When I was initially filling out paperwork to become a surrogate, I got to the part where I specify whether or not I would be willing to be matched with an International couple. I hesitated. I wanted a relationship with my IPs, and to feel close to them. How was I going to do that if they lived on the other side of the world while I was pregnant with their child? Well it ended up that I did indeed agree to be matched with an International couple, and we are still close almost a year after their child was born! Here’s how I bonded and kept a close relationship with my International IPs.
1) Whatsapp Phone App: This phone app allows you to send messages to an international phone number for free! A life saver when you need to text internationally. You can also use the app to make phone calls.
2) Email updates: This is especially important if you’ve just had an appointment. No doubt the parents are anxious and excited to hear all about the appointment when you get home. I would always send an email update with the details including every reassuring word the Dr said about the health of their baby. Remember how terrified you were when you were pregnant with your first baby? Now imagine it was your first and in someone else’s womb on the other side of the world, and you can imagine just how much they will appreciate your detail for them. I always aimed to make them feel that they were there with me. Email updates are also important if you know they had a holiday coming up. Ex: “How was your Chanukah?” or “I hope you both had a fantastic summer! Did you go on any vacations? We spent lots of time relaxing by the pool….” etc. This sparks a conversation and ways to get to know your IPs outside of the pregnancy. They will come to understand and feel your genuine care for them as time progresses, and you will as well.
3) Skype Calls: Skype calls or FaceTime calls are really fun when the belly starts getting more prominent. I loved calling them when their baby was rolling around so they could see the movement. We had many conversations of laughter and shock at the amount of movement from their little one.
As the birth gets closer, your IPs will be coming out to be near you when you go into labor. This is an excellent time to go out to dinner, or have them over for coffee. The birth is a very intimate time for you and your IPs, and taking the chance to continue to know them better, especially in person is important. In the weeks before my delivery, my IPs were able to come with me to a Dr. appointment. My Dr even did a special ultrasound in our room for them so they could see their baby. It was very moving.
If you are considering being matched with International IPs or even IPs who live in another part of the US, please consider that the distance won’t hinder your relationship as much as you might think. There are so many ways to stay close with someone who lives far away, and with the technology and effort, a friendship and closeness can be achieved.
Written by Corinne Oestreich