Explaining Your Child’s Birth Story To Them

At some point, all children start to wonder where they came from, and how they were born – surrogate children included! As with any birth story, it’s important for your child to know how they were brought into the world. Just like with adoption, it’s best not to lie to them when this subject comes up. Plus, learning about their surrogacy may help strengthen your bond with your child.

 

Prepare to Tell them Before They Ask

Be ready to share before they ask. It’s important to explain the story in a way they will understand – take the time  to figure out how best to share your journey for you and your child. Prepare yourself so when the inevitable question comes up, you will have answers and resources for your child. This will help them understand better.

It also helps to have photos and videos of the pregnancy and surrogacy process, to show your child how it works. Pictures really are worth 1000 words.

Additionally, it may be helpful to have their birth story be a topic of conversation in your house from an early age. Even if they aren’t asking, you can refer to their surrogate or the surrogacy process in passing. This way even if they don’t ask about their story until they’re older, they will know it was not something you kept from them. It also makes asking easier if they are already hearing about it.

Remember, you shouldn’t tell your child to wait until they’re older to learn about their birth story, as this reflects your own discomfort. Your child is ready to learn about how they came into the world when they ask you and it frustrates them to be told they aren’t ready to learn.

 

Be Age-Appropriate

There are a lot of technical terms and processes in the surrogacy journey that adults don’t fully understand, let alone a young child. Most kids start to wonder how they were brought into the world when in elementary school, alongside their peers.

This means your child will have a limited vocabulary and experience to understand surrogacy. Use terms that they can grasp. For example, rather than telling them another person carried them to term, try the term “babysitting”.

It’s also important here to be direct, as there is a lot of room for misunderstanding. Be clear that the surrogate is not their mother or parent, just the person who carried them. Also be clear that they are not related to their surrogate by blood, and that you went through surrogacy because you wanted them in your life.

If you use clear explanations and answer questions as they come, you will make sure to dispel misunderstandings early, and help them explain their birth story to their peers in turn.

 

Use Resources

There are a host of good children’s books about surrogacy that you can use to explain the process. It’s best to start reading these to your child before they ever ask about their own birth story. By reading with them and creating understanding around the subject of surrogacy, you prepare them for this conversation when it comes up.

 

Here is a list of recommended books about surrogacy:

This book doesn’t overcomplicate surrogacy, using koalas as an example, where one koala carries a couple’s baby in her pouch to help them out. This is a great entrance into surrogacy, and provides a visual touchpoint for the child that the baby never belonged to the surrogate

This book uses another animal analogy, this time of a possum. This book shows two possums turning to surrogacy for their second child. Again, it is clear what is happening in this book, and many have said it’s a good discussion tool for younger children.

This book touches on infertility and the scientific process of surrogacy, but also incorporates lots of diversity and cultural themes, to help build a fuller understanding of the surrogacy process.

Coming at the surrogacy subject from a different angle, this book follows a child whose mother is currently a surrogate, and how she watches it happen, knowing she will not have a sibling after. This can be a good resource if your child wants to know more about the surrogate and their family.

 

Let Them Meet Their Surrogate

While your surrogate may still be in your life after the journey, there’s a chance that your child doesn’t know the relation to your family that they have. When they start to ask about their birth, reference this person directly and let them re-meet under this new understanding.

 

In this case, your child can feel comfortable asking the surrogate any questions they have about the process from the surrogate’s perspective, and feel supported by you for understanding their beginnings.

 

Continue to Help Them Learn

As your child gets older, they will understand more and more. Make sure that as their world opens and their understanding gets bigger, you also help them understand the surrogacy process from an updated angle. This way, they can truly grasp what you and the surrogate went through to bring them into the world. This also helps them feel that the way they were born is important.

 

Give Them the Tools To Teach

Your child has a different birth story than others, so naturally, their peers will have questions about why their birth process was different. Children are like sponges, but they may need reminders about specifics. Answer their questions about the process no matter how many times they ask, as their questions will likely be repeated by their peers.

 

Let Them Know They Are Loved

Most importantly, let your children know that they are loved and that you went through surrogacy because of that love for them. Your child should come out of these conversations with a greater understanding of their own life and the love that you have for them.

If you have any questions about introducing your child to surrogacy, reach out here.

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