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The journey so far – Part 2 – Meet the Families!

Previously, I posted about the very beginnings of this journey – when Whitney and I first connected. We had ended our video chat by planning a time for our families to get together to meet and chat. Since we live about an hour and a half apart, we planned to meet up at a Starbucks in between us.

Over the next couple of weeks, I started talking to others about what was going on. My parents were a little surprised, but not too terribly. My mom remembered that I had mentioned being interested in surrogacy before. She expressed some concern about potentially developing postpartum depression again, which I’ve struggled with since Charlotte’s birth. She was concerned that it may be more difficult to deal with, since I wouldn’t actually have the reward of a pregnancy and labor – the baby. (I’ll discuss mental health and what I plan to do to help myself in a future post.)

My brother took a different view on the matter. He is very logically minded and has an interest in family law. He was more concerned that I protect myself because a gestational carrier essentially becomes an employee of sorts for intended parents, and the intended parents can control a lot of aspects of a carrier’s life via the contract that is drawn up, including what the carrier eats or the carrier’s activities. And maybe that’s true in some cases, but I’m not sure that I would ever be willing to carry a baby for a family that wanted to control my life that much. It is important for a carrier to have legal representation when contracts are drawn up so that each party has their interests represented.

Meanwhile, Jesse and I were discussing the idea a bit more. He was getting used to the idea. Like me, he feels that our own family is complete with our two kids. By the time we were driving up to meet Whitney and family, he was seeming to be more comfortable with the idea, although he did have a few questions.

We met up with Whitney, Rob, and Selena a few weeks after our initial conversation. It was slightly awkward at first; how do you start interactions when you are dealing with such a big thing? So we eased into it by getting more acquainted; how Whitney and I knew each other, what everyone did for a living, talking about our kiddos, etc. The kids were especially funny; Ellie and Selena were pretty shy with one another at first, but by the time we were all ready to leave, they were chasing each other around Starbucks and having a wonderful time together. I really hope they can become friends!

The conversation turned to the reason we were all there, and Jesse had a chance to get answers directly from them instead of just through me. We discussed money; Jesse was very adamant that we shouldn’t have to be out anything since we’re basically doing this as a favor/gift for them, and they assured him that would be the case (and will be part of our contract). We talked about how this would be a pregnancy by IVF, and so I would not be biologically related to the child at all. We also discussed homebirth a bit more, as Rob was a bit skeptical (as he should be). However, they have been burned by the medical method of OBGYNs as a result of what happened with their second daughter, Persephone (you can read about it on their GoFundMe), which makes them a bit more inclined to learn more about home birthing.

They explained the process a bit more to Jesse, which helped him to get a better idea (I’m not always the best at explaining things). It also became clear that they weren’t anticipating me being pregnant within the next month, which, I think, was a relief for him. They also told us that they hoped the birth family would remain like aunt/uncle/cousins or godfamily to their child, so that we would maintain connection but it would be very clear that we are not the child’s parents.

We were there for probably a couple of hours, just getting to know one another and talking about all of our questions around this journey. We were able to tell them more about our story and passion for home birth. We also heard the full story about baby Persephone. Our girls started to bond. We ended our time together feeling really good, and I knew that I wanted to move forward with the process. Whitney said she’d get in touch with her fertility clinic and let me know what needed to happen next.

Things were starting to look more real!

Stay tuned for my next post, where I’ll talk about my initial trip to the fertility clinic and our meeting with a fertility counselor.

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