The Surrogacy Baby Blues

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The baby blues. It’s a term used to explain the anxiety and sadness that can come along with the rapid hormone changes following childbirth. While not all women will experience this anxiety or sadness, many will. Surrogates are no exception. In fact, surrogacy may be the first time you experience these feelings.

The first thing you should understand is that, especially as a surrogate, it is incredibly normal and acceptable to be feeling a variety of emotions following the birth. One minute you’ll probably be feeling on top of the world and bursting with pride and self-worth. Then, mere hours later, you could be crying for what feels like no good reason at all. Many of our surrogates tell us they’ll start crying while experiencing no sadness at all. They tell us they’re quite happy, but crying anyway. It’s not uncommon at all.

There is a part of you that is probably mourning the end of your surrogate journey. For the better part of a year, maybe longer, you’ve had a mission in life, a goal in mind. During that time you were the epicenter of your intended parents’ world. Then, in a matter of minutes, it’s all over.

Now you’ve met that goal and their focus has shifted. It’s a big change and it happens all at once. You may want to take some time to say a proper goodbye to this incredibly special thing that you’ve done.  Look back through old bump day photos, re-read old Emails between your intended parents and yourself, laugh at those odd cravings you had. It’s okay to be sad that the journey is over.

It’s also okay to cry. Many surrogates feel like they can’t cry following the birth, especially in front of friends and family who they fear won’t understand why they’re crying. There is a nasty stigma that if a surrogate is sad or crying, then surely it means she regrets her decision.  That misconception leads many surrogates to feel uncomfortable or unable to show any emotions outwardly. And that sets surrogates up to fail. Because the simple truth is you’re probably going to feel a range of emotions.

It’s okay to explain your tears to others or, if you don’t know why you’re crying, to tell them that too. What you should try to remember is that, especially if you’re a first time surrogate, this is new and uncharted territory for you. You’re not expected to know how this will feel in advance of the big day. It’s okay if it takes you a little while to get a solid grip on all of these new emotions and sort through how best to manage them.

Take comfort in knowing that, for most women, these wild emotions and tears will pass, it just takes a little time.

If you know any other surrogates, it can be incredibly helpful to talk with them about these feelings. Sometimes the validation of knowing that you’re not alone in these complex emotions can make a huge difference. You can also reach out to your case specialist or Dr. Kim Bergman at Growing Generations. We are a part of your support network and are here to help you through every part of your journey; including this one. Especially this one.

You are an amazing, selfless woman. The gift you’ve given will live on for generations to come. No matter what emotions you experience in the days following the birth, never forget the incredible thing you’ve done.

Dr. Kim Bergman

Kim Bergman, PhD, a licensed psychologist of 26 years, has specialized in the area of gay and lesbian parenting, parenting by choice and third party assisted reproduction for over two decades. Dr. Bergman has created a comprehensive psychological screening, support and monitoring process for Intended Parents, Surrogates and Donors. She is the co-owner of Fertility Counseling Services and Growing Generations and is a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the American Psychological Association, the Los Angeles County Psychological Association, the Lesbian and Gay Psychotherapy Association, and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. She is on the national Emeritus board of the Family Equality Council. Dr. Bergman writes, teaches and speaks extensively on parenting by choice. Along with co-authors, she published “Gay Men Who Become Fathers via Surrogacy: The Transition to Parenthood” (Journal of GLBT Family Studies, April 2010). Dr. Bergman’s is the author of the upcoming book, Your Future Family: An Essential Guide to Assisted Reproduction (Red Wheel Press 2019). Dr. Bergman created her own family using third party assisted reproduction and she lives with her wife of 35 years. Her two daughters are in college.