I made a friend.
We want to make babies.
Our husbands are OK with it.
… is this starting to sound dodgy yet?
She wandered in to my corner of the Internet one afternoon. I think I’ll name her Rachel. She’s not really mine though, I think she belongs to someone else; but the amount of time I spend thinking about my Rachel, talking to my Rachel and wondering if she’s having a happy day makes me feel as though for a few minutes each day, I’m hers, and she’s mine. I’ve been trying to figure out how to best ice a chocolate apology cake for her husband, for mentally thieving his wife away for the last few months. My own husband appears to be talking to the cat a lot more than usual due to an unusually preoccupied wife.
I’ve always been looking for a friend first, and surrogate second. And now I’ve found her! An actual friend. Not just a surrogate who I feel friendly towards, but someone I love just because of who they are, irrespective of the role they play in surrogacy. I always instinctively knew that a friend was who I was looking for; but it’s only now that I’ve found Rachel that I have a chance to reflect on what friendship in surrogacy actually means.
The road to surrogacy is a long one, whether you head down the altruistic surrogacy route or otherwise. Crossing paths with friends along the way has kept me focused on what I want in my heart. I wanted more friends, and if one of those friends happened to turn out to be our surrogate one day, then great! But if not, that’s equally as great, so long as us crossing paths has added a richness to someone’s experience along the way. Because the surrogacy process is so involved and personal, it made sense to surround myself with love, and to surround others with the same. Maybe one day I’d find someone who I wanted to naturally be involved and personal with as a bonus (that sounds way more dodgy on paper than it did in my head! I promise I’m only slightly dodgy).
Finding actual friends in the surrogacy community isn’t always easy. It’s a bit of a hard sell in an environment where the widely accepted goal for someone with the Intended Parent label is to find a surrogate if they haven’t already. Surrogates and Intended Parents are both loaded with expectation based on their label and surrogate “dating” status. As a surrogate-less Intended Parent, sometimes I felt like a seedy used car salesman who honestly just wanted to talk about cars with like-minded people without necessarily wanting to pawn one off. Sure, I sell cars, but can’t we just talk cars anyway?! I promise I’m not trying to sell you one! I promise I’m not trying to get you pregnant! Ahh! I’ve always been way more interested in helping people find their right match or just having someone to relate to, rather than trying to convince people that I’m the surrogacy partner for them.
So, why are friends in the surrogacy community so important?
Without my friends found in surrogacy-land, I wouldn’t have formed such a definite opinion on what I was looking for in a surrogacy relationship. Each person I have met and each surrogacy journey I have followed has shaped how I feel about surrogacy, and how I want my own surrogacy endeavour to look and feel. These friends met along the way also rallied behind me prior to finding a surrogate, encouraging me to stay true to myself and seek the surrogacy I want in my heart of hearts; rather than compromise and change course.
In particular, I was very blessed early on to form a very close friendship with a past surrogate. This friend taught me more about the complexities of surrogacy than any book ever could have. I learned that there is tremendous value to be gained through others’ insight and experience, and I also learned that despite having next to no experience with surrogacy myself, that my friendship was still a very valuable thing to offer to those who sought it.
To search for a surrogate and nothing else would have denied me insight, the friends I’ve made, and my current understanding of the complexities of surrogacy. I also don’t think I would have ever met Rachel, as our paths ultimately crossed through a mutual friend who was never befriended as a prospective surrogate, but befriended because of who they are.
Friends make you feel content that however life turns out, it’ll be ok 🙂 There is a tremendous sense of freedom to be gained by feeling safe and secure in your current state of mind, especially when a major life goal, such a starting or completing a family, is yet to be achieved. Friendship can help to provide a layer of warmth and love that assists this feeling of being content irrespective of where you are on your surrogacy journey. A sense of security calms the mind, and helps it to make sensible, rational decisions, which is exactly what Intended Parents have a responsibility to do.
I’m now happy to say that I’m on board the surrogacy train with a friend who makes me feel as though however this journey turns out, that this is going to be one awesome adventure; so long as we emerge at the end of this particular chapter happy, healthy, and friendly. That right there, is the most freeing feeling ever. That right there, takes all of the anxiety we as Intended Parents carry on our shoulders, and turfs it away. This journey could end in all manner of ways – maybe with a baby, maybe without a single transfer or a single pregnancy, and believe it or not, that’s great. It’s all great! Whatever happens is great, so long as I’ve got my Rach, and she’s got me 🙂
So in many ways, friendship has gained new meaning since becoming involved with the surrogacy community. I’ve found a community where not only do people make me feel like I’m not a lonely freak destined to wander the earth alone like the female equivalent of the incredible hulk looking for another woman to grow a tiny human for me; but I’ve found a community where my freaky combination of medical weirdness and crazy path to parenthood can actually help others to not feel like freaks, too. 🙂
So if you ever find yourself feeling like a lone freak, feel free to wander in to our corner of the Internet. We have cake.