Talking to your children about how you used a gestational surrogate
Telling your child that they were born via a gestational surrogate can be a tough conversation to start. No matter how difficult, it shouldn’t be a once in a while (OR “one time”) conversation, this should be a story you tell them over and over again. This is their story and their identity.
Start with the basics and let your child ask the questions that will help them understand. Some families say that when you tell them how they were conceived, the child will just “shrug it off”. Sometimes it’s not really a big thing to them.
The feeling can be daunting for intended parents. The fear of how your child is going to process this information can be a little scary. Anne C. Bernstein, a family psychologist and author of ”Flight of the Stork: What Children Think,” says it could be incredibly destructive to the child to not tell them early on. Remember, your family and some of your close friends will know and you wouldn’t want them to accidentally tell your child before you do. Younger children are more open minded to new things especially things that involve them.
A great idea to start with would be having you the intending parents and your gestational carrier start a journal for your child. Have pictures from the beginning and (even as early as you met each other!) – up to birth. You’ll be able to show them just how important and how much they are loved. You can explain to them that families are made in so many ways and that their family has its own amazing story. The older they get the more in depth you can explain the process. The added bonus to having the conversation early is that the more times you practice saying the words out loud the easier they are to say!
There are many books that you can read with your child that will also help you all as a family:
- The Kangaroo Pouch by Sarah Phillips Pellet
- Why I’m So Special: A Book About Surrogacy with Two Daddies by Carla Lewis-Long
- The Pea That Was Me: An Egg Donation Story by Kimberly Kluger-Bell
- Baby Cake- An Egg Donation Story by Mrs. Jordan DeGusipe
Start with the basics and let your child ask the questions that will help them understand. Some families say that when you tell them how they were conceived, the child will just “shrug it off”. Sometimes it’s not really a big thing to them. For Elizabeth Gaba, who was born via egg donation and a surrogate, said she knew her whole life and loves her family but had always wanted to learn more about where she came from.
Surrogate parents and their children should never be ashamed of their story and shouldn’t be afraid to talk about it, after all, the hardest part was the time before they were born!