Announcing a New Surrogate Sibling to Your Child
Parents warmly welcome surrogate children into all varieties of family structures. When you already have a little one in your house who is about the get a new surrogate sibling, it’s important to embrace new conversations that will naturally arise. Though preparing for this new baby will have a slightly different process—your current child won’t necessarily witness the stages of pregnancy—it will mirror the same level of excitement and understanding as an adoption or a more traditional birth.
Your family dynamic is unique and choosing the manner of speaking with your child about surrogacy depends on their age, your arrangement with the surrogacy mother and your personal preferences. A few tips can help ease the process of understanding to make sure everyone is on the same page for the arrival of their new brother or sister.
All Families are Different
Launching the conversation by focusing on each family’s differences sets a foundation for the normalization of surrogacy. It creates a feeling of comfort and openness not only throughout the preparation process, but also when they eventually welcome the new baby.
At the same time, assure your child that surrogacy is quite common—just as common as adoption or their mother carrying the child. Also explain that this is a very well-organized process that begins with the surrogate mother deciding this is the best step for her.
Depending on the age of your child, you can tell the tale of how their soon-to-be-sibling came to be with the same excitement and level of storytelling as you would their own birth story. Describe how you decided to have a second child, your first meeting with the agency and the first time you met your surrogate mother. Explain that they themselves are part of their sibling’s birth story, as they’ll be there from the very beginning to help make the baby feel at home.
Comfort Speaking About Anatomy and Childbirth
You set the tone of the conversation from the beginning, so it’s important to figure out where your discomforts lie before broaching the subject. Dr. Robin Elise Weiss, Ph.D., explains the importance of honesty and of recognizing discomfort related to these conversations. “Start by reminding yourself this: your discomfort is not your child’s. By and large, children don’t have the same knee-jerk reactions to sex or body parts that adults do. They don’t feel shame or embarrassment unless that shame or embarrassment is directly or indirectly communicated to them.”
Above all, simple honesty will help remove any confusion or worry around the idea of childbirth, surrogacy or not. Depending on the age of your little one, start with the simple details—women carry a baby in their uterus, etc.—and add on depending on the questions your child asks or what you feel is necessary at their age to help them feel heard.
Explaining the Surrogate Process
Modern surrogacy can even be difficult for many adults to understand, but now that you’ve been through the application and matching process, you are more an expert than many. When speaking with your children, especially if they are a bit older, it can be helpful to speak about how the surrogate mother connected with your family. Mention that surrogate mothers make this decision with a great deal of thought and discussion with their doctor. They are generously choosing to support families that are not able to carry children on their own at this time. This, in turn, also normalizes a variety of parenting situations reinforcing that all bodies are different.
If the arrangement allows, plan to have your child meet the surrogate mother and spend some time understanding the process a bit further. The whole situation may seem abstract to a younger child without seeing the pregnancy progress.
Stay Open to Questions at School
If your child feels as comfortable and celebratory about their new surrogate sibling as you do, they will carry this energy into their school day. It can also be helpful to explain the difference between privacy and secrecy before they head into their group of peers. For example, though none of this is a secret—as that denotes something should be hidden—they are also never required to give personal details about themselves or their families if they feel uncomfortable.
Speak with your child’s teacher ahead of time for extra support if a confusing conversation may arise.
Plan Celebratory Events
Create a balanced experience for the new baby and their big brother or sister by planning a few events to build excitement. Though a baby shower isn’t always the tradition for a second child, it could be nice to plan a gender reveal or even a simple gathering to join the family together and add the celebration. Reiterate that there was also a party before and just after they were born and echo the importance of preparing the home for a little one.
Party planning and decorating a nursery keeps the new sibling in the conversation, even without the pregnancy in the home as a daily reminder. This transition can also help your family get on the same page with your close community regarding the openness and comfort regarding surrogacy.
Building Your Family Story
Speaking about this topic with pride and excitement allows your child to further embrace their family story. If art helps them express their feelings, create a family storybook one afternoon. Writing and drawing out this storyline will also help your child connect with the new baby, and eventually support the surrogate’s child understanding of their own story.
Above all else, welcoming a surrogate child into a family is a joyous time. You children will absorb your excitement and add to the home’s happy anticipation as the time comes closer to meet your new family member. Most importantly, speaking to your child about a new surrogate sibling reiterates that families form in many different and beautiful ways. Just as we help one another throughout the community, a surrogate mother steps in to help the new sibling arrive. By weaving these messages of love and generosity into the storyline, you can put both your child and yourself and greater ease about your growing family.
Your surrogacy agency can also guide any questions that arise throughout this transitional time. If you’re newly considering the surrogacy route, begin the conversation with a Simple Surrogacy consultant by calling toll-free at 1-866-41-SURRO.Go back
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