Sunday, February 2, 2014
I'm not really sure where to start with this post. Things are going along perfectly with the pregnancy, but I still seem to keep getting caught by surprise by the people around me. I honestly thought physically carrying this baby boy would be the hard bit... not the easy bit!
I was recently involved in a conversation about babies having an emotional memory of either being wanted or not wanted while growing in their mother's bellies. Apparently there is a theory that unborn babies can sense if their mother wants them or not - and that this emotional memory will carry through and influence the rest of their lives. I'm not sure if this is exactly what the conversation I was involved in was about - but this article is similar.
The feedback I was getting was that because this baby isn't mine, he'll know I 'dont want him' and also that because my extended family aren't connecting with him, he'll be wired for life feeling unwanted.
Firstly - I don't know what the point of the conversation was. It was a few days ago now, and I'm still baffled. I think it probably says a bit more about the other person's hangups surrounding surrogacy then about having a 'point' as such.
I fully believe that the emotions a woman feels while carrying a baby can influence the fetus as it develops - even if we look at it just on a chemical level. Cortisol levels increase when you experience stress, oxytocin levels increase when you're happy/feel pleasure. BUT - I think this is removed from 'feeling wanted', especially in a surrogacy situation.
Possibly, if a woman was to fall pregnant accidentally, and really didn't want to be pregnant - then she may experience a stressful pregnancy, and even parent her child differently once the baby was born. This may indeed have a very real impact on the resulting person. This is a stress reaction to a particular situation in which a new life is involved. But doesn't actually have anything to do with surrogacy.
Surrogacy is so very different.
A surrogate goes into a surrogacy journey because she wants to. She wants to be pregnant. She wants to help nurture the baby's life. She may not want the baby for herself, but that baby is willed into existance and VERY wanted by his family and everyone involved. A surrogacy is not accidental. It may be stressful at times - but no pregnant woman is able to avoid stress for the whole gestation period. That is just rediculous. Stress is a part of life.
I honestly believe that this little boy is experiencing a much more chilled out and happy enviroment in my belly then my son did 3 years ago. I have vivid memories of days spent trying to keep up with my very young daughter while my husband was at work 5-6 days a week and just feeling like I failed a little more each day. This time around the pregnancy was on my terms, it didn't 'just happen', we have a good daily family schedule, and the kids are that much older. My hubby is fantasticly supportive, I am able to rest when I need to and emotionally I don't feel like things are just simmering under the surface like they were back then. I'm not just 'surviving', I'm actually really enjoying life.
But why do I feel like I need to justify that?
I think the part that gets under my skin is this assumption that because I'm not 'bonding' with the baby or 'connected' to the baby or 'keeping' the baby - that somehow this baby is disadvantaged. That's what annoys me. This little boy has an amazing family just itching to meet him. And I'm not 'bonding' with him because he's not mine to bond with. I care about him, I encourage him to move and let me know he's ok each day (and tell him off when he's jabbing me in the bladder in the early hours of the morning). But the best way to describe the situation is the feeling you might have when holding a close friend's baby. You feel protective and instinctively love the little thing, but you don't have any desire to take him from his mum. Surrogacy is the same thing - only it's not a cuddle for half an hour, it's a 40wk baby-sitting service!
So, back to my life again now. Still 8 weeks to go until baby's due date - so lets see how many more interesting conversations I can have with people before then!