One of the things surrogate mothers are asked quite frequently is “How do you explain surrogacy to your kids? Isn’t that going to be hard on them?” People asking this are concerned that my children would be confused that we didn’t take the baby home. I came up with a way to explain to young children about surrogacy, and my son completely understood at the age of 3.
I explained that I would be taking care of my Intended Mother and Father’s baby in my tummy. They were giving me their baby to watch and help grow, and when he/she was all grown and healthy, I would be giving him/her back to them. I explained it as long term babysitting. I wanted to be sure that my children knew that from the beginning this child was not ours. I was trusted to care for it, and then would give it back to it’s mommy the way our babysitter gives my son and daughter back to us. I made sure to tell my children that I will never give them away. Just reassuring them of this fact every once and a while is smart to do. I called my Surro-baby “Intended mother and Father’s baby” to my children all the time, continuing to reinforce to them that this baby was different.
Preparing Children for After the Birth
It is also important to explain how everything will work after the baby is born. Children thrive in environments where they feel safe, familiar. This is why establishing routines with children are often recommended by pediatricians and practices in early childhood education. To lessen the shock of a new experience, and for most children a pregnant mother and giving birth is a new experience, it’s important to talk about the birth and to talk about it frequently. I would often say “Mommy is going to go to the hospital so IM & IF’s baby can come out and be with her parents, then mommy gets to come home and be with you guys again! We can snuggle and continue to be just us.” Keep the explanation short, and use words they can relate to. When I gave birth to my surrogate baby my IP’s had all of us come visit in their room so that my children could see that the baby was safe with her parents. This is extremely important if you have a relationship with your IPs that will allow it. My children were even able to hold (with assistance) my Surro-baby, and seeing the family together as a whole really rounded the entire scenario for my kids. It brought it to a beautiful conclusion for them. Children need reassurance that they are loved, and what to expect in situations that are big like this. Surrogacy is life changing, and a journey that the whole family participates in. Making it a relatable subject to little kids makes the adjustments and changes easier to accept.
- Explain Surrogacy in a relatable way to your children, like Babysitting.
- Reenforce the idea that you are helping someone else’s baby grow, and not your own.
- Tell your children that you love them, and would never give them away.
- Prepare your children for the birth by speaking of it often.
- Let your children see the family you created, together as a family and that baby is safe.
Written by Corinne Oestreich