When It Feels Like Life Is Not Giving You Lemons
Dry, hot air filled the sidewalks as the bright, yellow, burning sun sat high in the sky. The sweltering afternoon heat slowly seeped through the cool courthouse corridors. The blaring AC in the room was our only sense of relief. I was in my early twenties on jury duty when the seed of surrogacy was first planted in my mind. We were on a short break and I sat with a woman who excitedly spoke about her experience as a surrogate mother. She gave birth to twins and maintained a close relationship with the twins’ parents. She described her experience as if it was the greatest gift in life. I left thinking that would never be something for me, but the thought continued to linger. There was something about surrogacy that kept calling me.
I am an only child and always wanted a big family. My husband and I married as high school sweethearts and at the time we had one daughter of our own. I brought up the idea to him and he quickly shut it down. “I think that’s crazy,” he would say, “wouldn’t you be giving your baby away?” A few years later and pregnant with our fourth child, I knew I really wanted to explore the topic again. Spending so much time away from our children because of work, I knew I wanted to be there for my fourth child more, and given I loved being pregnant, thought this would not be such a bad idea after all. I joined a message board called Surrogate Mothers Online and soon after started attending various get togethers and luncheons that the group organized. My husband joined me at some of the events and it wasn’t long before he agreed to support me on this journey.
After giving birth to our fourth child I was matched with a couple in San Francisco. And so the excitement, anticipation and emotions began! At the time, in vitro fertilization (IVF) technology was not as advanced as it is today. The intended mother I was matched with was of an advanced age, but wanted to use her own eggs. Who was I to judge or want otherwise? My main goal was to help a family achieve their dream of having a child. With no prior experience, and not a clue as to what to expect from the hospital, I agreed with no hesitation. This was when surrogacy was still not super well known as it is today.
Bright, sunny room. Floral aroma filling the air. Warm, welcoming, rosy cheeked staff greet you with open arms. Constant smiles and feelings of being on cloud nine because there is a mutual, unspoken understanding that we are embarking on a journey that will forever change our lives. We enter the process and everything goes according to plan. After it has finished, the doctor asks how I’m feeling. “I feel great!” I would respond.
Reality, of course, did not meet my expectations. As we arrived at the hospital it soon dawned on me that the hospital we went to was more so a learning hospital, and given the woman was of advanced age, the embryos were not the greatest quality. The doctor treating me did not have the greatest bedside manners, and I was constantly called at the last minute to come to the hospital because the embryos kept dying. We tried three times, with no success, and the intended parents did not want to go through an egg donation agency. Ultimately, the couple ended up adopting a child and we parted ways.
Waves of doubt and insecurity overcame me. I felt like a failure. Maybe we rushed into this too soon. Maybe my body needed time to heal after giving birth to our fourth child. But why was my body failing me? Should I continue down this path? Will I ever be accepted into a surrogacy agency again? I felt beside myself. The incredible support system I had helped me to regain confidence in myself and realize sometimes these things happen, and we cannot blame ourselves. If we consume our thoughts and our world with blame and doubt, how can we reach our highest potential?
Despite everything that happened during my first experience, I knew my life called me to this purpose of becoming a surrogate mother, and I did not give up. Knowing that surrogacy is far beyond me, I knew I had to give it another try. And I did. I could not give up. Two successful gestational surrogacy experiences later and I can safely say my purpose has been fulfilled. When it felt like life was not giving me lemons, I could not sit there and hope they would come. I knew I had to make lemonade for someone who was unable to do so, so I had to pick myself up and search for the lemons. It is not always an easy journey, and things do not always turn out the way we expect or wish, but had I given up after two failed attempts, I may not have had the opportunity to change someone’s life in the way that I did. If I held on to the idea that I failed and I was incapable, I would not have given another couple the gift of life. The journey is not always perfect, but the rewards are far worth it.Go back
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Becoming a surrogate is a beautiful and selfless thing to do for another couple or individual. You are providing them with the gift of a child to grow their family. Many people, however, will have questions about the process and…Lern more →