By: Lisa Regula Meyer
In case you, Dear Reader, hadn’t noticed, I really enjoy the surrogacy world. I may not have much tolerance for kids- especially when they misbehave- but I enjoy the theory of kids and parenting. Becoming a family; the many different ways people can go about it; the many variations of families; the different ways to get to one common goal- a healthy, well-adjusted next generation- fascinate me. Part of it is the variety, part is the loftiness of shaping the next generation, and part of it is all the amazing biology and odds that come into play. But all of it is truly miraculous. And so it was with great honor and enthusiasm that I get to go to the Men Having Babies seminar in New York City this September, as the traditional surrogate speaker.
I’ve spoken to groups before, but usually in my academic discipline of herpetology and community ecology, and I’ve traveled before, even alone, but never to The Big Apple. So there are lots of reasons to be excited about this little adventure of Mama’s. I might even get to see some friends while I’m there, and make some new ones! The whole project is actually very interesting- panels open to prospective intended parents and speakers including IVF doctors, lawyers, psychologists, surrogates, and parents via surrogacy, egg donors, and more. Obviously, there will also be plenty of other prospective IPs to talk with and discuss options, and the website for Men Having Babies has recently added assessments and survey information on various professionals in surrogacy to their site.
As much as I may have always been bookish as a kid, I also love a good adventure. Reading may have been my way of exploring and adventuring as a poor kid in a rural home with no cable (no, I’m not that old, Dad just never agreed with paying for TV). Books let me pursue adventures without dealing with the logistics and essentially inaccessible options. Whatever the reasons, and whatever the outlets, I’ve always been one to explore, take risks, and try new things. Variety is the spice of life, and I like it picante.
Odd as it may seem, my love of trying new things definitely did encourage my desire to pursue surrogacy. That’s not to say that every person should have the experience of being or having a surrogate, but for those who are interested and able, it’s a great experience to have. I’m not going to lie; it does have its risks, and its downsides, but then again, so does every new experience. How many times have you tried a new recipe, only to realize that you do, in fact, hate cacao nibs with squash? Really, that’s one experience you should avoid at all cost.
Most of the time in surrogacy, the benefits far outweigh the negatives, and the serious negatives happen only a very small fraction of the time, and there are benefits that you don’t ever imagine when you’re just starting out. Biggest benefit is most definitely creating a new family, but there are also the feelings of appreciation, meeting the wonderful non-immediate family of your IPs, seeing new places, hearing new perspectives, and far more. The negatives do happen; I realize that and have seen them happen recently to a very dear friend of mine. Ultimately, it’s about weighing the risks and benefits, and making a decision that you’re comfortable with, and due to stupidity or something, I’m comfortable with quite a lot of risk. Maybe a bit too much; I have taken more than a couple of volts in my lifetime during home improvement projects.
The thing is- for me- the benefit of having a new experience that I’ve never had before is a huge benefit. I’ll admit that I may have gotten even less risk averse lately, but it’s worked out so far. I risk putting myself out here and talking about some deeply personal topics; I took a risk and went to the surro-babe’s birthday party; I’ve applied for (and taken) jobs that were high skill levels that I didn’t think myself to be; and I’ve spoken out vocally with positions that weren’t popular. Do I regret any of it? No, because I’ve been able to rise to the challenges and learn an awful lot. Would I do any of it differently? Possibly, but I can’t see cutting back on the risks I’ve taken, only trying other things that I had the sense (good or otherwise) to pass on at the time.
I love being a part of surrogacy, and I love the people that are also in this world- people who are willing to dare to dream, and take the risks, and put themselves out there. By doing these little things- by being true to ourselves- it shows the world what all is possible, and makes it a little easier for the less-brave souls to follow their dreams as well. If nothing else, I have more fun trying new things than I would by not trying them. So take a chance. Be your truest self. Learn something new. Heck, bet once in a while. Me or the Big Apple- who do you think will come out more intact? September 22nd, when I finally take on New York City, the world finally gets to find that out.
Full disclosure- my husband’s money is on New York. He doubts my ability to navigate hoards of people without damaging my sanity.