To be honest, I don't really know what to say or even where to start.
Like many, COVID-19 has changed the direction my life was going, and I had to postpone being a surrogate. I guess in some ways this is my way of reaching out to others who find themselves in this very same predicament. This offering of words, a way to say I understand this crazy mess we are all in. An opportunity to express that many of us are having to face hard decision making every day.
I hope that my story can help those who are finding themselves in similar spaces.
As a Doula, by Greek definition “ a woman who serves” I didn't find surrogacy to be so far from this same definition. For the last decade, I have been holding space and offering support to families birthing and bringing in new life. My role and continued education has allowed me to be a part of these growing units and support them in those first crucial moments from birth.
As a second-time surrogate, I felt that definition to be profoundly true.
My offer of self was in a solid support of others and it meant that I did not take the role as a surrogate any less. I was so very fortunate to be matched for a second time and with wonderful Intended Parents. While our journey actually started in September of 2019, it wasn't until things started to get very serious here in the United States with COVID-19 that I was faced with a deep moral and difficult personal decision to either continue trying to pursue surrogacy or postpone until a later date.
I remember before our first transfer in February 2020 being worried about the safety of traveling.
I remember keeping my distance from others through the airport and I remember the moments of worry disappearing immediately during the transfer. My goal was to help keep the Intended Parents baby safe and healthy for as long as I could. These wonderful human beings I was carrying for had already had such a long road with infertility. I was elated to try and help them and so when we had a failed cycle my heart broke two fold. For their own hurt and for my own in having not been able to help them move forward. When the possibility for a second transfer was brought up to the table, I didn't even hesitate to say YES!
Unfortunately the world had different plans and I had to weigh the safety of continuing during this time of unknown and still yet to come pandemic.
After many nights of my husband and I discussing the safety for myself and my family, as well as the safety of an unborn baby and not knowing how well the infrastructures of our medical system would be able to support this. I had to ultimately make a choice, one of the most difficult ones I have made. I had to say no.
My heart was so very heavy.
As a Doula, having just been a part of a long hospital birth with a client and seeing the changes happening quickly within the hospitals it was a decision I knew I had to stand solid in. As a mother who was now faced with school closures, growing cases of coronavirus, as a surrogate who was having to go to these places and increase my odds of contracting this very contagious virus, I have an obligation to remain safe, healthy and prepared for myself and family.
After speaking with the IP’s, it was clear that for the safety of all involved that the negatives of moving forward outweighed the positives. The decision to postpone a future transfer was made.
In the weeks to follow we began to see IVF clinics following safety protocols suggested by other medical professionals. IVF transfers and future cycles were going to be suspended until it was safe to proceed.
I believe that most of the surrogates who come to this space in the first place, are doing so out of the very deep kindness they carry within themselves. When faced with such a difficult moment of being able to bless a family or not we must remain vigilant about all of the factors that may impact the safety of the journey for ourselves and for their future children.
Safety is always the most important tool in making surrogacy decisions.
Communication is pinnacle and should be done openly, frequently and honestly with all parties involved. My hope is always in the end remembering the "why"--why everyone joined together. The wait is hard, but it's worth it. The end goal of helping bring life safely for everyone involved and to allow that life to blossom.
To the intended parents, my heart aches for yours, as you are now being faced with new challenges in growing a family.
To the surrogates, my heart aches for yours, as your dreams of helping others and your own family fall wayside for the time being.
May this time allow us to reflect that we are all in this together.
Written by: Crysta W.
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