Up to now, I've only been talking about my physical pregnancy symptoms as the weeks go by. I thought I'd change it up, and talk about a subject more people considering surrogacy might actually care about.
Now that there is no more disguising that I am pregnant, I have been telling a lot more people about the surrogacy. In addition to friends and family (most of whom knew when I was way back in the planning stages), I have let coworkers, my daycare teachers, and casual acquaintances in on the scoop. I have been pleasantly surprised by the fact that people's reactions have been overwhelmingly positive. I have had some inappropriate questions, but only because people are curious and sometimes excited to meet a "real" surrogate for the first time. It's really interesting to see some people's reactions because they are trying to fit what they know of me into their existing mental picture of what a surrogate is (which, thanks to the media, is not always the most positive image). Even with people who blurt out totally inappropriate questions, I haven't had to deal with any condescension or negativity, and for that I'm thankful. I don't mind answering questions that come from the place of genuine curiosity or caring. And it also makes me grateful that I am surrounded by such positive and accepting people, because I know that not everyone is like that.
Even though people have been positive, there are people who have had concerns - mainly about my feelings through the process. People have showed concern in this area in various ways: asking how I feel about the babies this time, asking if it will be sad to come home alone this time, asking what I plan to do after the babies are born. Another recurring question is, how does my husband feel about the whole process? Basically, people just want to make sure that emotionally, we are both doing OK.
I can't answer for my husband (although maybe I can talk him into doing a guest post later???), but I will say that it takes a very special man to be able to support his wife through something like this. He has been there for me every step of the way, from being a sounding board during my screening/contract phase frustrations, to picking up my slack when I was too tired to do anything the first trimester, to dealing with my pregnancy symptoms without complaining (in addition to the expected, apparently I snore while pregnant - I found him sleeping in the other room the other night). I could never make it through this without him as my partner, and I'm so grateful to him for all he does for me.
And now I'm finally getting to the point of my post: how am I doing? The answer is, I'm doing great! I haven't had any second thoughts about how I would feel during my entire journey. This pregnancy continues to be completely different emotionally for me than my last pregnancy. I love seeing the ultrasounds because I think it's such a miracle to see those tiny little blobs turning into people before our eyes. But I don't feel any sort of emotional attachment to the babies. Instead, I revel in the fact that I get to see those emotions on the faces of my IPs when look at their children on the screen. Now that I'm feeling them kick, I feel like I'm getting to the fun part of the pregnancy. The part where you get to stop worrying that something is wrong, because the babies periodically remind you that they are in there moving around. But those little kicks haven't changed my feelings towards the babies. Every time I'm able to feel a kick on the outside, I think about how exciting it's going to be when my IPs get to feel that for the first time.
And as far as leaving the hospital empty handed? I'll be perfectly honest. There is not a single day that goes by that I don't think to myself how glad I am that these two babies are not coming home with me at the end of this journey. There are times when I am so happy that one toddler is all I have to deal with. As I attempt to buckle my little bucking bronco into her car seat against her will, I think to myself, "what if I had to do this THREE times?" Or when she tears through the house like a tornado, leaving nothing but destruction in her wake, I wonder how I could possibly contain her if I had to stop and feed/change two newborns.
But it's not just the harder times that make me glad I'm going to remain a mother of one, it's also the best times. Like yesterday afternoon, when my daughter and I were laying in the hammock, celebrating the arrival (finally) of spring. We were just relaxing, with her cuddled up against me, and I was thinking, "I love that it's just the two of us." And now that she is learning and growing every day, learning to say things like "I loo" (I love you) and "Goo Giwl!" (if she manages to get her shoes on her feet), I think of how fast she is changing and that I don't want to miss a minute of it. Maybe it's because I'm a working mother and don't get to be with her all day every day, but I feel selfish with my time with her. I don't want to share her with anyone else because I just want to soak in her wonderful baby-ness before she grows out of it. If I were planning a nursery, picking out names, and generally obsessing over another impending arrival, I feel like my brain would be too cluttered to notice the little things she does every day that make being her mother such a joy. And if I were to become a mother of 3 kids under 2 years old? I would totally be in survival mode and would miss out on the best part of being a mother to all three of them. Although I would like to have another child eventually, I am so happy that she is going to be my only "baby" for a little while longer.
Giving the gift of of being a mother is the primary reason why I went into surrogacy in the first place. Watching my IM become a mother after so many years of waiting is what I am looking forward to most about this journey. I can't wait until my IPs get to experience all the joys and frustrations that I get to experience on a daily basis. I'm not going to bury my head in the sand and think that I'll be 100% fine in the days and weeks immediately after giving birth. I will be at the mercy of my hormones as they try to rebalance, just like I was last time. (I spent a lot of time just randomly crying after the birth of my last child for no particular reason, other than I just needed a good cry). It will also mark the end of my role in something that has consumed a large part of my thoughts and time for over a year now. I'm sure it will take some time for me to adjust back to my life as "just" me, before this crazy journey started. But I'm also not even a little bit afraid that I will have trouble saying goodbye to the babies when it comes time. I just can't wait for them to meet their parents.