Surrogacy is, by definition, a relationship that gets very intense, very quickly. In ideal cases, families and surrogates or gestational carriers go from just getting to know each other to collaborating to form a family in very quick succession. This is different enough from other types of relationships on its own, but this sudden seriousness also goes through another abrupt change nine months later when the baby is born – and then what? Is that the end?
The answer to that question is up to you and your surrogate or gestational carrier, but if it’s a relationship you’d like to continue, the weeks and months after birth are a great time to get started.
Establish that relationship!
If your surrogate or gestational carrier and her family want a little space after the nine-months-long adventure you’ve been on together, that makes total sense, but if you want to stay in touch with her, and she hasn’t expressed an interest in stepping back for a bit, this is a great time to start to get in the habit of being in touch. This might mean texting, sending baby pictures, or trying to figure out times to get your families together for dinner, all depending on physical proximity and the kind of relationship both of your families want.
Remember that your surrogate or gestational carrier is still recovering
Your family is about to change in a massive, seismic way with the birth of Baby, and it will be easy to get caught up in the excitement and newness of that fact. And there’s no denying that your family will be busy all on its own! It would be easy to feel like delivery marks the end of your surrogate or gestational carrier’s journey in this pregnancy, and the beginning of your family’s adventure in newborn parenting, but the truth is that the line isn’t that definite.
Your surrogate or gestational carrier is going through a huge, shock of a physical change in not being pregnant anymore, after months and months of gradual change as Baby grew inside her. Now she’s recovering physically, her hormones may be still in flux, and for her, life is supposed to start to settle into some kind of normalcy. During this time, it can be thoughtful to reach out and share some appreciation for the person who has just had such a physically transformative experience for your family. Surrogates and gestational carriers may not have the maternity leave time off from work that the parents of newborns might, and may be expected to ‘bounce back’ faster since they’re not parenting newborns, but surrogates and gestational carriers need just as much recovery time as new parents who have given birth. A gift or gesture that shows that your family understands these challenges may mean a lot.
Ask what your surrogate or gestational carrier and her family want
Maybe you’ve agreed to stay close with your surrogate or gestational carrier and her family, but in the aftermath of recovery from delivery, she finds that what she actually needs is a few weeks with just her family to recenter herself. Maybe you’ve agreed to keep things light, but once you separate after delivery, you find yourselves missing each other. Maybe it’s your family that needs a little extra time to get used to the new arrival before you work out how to stay in touch with your surrogate or gestational carrier. Any of these reactions – and many more – are normal and natural, but the best way to make sure no one’s feelings get hurt during this emotional time for everyone is involved is to make sure you get the chance to talk through what everyone is feeling.