Surrogate mothering is a powerful experience, filled with many ups and downs. Those who choose to become surrogate mothers have likely given the entire experience some significant thought. There is no doubt that surrogacy is a lively and altruistic action. Still, there are potential emotional challenges that a surrogate mother may have to face, especially concerning how to explain the process to their children.
The following tips will guide you on how to explain surrogacy to your child:
Start With a General Discussion
Many experts state that even though small children have a hard time grasping the complexity of a situation, they still like to feel involved in the family’s decision-making aspects. Therefore, when you’re starting on your surrogacy journey, this is when you need to discuss the idea of surrogacy. Start by discussing what surrogacy is and what it means for the intended parents who benefit from this journey. Avoid explaining your reasons for pursuing this path. Please encourage your child to ask questions and voice their opinions.
Use Age-Appropriate Terms to Provide Explanations
Using age-appropriate terminology is the foundation of helping your children understand. The way you broach this subject will depend upon the child’s personality and age. Some children get frightened more quickly than others, and some are very sensitive. Let your child’s personality be your guide in how you explain types of surrogacy.
Many surrogates prefer to explain this subject using the ‘babysitter’ as an analogy. You can explain that as a surrogate mother, you are only babysitting the baby in your tummy until he or she is strong and healthy to go to their birth parents. This helps your child understand that the baby will not live with you after its birth, nor is it their sibling. Older children have a grasp on empathy and the benefit of helping, so you can approach the topic as a family helping another family.
Once you’ve thoroughly covered the subject, encourage an open discussion with your children. Prompt them to ask questions and raise concerns. Please keep checking in with your child throughout your pregnancy so that you know how they are feeling.
Be Prepared for a Wide Range of Emotions
A child can experience and exhibit a wide range of emotions with your decision, from anger, jealousy, and sadness to happiness, and may even be apathetic. Know that these are normal and healthy. Please encourage your child to voice his emotions freely. This helps them work through the entire surrogacy process and come to an understanding of their own. For example, your child (especially if he or she is an only child) may become visibly upset to learn that the baby will not be staying with them after the birth. You need to convey that an eagerly-waiting set of parents will take this baby home, shower love, and take care of it. After birth, It is essential never to downplay or invalidate your child’s emotions.
To become a surrogate may seem like a complicated task and to explain it to your children. Still, by starting with a general discussion, keeping it age-appropriate, and addressing their emotions, you will help your child understand this complex yet beautiful journey.
For more tips on how you can discuss surrogacy with your children, contact Rite Options.