One of the major contradictions of the surrogacy relationship is the contrast between the legal and financial framework of surrogacy, which can make the relationship feel somewhat transactional, or distant, and the reality of surrogacy as an intimate and personal experience that involves a lot of vulnerability for both parents and surrogate. This contradiction can feel especially clear in the time after a baby the born, which is both the climax of this incredibly emotional experience you’ve all been on together and, in some ways, the end of that experience.
Your surrogate’s support system during this time
In most senses, your surrogate or gestational carrier’s support system is already in place, and she probably knows more about what it’s made up of, and what she needs from it, than you do. However, there are a few ways that your family and your surrogate or gestational carrier may still overlap.
- Continued contact: Depending the type of post-birth level of contact you and your surrogate or gestational carrier have already talked about before and during the pregnancy, you may already have a structure set up for staying in touch now that your little one is born. Depending on what your relationship with your surrogate or gestational carrier has looked and felt like during the pregnancy, you may find yourselves wanting more or less contact than what you talked about, and as you’re figuring out what you want the future to look like, it’s important to take your surrogate’s feelings into account, and to communicate what you’re thinking. It’s easy to get caught up in a new-family bubble, but your surrogate or gestational carrier has been on your journey with you for months, and being on the outside of that bubble now may feel strange or lonely – after all, both your family and your surrogate have had a life-changing experience, but afterward, her life may be expected to go back to normal.
- Insurance: Depending on what your surrogate or gestational carrier’s health insurance may have looked like before this pregnancy, she may have needed a supplemental insurance plan for the pregnancy, either provided by you or facilitated by the agency you worked with. This is important because some of the support she needs at this time may come through health insurance. Surrogates and gestational carriers are susceptible to postpartum depression just like new moms – after all, they’re having very similar hormonal and physical experiences. If she was unable to stay on her own insurance while carrying the pregnancy on a supplemental insurance policy, it’s important to make sure she’s set up with coverage for any medical or mental health care she may need in the postpartum period.
- Breastfeeding: If you’re planning to feed your baby breast milk that your surrogate has pumped, it’s important to make sure she has the resources (pump, refrigerator space, cooler for transportation) she’ll need, and that you can coordinate with her a pickup and drop-off schedule that works for both of your families. You may also be interested in exploring induced lactation as a way to feed your little one
Early parenting is full of new experiences, and figuring out how to relate to your surrogate after your child’s birth is a new adventure that your family is ready to navigate!