Certain topics of conversation, such as finances, politics, and religion, are well-known by most as topics that you should avoid bringing up in social situations. One topic that isn’t normally included on that list, but should be, is family planning. On the surface, it seems reasonable that friends and family would want to talk about each other’s lives, including any plans to have children. However, for intended parents who are building their families through surrogacy, this topic of conversation can be extremely sensitive.
Over the past decade or so, surrogacy has become increasingly popular and accessible as surrogacy laws across the country evolve in a positive direction. Plus, thanks to high-profile individuals such as Gabrielle Union and Tan France being very open about their surrogacy journeys, surrogacy is more visible than ever before. The result is that people everywhere are becoming more educated about how the surrogacy process really works and inspired by how beneficial it can be.
This is all very encouraging, but it doesn’t mean that everyone is in the loop just yet. If you’re planning on pursuing a path to parenthood via surrogacy, or are currently in the middle of your journey, you will likely come across a number of friends and relatives who won’t immediately understand what surrogacy is all about. Sometimes this lack of understanding leads to touchy questions and comments.
The idea of dealing with these conversations can feel daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. With a few simple tips, you help yourself anticipate these discussions and mentally prepare yourself for how to handle them.
Plan Your Surrogacy Narrative Ahead of Time
First and foremost, organize your thoughts on how you want to communicate about your surrogacy journey. If you have a partner, make sure you both are on the same page. What information do you want to share, and with whom? What will you keep to yourselves in the short and long term? You’ll want to be consistent because whatever information you provide is likely to be shared amongst the people in your life.
You’ll also want to find reputable resources you trust as reference points. These will not only be useful in keeping yourself educated, but they’ll come in handy when you encounter others with questions you may not feel prepared, comfortable, or ready to answer. Have a line or two ready for when you feel a question or comment is too personal or you simply don’t wish to respond such as:
- “Thank you, but we’re still working through the decision process. I don’t have much to say.”
- “I’ll have to get back to you another time, I’d rather not get too far into that today.”
Finally, establish a close circle of support early on – and don’t be shy about leaning on it when you need to. Whether you’re having a particularly stressful day, need to make a tough decision, or simply need a sympathetic ear, being able to quickly connect with someone who’s already up to speed on your journey can be an emotional lifesaver.
Understand the Challenges You May Face When Explaining Surrogacy to Others
Most people have good intentions when they make comments or ask questions about surrogacy, yet so many of those inquiries sting nonetheless. Typically it’s not because the person speaking is malicious, they’re just unfamiliar with what surrogacy is and how it works. Realizing this can be immensely helpful in how you process these comments and questions when they come up.
It can also be helpful to realize that you might feel frustrated by always having to explain to others how surrogacy works, or why it’s the best choice for your family. Knowing the potential emotional challenges that you may face can often help you grapple with the situation when the time comes. Take heart, knowing this is all part of the story of your growing family. One day you’ll be able to smile about it.
Celebrate Your Surrogacy Journey With Those Who Are Ready
The journey of gestational surrogacy asks plenty of time, energy, and potential stress from everyone involved. That’s why it’s essential to celebrate whenever you can. After all, this is truly an exciting time! Be optimistic and trust that those who love you will be happy for you and want you to be happy. Even if they don’t understand surrogacy all that well now, they will soon.
Also, be sure to give others the benefit of the doubt. After all, one of the most common misconceptions about gestational surrogacy is simply how it works. The path toward support becomes more clear once a foundational understanding is in place – and that can take time. It can also be helpful to connect with other families also working with a gestational surrogate. Support groups can be in-person or online, and your surrogacy agency can also assist with connecting you with local support.
Learn More About Surrogacy
If you have questions about the surrogacy process, the experts at Reproductive Possibilities are here for you. Call us at (201) 505-0078, fill out our Contact Form, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.