Surrogacy is a complicated enough process for an adult to understand — but how exactly do you explain your decision to become a surrogate to your child?
All prospective surrogates must be raising a child in their own home before they can be approved for the surrogacy process, so this is a question that many women ask. If you’re even thinking about becoming a surrogate, you need to understand exactly how your decision will affect your family — and how you can help your children understand the life-changing journey you will go through.
Fortunately, because this is a common question, there are a lot of resources available to help you talk to your child about surrogacy. As with many aspects of surrogacy, it’s always a good idea to contact a surrogacy professional to discuss this topic in more detail and receive a professional opinion. However, as you’re starting your research about explaining surrogacy to children, this article can provide a wealth of information and tips to begin this important conversation.
How Do You Explain Your Surrogacy Decision to Your Children?
As you can probably imagine, how you explain your surrogacy decision to your children will depend upon many factors: where you are at in your surrogacy journey, what your surrogacy process will look like, what your child’s age and comprehension level is, and more. This is why a surrogacy agency can be so helpful in this process; a specialist can provide personalized advice for tackling this conversation.
However, no matter what your personal situation, there are some general steps you should follow when explaining surrogacy to your children:
- Slowly introduce the topic. Surrogacy can be a complicated concept for children to understand, which is why it’s important that your child knows how surrogacy works before you surprise them with the fact that Mommy is going to carry someone else’s baby. You can start by reading them books about surrogacy (see examples of titles below) to normalize the subject, and casually asking them what they would think if Mommy decided to become a surrogate like the women in their books.
- Be age-appropriate. What a 5-year-old and what a 9-year-old will comprehend about the surrogacy process are vastly different, so it’s important that you take your child’s age into account when explaining to them the surrogacy process and how human reproduction works. If your child is younger, you may explain that you are “babysitting” someone else’s baby in your tummy until they are strong enough to go back to their parents. An older child, on the other hand, may be able to comprehend the basic details of the scientific process. When in doubt, keep the language simple to avoid confusion.
- Normalize surrogacy and open up the conversation. It’s normal for a child to have to think about the surrogacy process for a bit to comprehend it. Only after this can they come back to you with additional questions and clarifications. Therefore, make sure that surrogacy is an ongoing topic of conversation, before and during your pregnancy and after the baby is born.
- Emphasize your excitement. Kids often mirror the emotions of their parents, so making sure to express calm enthusiasm about the surrogacy process — and how beautiful it is — will help your child see this process in the same way. Your positive and reassuring comments will also help children when the surrogacy process seems scary or overwhelming (like at the idea that a baby inside their mother will go live with strangers).
Before you start talking to your child about surrogacy, you should take the time to research and perhaps even write down a few notes to prepare yourself. They will likely have questions and concerns, and knowing how to answer them appropriately (rather than ignoring and changing the subject) will teach them that the topic of surrogacy is a welcome and normal one.
As you are preparing for these conversations, you may wish to include some of these children’s books about surrogacy as an aid:
- The Very Kind Koala: A Surrogacy Story for Childrenby Kimberly Kluger-Bell
- Hope & Will Have a Baby: The Gift of Surrogacyby Irene Celcer
- The Kangaroo Pouch: A Story about Surrogacy for Young Childrenby Sarah Phillips Pellet
- Sophia’s Broken Crayons: A Story of Surrogacy from a Young Child’s Perspectiveby Crystal A. Falk
- Sacha, the Little Bright Shooting Star: The Story of Surrogacyby Sofia Prezani
Remember that children can understand a great deal more than adults believe they can, and children will often accept the simplest explanation. As long as you take the time to explain surrogacy to them before starting this journey, they will likely be just as excited as you are about your surrogate pregnancy.
How Can You Involve Your Children in Your Surrogacy?
Once your children understand what surrogacy is and that you are going to be a surrogate, it’s natural that they want to be a part of it. But, how can you involve your children in your surrogacy journey in an appropriate manner?
Fortunately, there are many ways that you can make your child a part of your surrogacy without overstepping boundaries for you or the intended parents. Not only will this help your child feel special, it will also help them understand the realities of surrogacy and ease them into the transition when you give birth and don’t come home with a child.
Of course, the steps you take to include your child will depend upon your relationship with the intended parents, but some of the ways other surrogates include their children are by:
- Letting their children meet and get to know the intended parents, so they understand exactly who the baby will be going home to once he or she is born
- Teaching them to answer questions from their peers about their mother’s surrogate pregnancy, which gives them a sense of responsibility
- Helping them write letters or pick out a special gift for the baby once he or she is born
- Meeting the baby once he or she is born
By involving your child in the surrogacy process and letting them get to know the baby and intended parents, you can reduce the likelihood that your child will feel jealousy, confusion or fear about the future of the baby that you’re carrying. Therefore, many surrogacy professionals today highly encourage surrogates speak with their children about their surrogacy often and from early on.
To find out more tips and suggestions for talking to your child about surrogacy, please contact a surrogacy professional today.