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How Intended Parents Can Best Support Their Surrogates

February 24th, 2020
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The journey of surrogacy is long and unpredictable. We all know that even the “easiest” of pregnancies are accompanied by physical, emotional and logistical challenges. That's why you want your surrogate to receive support throughout the process to ensure that her stress is minimized; she continues to feel strong and capable; and she can effectively focus on the important work of growing your healthy baby. Whether you live across the street or across the sea from your surrogate, you can provide invaluable support as she navigates pregnancy for you. Consider these ways to becoming a key part of your surrogate’s support system.

The Value of Trust and Involvement

One of the best ways for intended parents to communicate consistent support to their surrogate is by demonstrating trust. This allows your surrogate to feel more engaged in a supportive partnership with you. You trust her to make her own healthy lifestyle decisions; you trust her to follow the agreed-upon terms of your legal contract; and you trust her to provide stellar care for the developing baby. This trust helps your surrogate to feel more comfortable and confident in her role.

If you are already engaged in a match and you’re just not sure about how much involvement is helpful, ask your surrogate for feedback. If this isn’t comfortable or if you’re having difficulty developing trust, your ConceiveAbilities Match Manager can help. Since he/she has close contact with your surrogate too, your Match Manager may also have some valuable insight for you.

Emotional Support

You are absolutely not expected to be your surrogate’s therapist. But providing some basic moral support throughout the journey goes a long way.

  • Listen and express empathy
  • Share your own story, along with tips or suggestions on how best to overcome any obstacles, anxieties or physical woes
  • Provide words of encouragement, reassurance, praise and appreciation verbally or via email, text or in a handwritten card
  • Be respectful of your surrogate’s time and efforts
  • Check in regularly, simply to let your surrogate know that you’re thinking of her

However, if providing emotional support starts to feel burdensome at any time, always let your Match Manager know. He/she can explore how the agency can better help shoulder that burden, while also ensuring that your surrogate gets the support she needs.

Physical Support

Some surrogates need more physical support than others, depending on the other demands they have in their lives or on how the pregnancy progresses. If your surrogate is then also placed on restricted activity or bed rest, or is simply limited by the physical demands that later pregnancy places on her, she may benefit from some additional physical support.

  • Help your surrogate manage routine tasks or bring her food while you are in town for an appointment
  • Meal and/or grocery delivery
  • Housekeeping or child care assistance
  • Chiropractic or massage services, to alleviate discomfort and increase mobility

If you’re not sure what might be most helpful to your surrogate, ask her what she needs. You can also ask your Match Manager what physical support may already be available to your surrogate per the terms of your legal contract.

Presence

Intended parents’ presence, whether physical or virtual, often means a lot to surrogates. If you’re not local to the area, try to travel to your surrogate’s state once or twice prior to the delivery. This communicates interest in the pregnancy, in your surrogate and in your ongoing relationship.

You may also want to plan your visit to coincide with a milestone appointment (like embryo transfer, the 20-week anatomy ultrasound, or a growth ultrasound later in the pregnancy), or you can visit at a time when your surrogate may particularly find your presence to be helpful.

  • Join OB and ultrasound appointments via phone or FaceTime
  • Make an effort to respond promptly to emails, texts and voicemails from your surrogate
  • Check in with your surrogate after appointments, either requesting updates or acknowledging the updates she has already shared

Random Acts of Kindness

Small gestures of kindness and gratitude from intended parents are always impactful. Any sweet, authentic gesture that comes from the heart will let your surrogate know that you are supporting her from behind the scenes.

  • Send a flower arrangement
  • Deliver a plate of freshly-baked cookies to her home
  • Express heartfelt sentiments (spoken or written)
  • Offer to babysit her toddler
  • Pay her compliments or votes of confidence
  • Send a basket of helpful items to get her through periods of doctor-ordered bed rest (ie., healthy snacks, fuzzy socks, a warm blanket, a book or DVD, etc)

The Bottom Line

No one can control how easy or difficult your surrogate’s pregnancy will be, unfortunately. However, her ability to stay strong, positive and healthy will be strengthened as she receives support and kindness from her loved ones, peers, ConceiveAbilities and her intended parents. A supported surrogate is a happy surrogate!

By Lori Jureko

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