The 1st time I carried, my kids were only 8 and 9. I did not tell them I was pregnant until I was further along- I believe 12 weeks. This decision was not made lightly, and I am glad I chose to wait as things were a little rocky with that pregnancy early on. After the loss of the baby from the 1st cycle, a donor-failed 2nd cycle, and constant bleeding the the 3rd cycle (pregnancy) for the first 10 weeks (ultimately the twins), I felt it better to wait until we were somewhat ‘in the clear’ before involving them, so I waited…
Prior to telling them on the day I did, I told their dad (who I am divorced from, but have a solid relationship with), as I knew I would need his support and assistance with their undoubted questions in the coming months. He, of course, had questions of his own- much like so many others I get. After he left, I sat the kids down and read a children’s book about being a Gestational Carrier with them- The Kangaroo Pouch by Sarah Phillips Pellett- appropriately with a kangaroo as the GC.
They had some questions- kids are so intuitive– but at that age they often take things at face value, at least initially. At this time, I also told the kids that the babies we were growing were going to have 2 dads, but that I still wasn’t going to be their mom. This opened great dialogue about how all families look different, and that family is who you choose to love. At this point, I did not share the pregnancy publicly, so it was crucial my kids understood that for a bit, we were going to keep it private. I knew I was charging my young kids with a big responsibility: Go forth and be prepared to answer questions about, and advocate topics not widely understood…But if anyone was up for the challenge, it was Lillian (14) & Julian (12).
Over the next few months, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the kids answer questions from family, friends, teachers, and peers. They both put their own unique spin on our journey, and borrowing a handful of cringy moments (I had to stop myself from jumping in), they were the perfect ambassadors. So how would they describe the experience? Rather than putting words in their mouths, let’s ask them…
Do you remember what your initial thoughts were when I told you I was carrying a baby for someone else the first time?
L: I don’t remember much because I was very young, but I did- and still do- find it amazing. I was definitely excited!
J: When I first heard, I was a little excited, but a little confused at the same time. I knew we were helping someone, but I guess I didn’t really know why.
What were your thoughts on the twins having two dads?
L: I didn’t really have thoughts on it. To me they were just two nice men wanting to raise a child. The sexuality doesn’t matter.
J: I hadn’t really been introduced to that idea, so I thought it was a little strange, but was still open to the idea.
What did you think your friends/teachers/peers would think?
L: I thought that everyone would find it just as cool and amazing as I did.
J: I thought they would have around my same thoughts.
What DID they think? Do you remember any specific conversations that stood out?
L: As I suspected, my friends found the whole thing to be super cool once they knew what it was. They didn’t know at first and I got to explain it to them.
J: They thought it was cool, and they understood why, like I thought they would.
How did you feel during the first pregnancy? Did you feel like there were things I/you/we missed out on because I was pregnant?
L: Absolutely NOT! We still went out to eat, went to the movies, played with the dogs. There wasn’t a very noticeable difference; we still had family time.
J: We were limited on vacation areas, and pushing in the pool, but it felt like you made plenty of time for us.
What did you think of being at the 3-D ultrasound and seeing the twins when they were born?
L: It was one of the coolest things I had ever seen. Seeing the babies was such a surreal experience and I loved every second of it!
J: It was interesting to see because I hadn’t seen anything like it before.
Are you happy you got to see the boys when they were 6 months old?
L: Yes, it was really amazing because they were like family to me. They are part of the family.
J: Yes, because I got to see them when they were born, and how much they had grown in 6 months. Also checking on them was nice.
What were your thoughts when I asked you about me carrying again?
L: I was excited. I fully support this decision and I’m excited to watch our family grow with this baby, just like with the twins.
J: I was excited, and was more open to it than ever.
How is this time different?
L: This time I am in show choir. With my schedule, along with Julian’s, being so full, the experience is a tad different. Not worse, by any means, but definitely different.
J: This time we already know what to expect, so everything is less of a surprise.
What would you say to a family considering carrying for another?
L: Go for it!! Take a leap of faith, have an adventure; you won’t regret it! Plus, you’ll be growing a family and you’ll make someone very happy!
J: I would tell them it is very cool, and people should definitely give it a go!
So there you have it; our GC journey in the words of my own kids. Stay tuned while our family grows another…