Good question. Why WOULD someone want to be pregnant and give birth to a baby that wasn’t their’s? A baby that would never come home with them? Why would someone go through all the discomfort and downright pain of pregnancy and childbirth?
I can’t speak for anyone but myself, so I’ll tell you why I’ve chosen to do this.
Being a gestational carrier is something that I’ve considered since I was pregnant with Ellie. I actually told a friend of mine that if he and his someday partner ever wanted biological children, I would be a surrogate for him. I changed my mind for a bit after Ellie was born. Her birth was pretty violent and traumatic for me (read about it here), and I had a really difficult time developing an attachment to her (but don’t worry! We’re very attached now. Although she’s totally a daddy’s girl).
When I became pregnant again, I started wondering about surrogacy again. We hadn’t planned on getting pregnant again so quickly. We were also fairly certain that we only wanted two kids. Was I really sure that I was going to be done bearing babies before I was 30?
Charlotte’s home birth was so healing. Yes, labor sucked. Contractions are absolutely no fun. But unmedicated birth was incredible. Nursing my baby within an hour after birth was awesome. From birth, I have felt such a strong connection to Charlotte (she is hard core a mama’s girl). Now I felt conflicted – I didn’t want more children of my own, but I wasn’t sure that I was done with pregnancy and childbirth, especially since I felt like I really figured out some things about how I give birth (namely that once my water breaks, things move fast).
Enter Whitney. She and I went to seminary together. In addition to having several classes together, we went on our cross cultural immersion to New Mexico and Arizona together. Two and a half weeks in the desert traveling in close quarters really helps people to connect to each other.
Whitney and I were pregnant with our first children around the same time. Her daughter, Selena, came several weeks early, and my daughter came several weeks late. A year and a half later, we were both pregnant again. Where mine ended in the joyful birth of a child, hers ended in horrifying tragedy. We didn’t speak much in the months following, but I followed along with her story, weeping for her and her family along the way. You can read about her family’s journey here.
A couple of months ago, Whitney posted on Facebook that she and her husband had three viable embryos and were searching for a carrier for their third child! Someone else asked about requirements for the carrier. I asked her how she felt about home birth. She responded that she was open to it. I immediately sent her a message.
The more Whitney and I chatted, the more interested I was in being a carrier. I began researching more and more. I looked up agencies and their requirements. I found blogs written by women who had been gestational carriers and read them from start to finish within a few hours. The more I learned, the more certain I was.
Then, a couple of weeks ago, I learned that a couple in the church where my mom works had their baby pass at home. Being older, it was possible that this could be their only pregnancy. The same day, a friend of mine lost her baby when she miscarried. The baby had been conceived after several rounds of IUI fertilization. She had wanted that baby so much, and she had rejoiced so much in that pregnancy. My heart broke for her and for the couple I did not know.
That day cemented in my heart that I want to be a gestational carrier. I feel like I have a gift – I seem to be hyper fertile. I’m good at carrying and bearing babies. I also enjoy many aspects of pregnancy (there is nothing like feeling life move inside of you). Since I have this gift, I want to share it with others.
I want to help grow families.