped', we drive you away and cause you to withdraw contact.

I no longer recall the other questions and all of my examples were examples that I've heard from other surros. They do not necessarily apply to your situation or to mine.

Cyn said...

I had a giant comment, google bites, said it was too big and DELETED the whole thing.
Call me and I'll tell you what to write. :)

Cyn said...

Sweet! I thought my book was lost. I'll try to get to the 'rest of the questions' this weekend.

RebekahRose said...

It is definitely a time of transition that's almost impossible to "plan" for! Everyone has such different needs/wants/expectations, as they do all along the way - I think keeping the communication lines open as to what you're thinking/feeling, what you want/don't want as time progresses is very helpful. My personal experience is that my IPs touched base very frequently the first couple months, sent me TONS of pictures and quick e-mail messages throughout the week. I felt INCREDIBLY blessed and thankful for that, and I think because of that level of contact it became very easy for me to let go quickly and easily, and be able to focus solely on all the positive thoughts and feelings of seeing them together as the family they had always been but now could PHYSICALLY be! My role was over, but they continued to check in with me and stay in touch with me and allowed me the time and space in my head and heart to move on. I think having that experience it will be different this time around, I don't think I'll "need" that they way I probably needed it then - of course my IPs and I have a very different relationship than I did with my first couple too!

I do think the IPs should be the ones to initiate the contact level, and let the surro know through their actions how much interraction they'd like - but I also think if you have the time and inclination a few quick e-mails and pictures can make a world of difference those first couple months and then things gradually slow down in the contact department and head back towards the "before we met" phase. My surro-babe turned 3 this year and I got a few birthday pictures and a phone call around then and I think we had talked maybe once or twice earlier in the year and that is what feels perfectly normal and happy for me and hopefully for my IPs as well! Whatever contact level is maintained, I want it to be at THEIR discretion, I never want anything to feel forced.