Becoming a gestational surrogate affects everyone in your life — especially your children. If you’re worried about talking to children about surrogacy in an age-appropriate way that makes sense, this guide will help.
Fortunately, you’re not the first person to ask this question. Any woman who decides to become a surrogate must currently be raising children in the home. So, you can imagine how often this question comes up. Luckily, that means that there’s plenty of helpful resources available.
Below, we’ve compiled a list of helpful tips. But if you have any questions about explaining your decision to become a surrogate to your kids, you can always reach out to a specialist for more information.
How to Start Talking to Children About Surrogacy
What you will say to explain surrogacy to your child depends on a few different factors. Consider:
- Their age and maturity level
- Where you are at in the surrogacy process
- What your surrogacy process looks like
- And more.
If you have any questions about talking to children about surrogacy, it can be helpful to reach out to your surrogacy specialist for advice.
No matter what your personal situation with your child is like, below are some helpful steps to take when it comes to explaining surrogacy to children of surrogate mothers:
- Start slowly: Surrogacy can be a complicated idea for young children to understand. Try to make it as easy to understand as possible, based on their age and level of understanding. You can start by reading children’s books about surrogacy before you start the process. These books help normalize surrogacy in a way that’s easy for children to contextualize. Ask them what they think about the idea of you becoming like the surrogate in those books one day.
- Be age-appropriate: How much you decide to tell your child will depend on their age. What a 4-year-old is ready to hear will be a lot different than a child who’s already 8 or 9. What’s important is coming up with a surrogate kid-friendly definition that they can easily understand. An older child might be able to handle the basics of the surrogacy process and how it works. For a younger child, you might tell them that you’re going to be “babysitting” the child in your tummy until they’re ready to come out. When talking to children about surrogacy, try to keep the language as simple as possible so you don’t overwhelm them.
- Introduce them to the intended parents: Once you’ve matched with the intended parents, you can start telling children about surrogacy and your relationship with the family in a more concrete way. Talk about what makes them so great, and why you’re excited to help them.
When Alicia began explaining surrogacy to her daughter with a surrogate kid-friendly definition, she was more than excited to get to know the intended family:
“When she met the parents, she was in love,” Alicia said. “She knew that the mother was her best friend from a picture, and she claimed that from the first time she saw the pictures. She said, ‘That’s my best friend!’ and then when they got together, they clicked.”
- Normalize surrogacy and be ready to answer their questions: Talking about surrogacy should be a normal, ongoing conversation in your household. Let your child know that they can always come to you if they have any questions and that you’re always ready to listen. More likely than not, they’ll need some time to think about the information you gave. They might have a lot of questions for you before it really starts to sink in.
- Emphasize your excitement: If you’re feeling happy and excited about becoming a surrogate, your child will feel that energy. Kids pick up on things easily, so they’ll mirror your enthusiasm when talking to children about surrogacy. You should also make sure that you’re doing plenty to reassure your child that while becoming a surrogate amy take some of your time and attention away from them for a temporary time, that doesn’t mean that you love them any less. Remind them that nothing is going to happen to them or the baby and that everything is going to be just fine.
Surrogacy will always be a family affair. Because it can be complex for children to understand, many people wonder about the mental health of children of the surrogate. This decision will affect each one of your personal relationships, including the one with your child.
For example, there are going to be times when you’re less available, like when you must attend your medical appointments. There are a wide range of emotions that you child can experience while you’re busy focusing on your surrogacy journey. They might to start to feel everything from feeling left out when your gone to being excited to at how you’re helping another family.
Alicia’s daughter, like many other 4-year-olds, was curious and excited to learn more about the surrogacy journey:
“With my child during this surrogacy process, I explained it to her as best as I could. She was 4, but she seemed to understand really well,” Alicia said.
One of the best things you can do is be open and honest with your child in a way that’s appropriate for them to understand. Talking to children about surrogacy doesn’t mean you have to include all the fine details. But you can still find other ways to make them feel included during this process.
Involve Your Child in the Surrogacy Process
Once you start talking to your child about becoming a surrogate, it’s only natural that they’ll want to be there with you. Fortunately, there are many ways you can let them join in an appropriate manner. You can let your child pick out a special toy for the baby that they can take to the nursery, let them write letters or draw pictures for the baby or even take pictures to send to the intended parents. Involving your kids as much as possible will allow them to see surrogacy in a positive light.
Telling children about surrogacy involves a lot of steps. If you have any questions, or if you’re looking for more advice, reach out to a specialist to get more information.