Navigating Questions About Surrogacy During the Holidays

Immediate family and those you’re closest to likely already know about your surrogacy journey and have asked their questions – but what about extended family around the holidays? The holidays are already a stressful time with travel plans, gifting, and parties, but adding the element of being pregnant without really being pregnant can make for an awkward situation.

In preparation for the holidays, ask the people close to you who also know the details of your surrogacy journey to maintain boundaries throughout the season. For example, if your mom is known to tell the whole truth all the time, let her know what you are comfortable having extended family know and what you are not comfortable with.

When addressing awkward questions about your surrogacy journey and new child, keep these things in mind.

 

They May Be Doing Research

It’s pressing and awkward when someone has pressing questions about a process that is stressful and personal like surrogacy and having children. When someone is probing you on your surrogacy journey, keep in mind that they may have any number of reasons to be asking you these things.

There’s a significant chance that the question asker is struggling to have a child themselves, and is looking for a first-party source on surrogacy. When you were researching your journey there was a lot of ambiguity, and they are likely experiencing the same thing. See yourself as a source of knowledge, rather than them pressing into your personal life.

Likewise, many people know nothing about surrogacy and want to know more before forming an opinion. This is the perfect opportunity to debunk myths around surrogacy that pop up everywhere. Take this opportunity to educate and help, while providing as few too-personal details as possible.

Not every question is trying to press into your personal life, so keep this in mind when someone corners you to ask about your baby.

 

You Can Always Disengage

Whether you are at a family, company, or private party, you can always disengage from a conversation about your surrogacy. Some people feel entitled to information that is very personal to you because you are having a child in a different way than they are used to. While this is a great opportunity to spread awareness and get to the root of myths, you should never do that at cost to your mental health.

If someone asks too personal of a question follow this series of steps:

  1. Set Boundaries: When they ask you a question that you find offensive or intrusive, tell them that you would prefer not to answer it, as it’s too personal. This gives them the opportunity to change their line of questioning and respect your privacy.
  2. Warn: If someone then oversteps your boundary or responds negatively to it, remind them of where you draw the line, and that what they’re asking is too personal. This serves as a warning, in case they did not think your boundary was serious.
  3. Disengage: If they continue their line of questioning that makes you uncomfortable, leave the conversation. Politely excuse yourself or inform them that you don’t want to disclose that information, and physically leave. You don’t have to leave the full event that you are at, but can if you want to.

There is no reason to put your personal business in front of anyone if you don’t want to. People that care about you will respect your boundaries.

 

This is an Exciting Time!

Regardless of pressing questions or misconceptions, you may encounter during the holiday season, this is an extraordinary time for you. If you’re uncomfortable with questions about the process, instead turn your conversation partner’s attention to the future. Discuss the name, gender, nursery layout, and more with them.

By keeping your partner’s focus on the child’s life instead of the pregnancy, it can help change the conversation to a much more comfortable subject.

 

They May Have Misconceptions

Due to poor media portrayal and the media’s perception of surrogacy right now, anyone could have major misconceptions about the surrogacy process, your surrogate, and you. If a personal question gets asked, turn it into a general that debunks the myth they’re trying to promote through your experience.

For example, if someone tells you, “Surrogacy takes advantage of poor women”, don’t tell them about your personal experience with a surrogate. Instead, tell them that US agencies require their surrogates to be on no government assistance and be financially stable to qualify to carry a child, and that you had your own attorney looking out for your interests. 

By generalizing with the truth about the industry you deflect the attention from your personal journey, but also debunk the myths that have been publicized.

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