Learn how to support surrogate mothers Surrogacy is an exciting life event, but it is often unlike anything they’ve experienced before. At the Center for Surrogate Parenting (CSP), we believe it is important to support surrogate mothers. Family members are a part of the surrogacy from the very beginning. Partners, husbands, wives and children can help the surrogate mother not only with day-to-day household tasks but emotionally as well. Support is key to a successful surrogacy. Supporting the surrogate mother The decision to become a surrogate mother is a selfless and generous one. She will carry a child for nine months, and then place the newborn in the arms of the intended parents. The road through the surrogacy process is a busy one, filled with changes to daily routines. There are doctor appointments, group support meetings, household responsibility shifts and even lifestyle changes. Recognizing the significance of the surrogate mother’s decision to bring a child into the world for someone else is vital. There are a variety of things that can be done during to support surrogate mothers during pregnancy. Be open to conversations about the surrogacy process and the pregnancy. There will be times when she needs someone to listen while she voices her concerns. Take on chores around the house and understand that she may require additional rest during the pregnancy. Observe changes in her comfort and energy levels. Report observations to her physician if you are concerned. Show support during moments when she may be taxed emotionally. Remind her of the positive reasons she chose to become a surrogate mother. Support surrogate mothers – Couples supporting each other Surrogacy adds a great deal of change to a couple’s life, and it can be challenging. When the surrogate’s partner is equally committed to the success of the surrogacy, the couple enjoys a much more rewarding experience. Understand that there will likely be intimacy changes, shifts in responsibilities, possible financial modifications and changes in the types of activities you normally share. Here are ways to support surrogate mothers as a partner. Share significant dates and upcoming appointments. When a surrogate mother’s partner feels involved and is included in decisions, it strengthens the relationship and allows for a more enjoyable experience. Set aside couple time. It’s important to find private time to focus on each other whether it’s a quiet, relaxing evening at home, a special meal, or a weekly catch-up conversation on aspects of your lives that aren’t about the surrogacy. Pregnant mothers are going through a highly emotional time. Recognize that there will be stressful times and be ready to communicate openly about any concerns. Friends, neighbors, co-workers, and even extended family members will likely have questions about her decision to become a surrogate mother. The couple should discuss how they want to deal with intrusive or highly personal questions. The surrogate’s partner can be helpful in uncomfortable situations by deflecting questions that are an invasion of the surrogate mother’s privacy. Ways children can show support Once a surrogate mother’s children understand the significance of what she is doing, they’ll want to be in the process. This is an excellent time for the surrogate mother to spend one-on-one time with her children. It opens a variety of teachable moments about daily household responsibilities, pregnancy, and being selfless. As the surrogate mother’s pregnancy progresses, help children understand the importance of pitching in. Older children can help with younger siblings to give the mother a break. Have them play with and supervise their younger brothers and sisters, so their mother can rest when she’s exhausted. Older children can assist with snack and meal times, fold and put away laundry, and even take care of pets. Younger children can pitch in, too. Not only can they fold towels and gather up clothes for laundry day, but they can also help with tasks and assist with mealtimes. Some children may want to take care of their mother by bringing her a beverage or snack, taking a walk with her or reading to her. Once children hit toddler age, they understand the term “helping” and are eager to assist with a variety of tasks. Let them help pick up their toys, put clothes in a drawer, and bring items to mommy. Intended parents can show support too Every surrogacy is unique, and every surrogate mother has different needs and expectations. CSP works diligently to support the relationships between the intended parents and the surrogate mother. In many cases, we’ve found that the more involved the intended parents are, the more enjoyable the experience is. It establishes a bond of trust that is crucial to the process and its success. Showing support for the surrogate mother is an excellent way to be involved, and it benefits both the surrogate and the intended parents. Intended parents can keep an open dialogue with the surrogate mother to show their support and recognition of what she has agreed to do for them. Phone calls or encouragement and support cards are a great way to keep the lines of communication open. Intended parents can support a surrogate mother by lending an ear when she has concerns or wants to share about the baby she is carrying. Even though the intended parents have the right to information that concerns the welfare of the unborn child, recognize that there is personal information about her family or herself that she does not have to share. Respect the surrogate mother’s privacy and understand the boundaries of the surrogate/intended parent relationship. Carrying a baby for nine months for someone is truly a selfless act. As intended parents, recognize that and treat her out every once in a while. Pamper her with ways to relieve any stress or fatigue associated with childbearing. Treat her out to a dinner. Pay for a day at the spa. Take her to get a manicure or pedicure. Offer to bring her food when she’s having cravings. The Center for Surrogate Parenting is a highly reputable and professional source for surrogacy services. Please contact us for information including legal information, as well as other surrogacy resources.