“Would you think I’m totally crazy if I said I absolutely want to do this again?”
Mike shot me a quick sideways glance and then hesitated just a beat too long before saying, “No, not at all.”
We were driving to Sonoma for my last surrogate support group. I was three and a half weeks postpartum, still in maternity clothes, still sore and in a little bit of pain from the delivery, still super hormonal. So I don’t blame Mike for thinking I’m crazy. But it’s the truth: I want to do it again.
This past year has been a crazy roller coaster ride, full of complicated combinations of emotions. There were all of the intense joys and pains of pregnancy, with the added compounding factor of a surrogacy and all it entails. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done, but also one of, if not the most rewarding. For every painful or uncomfortable moment I experienced, I can think of three more joyful, beautiful moments. And every picture I get from the dads chronicling the twins’ first weeks on the outside gives me warm, gooey, happy feelings that make me so proud of the part I played in the creation of this family.
The hardest part by far has been the toll this pregnancy has taken on my relationship with my kids and having to watch Mike take the brunt of the fallout. Experiencing this pregnancy with them and teaching them that families come in all shapes and sizes was amazing, but because this pregnancy was more difficult than my past pregnancies, I found myself unable to parent my kids fully, both physically and emotionally. This was especially difficult on my 2-year-old, Solomon, who entered a very difficult stage a couple months into the surrogacy. In particular, he began throwing tantrums. Not your run-of-the-mill, ignore them and they’ll go away tantrums. Oh, no. These are awe-inspiring, out of control, possessed by demons, all that’s missing is projectile vomit and a spinning head tantrums. They are scary–for me and Mike, for him, and for Ramona (and probably for our neighbors, too). And they’ve continued post delivery, with the added bonus of Solly completely rejecting me. In the throes of a tantrum, if I get anywhere near him, if I even enter the room he is in, he will scream even harder, shrieking at me to “Walk away Mom!” If I go to him when he wakes up crying in the middle of the night, he’ll whimper, “I want Daddy,” and cry pitifully until I relent and send Mike in. It’s completely heartbreaking, and I will often collapse under the crushing guilt of knowing that my partial absence during this pregnancy is somewhat to blame for this rejection.
I have begun the work of rebuilding my relationship with Sol, and although it is obviously going to be a long road, I rejoice every time he comes to me, unprompted, for a cuddle, or when he says to Mike, “No, I want Mommy to do it!” Sometimes I have the urge to take off both our shirts and hold him skin to skin like I would a newborn, reestablishing our bond, but sadly, no almost-three-year-old would stand for that. So I’ll just go day by day, knowing that this too shall pass.
So why do I want to do another surrogacy? It’s a little hard to explain. During this entire process, I felt like I was doing something, like I had a purpose. This may sound crazy to most of you, but maybe I was meant to have a bunch of babies for other people. Every single doctor who had his or her hands up in me (and it was a lot of doctors) told me that with my very high, very long cervix, I am an ideal carrier. I’m done having babies for myself, and it would be a shame to put my high, long cervix on the bench forever, right? So I’ll give myself time to heal, I’ll enjoy being with my family as just me, sans nausea and a giant belly, I’ll give Solly time to grow out of his tantrums, and then after a while I’ll begin to think about my next surrogacy journey, whatever that might look like.
Am I certifiable? Maybe. But deep down, I know this is the right path for me. This is what I can do for couples facing the trials of infertility and for gay couples who long for children of their own. I want to do something to help people, and this is what I do well, so this is what I will do.