In 2009, I learned that there was no realistic way my best friend would ever be able to become a father -- his greatest desire in life. I decided then that I would offer to be a surrogate for him (which didn’t sound realistic at the time). A year later, I made that offer. He accepted, and in Nov. 2011 I got pregnant.

I’m writing this blog because I’m not the typical surrogate. For one, in the terms of the trade, I’m an altruistic traditional surrogate (I’m unpaid and the egg is mine) with a totally open arrangement with the dads. Most importantly, though, this is my first pregnancy (NO ONE thinks this is a good idea; most surrogates already have their own kids).

Also, we’re all gay, so this is going to be the gayest baby ever.*

- The Deputy

*Except for the children of those many, many other sets of three or more gays who decided to combine their powers to procreate...

February 29, 2012

Shit people say when I tell them I'm a surrogate

The title of this post, borrowed from the popular internet meme, is misleading. The shit people say when I tell them I'm a surrogate isn't interesting - it's almost always something like, "What a wonderful thing you're doing!" "Wow! That's really amazing!" or "I can't even imagine! You're so impressive!"

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE being showered in praise. I've had some seriously superlative sentiments expressed to me: that I'm the nicest person the speaker knows, that I have fulfilled my good-deed quota for life, and once even that I could now commit murder and still be a morally superior person. And to this I say, "Thank you. Indeed, I am awesome."

But this is not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about the friend or acquaintance who hears what I'm doing, looks at me and says, "Wow that's so great!" while their eyes tell a completely different story.

And what do I expect them to do?? Nothing else. For many of them it's the first time they've had any encounter with surrogacy, and there's simply no way for them to process their thoughts fast enough to give me an honest reaction.

It's hard to know exactly what is playing out in people's heads while they're giving me that strained smile.  But I have some guesses. I think the most common sentiment is fear that I won't be able to quit motherhood, or that I'll be deeply hurt in the process. A more extreme reaction might be that I am somehow deficient as a woman because I'm flouting the rules of motherhood.

Surrogacy challenges some of our fundamental concepts of motherhood. Motherhood is very different from, say, fatherhood.  Fatherhood happens when a man takes on parenting responsibilities; but motherhood happens, in pregnancy, sort of without the woman having to actively do anything. Motherhood is seen as inalienable, and this mother-bias runs rampant in many parts of life. Poor Winchester runs across at least 10 online "mommy" resources for every "daddy" resource he finds. Mothers are favored in the legal system.  When a father ignores his duties, he's just another dead-beat -- when a mother isn't a good mom, it's a news item that leaves the general public horrified.

This is what I think is going on when people need, at minimum, a few extra minutes to process my pregnancy.  I'm a woman deliberately entering into motherhood only to immediately relinquish that most special and natural of roles.

Well, I wouldn't have gone into this if I wasn't reasonably confident that I'd be able to happily hand the kid over to my friends (something I'll talk about in some other post sometime), but as I haven't done this before, it's all just theory for now. I can tell you this, though, with utmost confidence: if I succeed, I won't see it as threatening my womanhood, but rather as reaffirming my love for, and trust in, my friends.

1 comment:

  1. I love this post. Especially the last line.