I’ve written in the past about what our relationship looked like with our surrogate after birth. At the time of that post, we were only about five months post-delivery. Now, we are two years post-delivery. I figured you may be curious what the relationship looks like now, as this was something that I was always curious about myself when I first learned and thought about surrogacy.
Many things are the same with regard to our surrogate relationship. For starters, I continue to think that she is one of the most amazing and selfless people on this earth. I’ve tried in the past to describe the level of appreciation, respect and awe that I have for this woman but I’ve never felt that my words have done her justice. Maybe emotions can describe it better, and to that point, I find it physically impossible to think about our surrogate and what she did for us without a lump forming in my throat and a warmth spreading in my chest. It’s sort of like all of the pain and heartbreak and tears that I felt through my three years in infertility are felt in the opposite direction when I think of her. She is light and hope and kindness, and of course, I can’t think of her without feeling all of the love that I have for our daughter Audrey, who she carried and delivered.
We continue to be in regular touch with our surrogate, primarily through the photo-sharing app Tinybeans. She will often make comments on photos and videos of the girls about how they are growing and evolving. For instance, this past week we had some pics of the girls painting on their easel, and she remarked that it seems we have a right-handed girl and a left-handed girl. I also like to keep up with her life and family through Facebook.
Surrogacy and the importance of our surrogate remain regular topics in our household. Each morning, we look through a family photo album and the last picture is one of our surrogate with Audrey. The girls now point to her picture each morning and identify her by name, and they know that she carried Audrey in her tummy (and they often pat their bellies when looking at her picture). We also have a photo on the girls’ dresser that is of me and our surrogate from our maternity photo shoot and I explain to them each night when getting them into their nighttime diapers that our surrogate carried Audrey and I carried Lilly. They are always super excited to look at that picture and it is a known tantrum-risk when I tell them it’s time for bed and they need to put the picture frame away!
This is the photo that is on the girls’ dresser. Credit: James Currie
We also exchange light gifts with each other’s family. Each year on Audrey’s birthday, I think it’s important to send our surrogate a bouquet of flowers to mark the occasion. And for the girls’ recent second birthday, she was so thoughtful to send them gifts in the theme of their party, The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
Speaking of the girls’ birthday, last year our surrogate and her husband traveled all the way from Utah to Chicago to be there for the big occasion. This year, they received an invite but I knew that they wouldn’t be able to make it for a very good reason – our surrogate was recovering from delivering her second surrogate baby!
This brings me to the biggest difference in our relationship now versus two years ago – our surrogate family has grown! Audrey now has what we call a “surro sister” who was born in early May. I wrote in an earlier post about our surrogate’s offer to carry another baby for us and our decision to decline the offer and stick with our family of four. In that post, I mentioned that our surrogate had been matched with another set of parents in Chicago, and I’m so thrilled to report that their experience proceeded as smoothly and positively as ours did. We can’t wait to meet the baby girl very soon, and it was super exciting in the months leading up to her birth to share again in the excitement of a surrogate pregnancy and delivery. Audrey and I attended the intended mother’s baby shower, and Mr. Starfish and I stocked them with hand-me-downs and as much new parent and surrogacy advice as we could we could muster.
I’m sure that as the years go on, the relationship we have with our surrogate will continue to evolve. I consider our family to be tremendously lucky to have such an important connection with such a strong and kind woman, as well as her supportive family. And I very much look forward to maintaining this special relationship!
Me and our surrogate with the girls at their first birthday party. Credit: Julie Dietz