Bringing Home SurroBaby—How to Support Your Friends Who Just Became Parents Through Surrogacy
It’s always exciting when your friends are having a new baby—whether through surrogacy or otherwise. Babies are cute, and new parents are excited to meet their little ones. In fact, surrobaby’s birth is our favorite part of the process here at New England Surrogacy!
If your friends are going to be parents through gestational surrogacy, don’t let it get awkward. Know what to say and, more importantly, what not to say. Here are some tips to support your friends as they become parents this less conventional way.
Tip 1: Don’t call the surrogate “the mother.” Or “the real mother.” Or “the birth mother.” You get the idea, right? She’s not the “mother” so don’t refer to her that way. Good words to use are “the surrogate,” “your gestational carrier,” or just simply her first name if you know it.
Tip 2: It’s common for gestational surrogacies to also involve donated eggs. But don’t call the egg donor “the biological mother” or whatever else that implies she’s the mom. Because she’s not. Good terms for the donor are “the egg donor,” “the genetic contributor,” or her actual first name.
Also, the “don’t ask” rule applies here. This can be a sore spot for some parents. If your friends want to share the baby’s genetic origins with you, they will bring it up. No need for you to ask. Along the same vein, don’t make comments such as “he has your eyelashes” unless you are 100% absolutely positively certain that there was no donor involved. Try the more generic, “he has such great eyelashes” instead to avoid inadvertently hurting your friend’s feelings.
Tip 3: Educate yourself about gestational surrogacy so you can ask thoughtful questions about the process. Like, “How long did it take for you guys to match with your surrogate?” or “Did you have problems finding an OB who was supportive?” or “Were you satisfied with your IVF clinic?”
But definitely don’t ask questions like, “How much did you pay for the baby?” or “Why didn’t you just adopt?” No one is “paying for” a baby. And it’s none of your business how much the process cost. Plus, there’s no “just” about adoption. (Scary Mommy agrees with this sentiment).
Tip 4: What about the baby shower? Feel free to throw your friend a baby shower. It’s probably something she’s been waiting a very long time for. And if it’s her first baby, she will need baby stuff even if she’s not pregnant herself. Don’t forget to ask her whether or not she prefers to invite the surrogate before sending out the invites. If the surrogate lives far away, and your friend wants her to participate, think about videoconferencing her in. But remember—the focus of the shower is the new mom, not the surrogate.
Tip 5: Understand that your friends have certainly put a lot of thought into choosing the method they will rely upon to feed their new baby. And recognize that they may have preferred a different feeding method that wasn’t an option for them. Perhaps the mom wanted to breastfeed but can’t because she is taking medications that are not safe for breastfeeding. Or perhaps the new dads wanted their surrogate to pump, but she chose not to. Be a good friend and offer your support for whatever method the parents are using to feed surrobaby. And offer to wash a few bottles while you’re at it!
Tip 6: Understand that becoming a mother through surrogacy presents some unique emotional challenges. As happy as she may be for her new baby, the mom will still have emotional scars from not being able to carry the pregnancy herself. Let her grieve and heal. Be a shoulder for her to cry on if she needs it. Don’t joke about how lucky she is to avoid pregnancy, labor, and stretch marks. Because I guarantee she would take all that and more over having to rely upon surrogacy.
Tip 7: Don’t joke about offering to be your friend’s surrogate for the next baby. If you are serious about wanting to help out this way, that’s awesome! Let the new parents get settled in with their new baby, and then find the right time to bring up this (very generous) offer. If you want to become a surrogate, we can also help you match with the right set of intended parents. Please head over to our surrogate intake form to learn more about New England Surrogacy’s process.