THE POST BIRTH RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR SURROGATE
As the birth of your baby draws near you may begin to wonder how the relationship you’ve built with your surrogate will change after delivery. The first thing you should know is that the relationship will change. That’s normal. You should also know that no matter how it changes, those changes are okay.
It’s entirely up to you how much access you allow the surrogate and her family to have to you and your baby from now on. Some parents will develop deep friendships with their surrogate and stay in contact with her for years to come. Other parents prefer a blunt separation at the time of birth. Both options are acceptable. In either case, perhaps the best way to say ‘thank you’ is to consider allowing your surrogate the chance to have proper closure.
Understand that just as your entire world changes the instant the baby is born, your surrogate’s world makes a dramatic change as well. In the blink of an eye she goes from being a key player in your family creating world, to an often over looked spectator. Compound this sudden change with the hormone surge that accompanies child birth and you may begin to understand why she is crying and feeling a lot of big emotions all at once. Big emotions and big tears are typical.
Surrogates are not adoptive mothers. They have no biological or maternal emotional link to your child. Your surrogate is not grieving the loss of a child, in fact she’s likely on an emotional high, just like you. Despite this, nearly all surrogates crave a sense of closure and the opportunity to say goodbye to the baby, to her surrogate experience and, potentially, to you.
Take some time aside from the excitement and joy of that precious bundle to ask your surrogate how she’s feeling. Tell her how appreciative you are of the gift she has just given you. Also, allowing her to be a part of the process while in the hospital will go a long way in helping her get that much needed and desired closure.
Small things like sitting with her for lunch, allowing her to give the baby a bottle, talking with her about how the baby is sleeping; these things may seem small and inconsequential to you but when it comes to your surrogate, these small inclusions can mean more than you’ll ever know.
If you’re comfortable, consider allowing your surrogate some access to the new baby. Many surrogates will want to snap a quick photo of themselves with the baby, or maybe with you and the baby, even of their own children with the baby. They may also want to hold the baby.
Even so, many surrogates will not ask for these closure giving photos or cuddles out of fear that you may think she’s changing her mind, or feels attached to your baby. Keep in mind that any access or time you allow your surrogate to spend with your baby will always be in your presence. Your offering to take the picture or to let her hold the baby takes the stress of asking for access away from her, and can feel like the biggest relief in the world. Again, small gestures that show big appreciation.
A healthy dose of empathy and you will navigate the closure of your surrogacy and transition to parenthood with ease. If you ever need help relating or communicating with your surrogate during these coming weeks, don’t be afraid to reach out to your case specialist.