Gestational surrogacy is a complex and emotionally challenging process that varies greatly for each individual involved. Emotions in surrogacy are influenced by factors such as cultural beliefs, support systems, and hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy. These diverse factors contribute to the range of emotions experienced by both surrogate mothers and intended parents, making the surrogacy journey unique for everyone.
Emotional Aspects of Surrogacy
There is often a wide range of emotions associated with the surrogacy journey. Here are some of the most common feelings that surrogates experience during their journey. Although these emotions are common, this list is not exhaustive by any means.
- Purposefulness: Feeling a strong drive to help others and a sense of purpose and meaning is a common feeling experienced by many surrogates during the process.
- Empowerment: By putting self-care into place and seeking a support system, surrogates often experience a sense of empowerment during their surrogacy.
- Anxiety: Many surrogates worry about the toll surrogacy could take on their health and the emotional impact of carrying a baby that is not their own. Surrogates often worry about how the process will affect their partner, children, or other loved ones.
- Stress: Experiencing stress is a common emotional reaction during surrogacy. It can be challenging to cope with the demands of pregnancy and the emotional weight of carrying another person’s child.
- Emotional connection: Forming an emotional connection with the IPs often occurs during the surrogacy process. Even though they may not be your family by blood, you develop a unique bond that can exceed expectations and understanding. Typically a surrogate does not form a bond with the baby during pregnancy as she has entered this journey with the knowledge that she is giving the child to its parents at birth.
- Hormone-related issues: Pregnancy involves hormones that influence how a person feels, particularly after delivery. These hormones (i.e., estrogen and progesterone) increase suddenly after birth, resulting in mood swings that may also lead to some postpartum depression. It is always important to talk to family and doctors/counselors if you are experiencing any symptoms.
Navigating Emotions During Surrogacy
Regardless of the specific emotions a surrogate experiences during their journey, it’s crucial to recognize that each feeling is valid and part of the process. Implementing certain coping mechanisms and support tools can be instrumental in helping you navigate the wide range of emotions you may encounter.
Take the time to educate yourself about the surrogacy process, including learning about the medical aspects of being a surrogate. Anxiety and stress can be reduced by knowing exactly what to expect.
Prioritizing self-care practices, such as yoga, meditation, mindfulness, a regular workout routine, and getting enough sleep, can help reduce stress and assist you in managing your emotions. Self-care also includes implementing ways to relax and unwind, such as pursuing hobbies, reading, or other enjoyable activities.
Establishing clear, honest communication with IPs, mentors, family members, supportive agencies, and professionals can help stave off unrealistic expectations and avoid unnecessary conflict between parties. Open communication includes working with the IPs on a birth plan to identify what each person expects when it comes to bonding after birth, visits, future involvement, and more.
Support and Empowerment
Surrogates can benefit significantly from connecting with others who share their experience and seeking support from reputable surrogacy agencies that prioritize emotional well-being. Support can come from various sources, such as surrogacy support groups, professional counselors, or therapists specializing in surrogacy-related issues. It’s essential to work with agencies that prioritize mental and emotional health, such as Reproductive Possibilities.
Discussing fears and anxieties with a therapist or counselor specializing in surrogacy-related issues provides a safe space to process emotions. Celebrating important milestones, such as positive pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, and the baby’s birth, with intended parents can help surrogates stay focused on the positive reasons that led them to become a surrogate in the first place.
It is important to remember that surrogacy is a highly personal and emotional experience. From joy and excitement to fear and anxiety, it’s normal to experience a wide range of emotions. Prioritizing your emotional and mental well-being can help ensure a positive surrogacy experience. Learn more about surrogacy and what Reproductive Possibilities can offer by contacting us today.