A few of the people I’ve told about the surrogacy seem quite concerned about the kids and how it will affect them. They feel like it will be like me having their sibling and then giving her up. They’re concerned that the kids won’t understand that it’s not our baby. That they might fear that I would give them up.
I don’t even know where to start with this, other than to say that it is incredibly hurtful and unnecessary. These comments don’t exactly make me second-guess myself; I’m confident that my kids are fine and will be fine. The idea that I would ever do something like this without seriously considering how it would affect my children is frankly offensive. One of the things I did during my crazy month of trying to figure out what I was going to do about Logan and Natalie’s request was to meet a woman who had quite recently had a baby for another family. I was able to talk with her son, who is just between my kids in age. He seemed totally fine and cheerfully explained that his mama had had a baby for Ms. T and now the baby was with her family.
Also during that decision time, I sought out council from people I trust, and one big question I had was whether it would be bad for my kids. One person who knows Silas and Petra very well said, “I think they are grounded and solid enough in your family and the trust that they have in you and JC that it won’t worry them. And imagine them becoming adults and realizing the magnitude of this act. I think you are teaching them generosity in an incredibly powerful and visceral way.”
Right now, I’m not even showing and now that I’ve stopped having to do daily medications, the kids seem to have forgotten about the pregnancy, in that they don’t talk about it much. That’s fine with me. They will have plenty of time to discuss it. Before, when it was something I was having to deal with much more regularly in ways that affected them (like having frequent ultrasounds, or needing to lay down for a little bit after taking my meds, or having to ask them not to climb all over me because of my bruises from injections), they each had their own ways of processing.
Silas was concerned about how I was feeling, and was incredibly kind and gentle with me. I think he’s a little wistful at the fact that this baby is not ours. He’d like for us to have more babies in our family, maybe. He talks about wanting a big family. But he doesn’t care to play with our friends’ babies much, so I think that’s more of a vague idea than a genuine longing for us to expand our family. Both kids have known for about two years that we are Done With Babies in our family. Still, he asks me things like, “The baby will be a little like a sister and a little like a cousin, right?” (I told him, she’s your cousin. It will be a special and different kind of relationship from the one you have with your other cousins, but she’s not our baby). He also seems to understand a little less than Petra about how the baby was created and how she ended up in my body. I’ve answered his questions clearly and honestly, but I get the feeling he doesn’t really want those answers. He has said a number of times that he’s glad we’re able to help Natalie and Logan have a baby, because he knows they are very sad about not being able to have one on their own.
Petra, on the other hand, does not care for babies much. She doesn’t really understand why Natalie and Logan want a baby. But she thinks the process is pretty fascinating. She understands more about IVF, the basics of genetics, and the broad outlines of human reproduction than most 20-somethings. She’s also playing it out in her own way, understanding the implications of what we’re doing. Last spring, when she was caring for her first clowder of foster kittens, I heard her say, “Now, Brother, we are going to care for these kittens until they are big enough to go to their forever home, the same way that Mama is going to care for Aunt Natalie’s baby until she’s ready for her forever home.” I thought that was so moving, especially since the kitten thing was something I had been so opposed to and I was so mad at Shannon for suggesting it–but it’s helping Petra process this whole crazy thing. Another day, I heard her say, “Let’s play that I’m a cat and Mrs. Rabbit is sick so she can’t have a baby, so the doctor gives me Mr and Mrs Rabbit’s DNA and I’m going to help them grow their baby.” So she gets it.
I offered the kids the chance to be present for the birth. Silas is definitely intrigued and would like to. Petra is a little less sure. I want her to, though, because I credit the births that I attended as a child for making me feel less terrified of the process. She says now that she doesn’t want to have kids, but that could change. “I just think it might be interesting to you,” I said.
“You mean like how it was interesting the day I got to watch you and Miss Lynlee butcher chickens?” she asked.
Beginnings and endings.