As a parent-to-be, you spend the months leading up to the moment of your child’s birth hypothesizing about what parenting will be like, what it will feel like, to have a baby of your own that you are responsible for.
There are certainly clear ways to prepare for parenthood. Buying baby supplies and newborn clothes, taking some infant safety classes, and reading up on baby development and sleep patterns. Despite how prepared you may be, the hardest thing about becoming a parent is just how much parenthood will affect your sense of self.
Having a child via surrogate comes with some specific to-dos and maybe some emotional hurdles too, but most of the things that parents-to-be anticipate and worry about are nearly identical regardless of how your baby arrives in your arms.
Becoming a parent via surrogacy: Identity shift
Once you become a parent, it’s perfectly normal to feel a huge identity shift. This can be destabilizing. Your life as you know it is upended, and overnight baby’s needs become your priority, oftentimes with your own needs taking a backseat. And it may take you time to work out how to merge your pre-baby identity with your new identity as a parent. Being aware of this shift before you become a parent is one of the most helpful actions you can take to prepare to be a parent.
Your day-to-day life
When you have a baby, your hobbies or interests might become less accessible to you for a bit. This can be very challenging, as it is often hobbies, interests, and passions that give your life purpose and make you feel like yourself. Without as much time for these things, you might start to feel a bit disconnected or distant from who you’ve known yourself to be. Add in a lack of sleep, and it’s a recipe for some identity challenges.
Many new parents go through the same experience, and struggle with finding themselves. It is perfectly normal to feel like you are reinventing yourself. After all, having a baby is one of the, if not the most, life-altering rites of passage one can experience. Becoming a parent may shake you to your core, force you to take a good look at yourself and shift the very foundation under your feet. In the process, you may identify new hobbies and passions, and there will still be time for all the things your pre-baby self loved, in time.
It gets better
The newborn stage can be all consuming, but it’s not forever. Remember that before you know it, you’ll be back to doing the activities that you may have had to put on the backburner for now and your little one will be developing their own hobbies!
Mental health note
There is a difference between adjusting to life as a parent and feeling like you’ve lost yourself. If you’re unable to perform daily chores or parenting duties, if you’re feeling hopeless or very sad, or if you’re contemplating hurting yourself or your baby, please seek immediate help. In preparation to become a parent it can help to look out for signs of mood and anxiety disorders, which can present in families who pursue surrogacy just as for those who give birth.
As you pursue or consider becoming a parent, the best thing you can do is to be gentle to your current and future self. Getting yourself in a mindset where you’re open to and embrace the change will go a long way. And research helps too.
You may emerge on the other side of newborn parent life feeling like a stronger, more secure and balanced adult than you did before. You may even come to realize you’re the type who prefers stroller walks to tennis any day.
Reviewed by the Ovia Health Clinical Team