By: Kelly Rummelhart
I remember when I signed on to be a surrogate back in 2007 I had high hopes for my journey. My best case scenario had me delivering twin girls for my IPs (since they were hoping for two girls) and becoming friends in the process. If this were poker, George and Sanj “saw” my best case scenario and “raised” it. I left that journey birthing my friends the twin girls they longed for, but even better, left as a better person and with an extended family. They were so amazing to me the entire time. My heart still skips a beat when I get an email, call, or text from them.
About a month ago, I had a set of Intended Parents that read my Just the Stork blog ask me for some advice about some special things they can do for their surrogate. So many times IPs want to show their surrogate how appreciative they are for her services or they hope to ease her discomforts during pregnancy. Yes, you get compensated for being a surrogate, and most of us don’t expect anything else, but it is nice to be told or shown that you are appreciated. One thing that you will see is that there are plenty of ways to let her know you are thankful that she is with you on your journey to parenthood.
The following is a list of things that surrogates (including myself) have shared:
• After we matched, they sent me the most gorgeous flowers, telling me they were excited for what the next year would bring.
• After I received the contact sheet with everyone’s emails I was wondering when was “too early” to contact them and say Hi. Within the hour, THEY had already emailed me to say thank you and they were really excited that I was the one to help them become parents.
• We were discussing how uncomfortable I was when I was trying to sleep (with twins) late in the second trimester. The next day a maternity pillow was shipped to my house with a card that read, “Sweet Dreams”.
• They sent my son a birthday present and a card that wished him a happy birthday, told him they couldn’t wait to meet him, and thanked him for “letting your mom help us with having a baby”.
• They sent me flowers to mark the end of the first trimester.
• They took my family to Disneyland when we came down to visit them and do the 3D/4D Ultrasound.
• Even though the house cleaning allowance didn’t start until the third trimester, they told my agency to start it now, so I’d have help with my house the entire pregnancy.
• They sent me a Year of Seeds after I gave birth, in case I was missing growing their seeds.
• They planned an all-inclusive trip with them at a resort in Monterey around the baby’s 1st birthday. It was wonderful getting to spend that time reconnecting with them and her.
Now, I have heard tons of other stories of surrogates who received iPods, iPads, flowers, cupcakes, cookies and other goodies –and while this is wonderful, most of us agree that we would have been just as thrilled with an email, call, or text. You don’t have to spend tons of money to let your surrogate know that she is appreciated. Just taking one minute out of your day to send her a little note to say Hi, ask her how she is feeling, that you are thinking of her, or that you can’t wait to be parents can MAKE A SURROGATE’S DAY. One of the things that several mentioned was how giddy they got when their IPs signed emails with X’s and O’s or they notice that the others on the emails are actual family members . . . “they love me, they really love me!”
The same can be true after the birth. Several surrogates mentioned receiving a “push present” –necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and family trips to Disney World, etc. It is marvelous, but again, most of us would be just as excited to have contact after the birth . . . maybe a few phone calls, emails, or texts with pictures the first month after birth would be AMAZING too.
*The picture above is from when George and Sanj sent us on a family trip (Spring Break 2009) after the birth of the girls. We were surprised and grateful. It was nice to have George and Sanj thank my family for their year of being flexible (which you need when your mom or wife is a surrogate) but we would not have loved them any less if they didn’t send us on a trip. We adore them for who they are and the amazing parents they have become and like I said before, I’d be just as happy with an awesome video clip:
Next week we will focus on cool things that surrogates can do for their IPs!
Kelly Rummelhart writes about her experiences as a two-time gestational surrogate for gay couples. She calls herself a “Uterine Activist” and will be the first to tell you that her uterus is an ally. Kelly also writes at Just The Stork.com