How do we define ourselves? Is it what we do, the mistakes we have made, who we are, or what we have to offer? For me, it is what I can leave behind. I’ve lost count of the many accolades of praise I have received from others for my selfless giving. Humbling definitely! I find it quite amusing when the looks of awe turn stunned and dumbfounded when they hear that I have been a surrogate three times and given birth to nine babies.
My first journey was such an eye-opening experience. I giggled at the questions received from others, but they had no idea that they were questions I was still trying to learn the answer to myself. How can a black girl give birth to a white, blonde-hair, blue-eyed baby in Mississippi of all places? My initial reason for becoming a surrogate was that it seemed like a very cool thing to do. Did I consider the attachment or bond that I might have with the baby or the parents for that matter? How would my four children really respond to me being pregnant and the baby not coming home with us? Would others see this a selfless act of a blessing or a world of technology playing God?
After the long-awaited months of planning, prepping, hormones, and transfer, the day of the pregnancy test eventually came. I was so excited to be carrying the future and hopes of a well deserving family. I had helped to make a new generation. What I did and who I was that day mattered, not just to me, but to so many people I didn’t even know.
I wasn’t pregnant? Keturah wasn’t pregnant? I have had five children, heck I was pregnant for eight consecutive years. How could this be? What did I do wrong how could I have let my couple down, what did they think of me, now? I had one job. One job and I blew it! What an overwhelming feeling of disappointment. Finally, I had a glimpse of what infertility meant.
Grateful. I am so grateful the story doesn’t end there. My second transfer was successful. But the realization of pregnancy soon became a harsh reality. Morning sickness, tiredness, the frustration, every reason I got my tubes cut and burnt so that I didn’t have any more children made me second guess what in god’s name made me think this was cool and a good idea!
It’s a girl, a perfect baby girl. The look, oh that look. I don’t think I will ever forget that look! Her parents looking at me thanking me repeatedly while looking at her. Crying tears of overwhelming joy as they looked at their future, their hopes and dreams come true. In that moment, that very moment of fulfillment, laying there on that delivery bed, I knew I had to do this again.
Family; something words can’t define. Who knew my next journey would give me an even bigger sense of belonging? To this day I am still blown away by the relationship that we have. I went in to each journey knowing that my children and I were surrogates; stand-in families. That these babies were not ours and that we may never hear from, or see them again and we were completely ok with that. Of course, the curiosity of who these children become, what they look like, and how they are will always be there, but we knew our reasons and keeping the babies was never in the plan.
Twins! A dream comes true. Eight pregnancies later and I finally get a chance to carry twins. If you thought the parents were excited, you should have seen my kids and me! This pregnancy taught me so much more about myself and my family. My children were a lot more open-minded to newer things than I imagined. My first two surrogacies were heterosexual couples with no children, so I assumed my last would be as well. My children’s response to helping a gay couple who already had a child was, “Momma why not, you should try something new”. I love them so much!
After the birth of the twins, I felt an emptiness. Was I missing the babies? After my births, and the death of my own son, did being a surrogate finally bother me? I couldn’t figure out why I was sad this time and in a bit of a funk. Then it hit me, this was it! My surrogacy journey had come to an end. I was no longer able to help another person become a parent and now it felt like I was losing a part of who I was. But then I realized that wasn’t the case, the story didn’t end, it was just the end of that particular chapter. My actions brought forth new life not just to my three families but five additional families through friends, and who knows how many more from my story. To think all this time everyone thought I was helping those intended parents; the truth of the matter is all this time the intended parents were helping me!