This is the first installment in a series by author Kendra on her experience as a surrogate.
“As we work to create light for others, we naturally light our own way.”
— Mary Anne Radmacher
Hi, my name is Kendra. I am 25, a wife, a mom, a teacher…and I am hoping to become a stork. No, not the migrating, long-legged, wading bird. My legs are neither long nor migratory. I am talking about becoming the metaphorical stork. The one that brings beautiful bundles of babyhood to deserving parents. We have all heard the theory. When we were too young to understand human reproduction (and all of the details that come along with it) we heard about the stork theory from our parents, or that one relative at a summer cookout, or from the kids sitting at the back of the bus who knew everything. The stork theory, like those of Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy, involves a fantastical creature that brings gifts during the night. In this case, the gifts are newborn babies, and the recipients are intended parents. Magical and fictitious, right?
Well, maybe not.
You see, the stork theory, thanks to modern medicine and the incredible abilities of the female uterus, is taking on a new meaning. Surrogate mothers, or gestational carriers, are giving parents the gift of a child or children (twins can be common in surrogacy pregnancies). The job may not be as easy or as peaceful as the stork theory suggests. I am in no way comparing the difficulties of pregnancy or the challenges of carrying a baby for another couple to the theory of the stork. Surrogate mothers are not birds with sacks full of newborns in their beaks. But it is the best way I can easily describe the process. The metaphor is a simple way to wrap your head around the complexities of surrogacy. And more importantly, this new meaning to the stork theory, well, it is real and it is magical.
So it is my intention to become a stork. I am excited, nervous, and ready to take flight. (No? Too cheesy? Sorry!) Seriously though, I have thought a lot about becoming a surrogate. Two years ago my sister was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and her doctor said if she ever decided to have a baby she would need to come off of her medication. Because her symptoms were quite severe, this could be dangerous for her. Although she was not and is still not ready for children, I offered to be her surrogate if she ever decided to go that route. I wanted to put it on the table for her. Not to pressure her, but to give her that option if she ever needed or wanted it. Since then I have seriously thought about surrogacy, and helping a family to grow by carrying their child. At this point in my life, I have decided it is something I really want to do. Is there a greater gift you could give a complete stranger? I can’t think of one. The friends and family I have spoken with about surrogacy always ask me why I want to go through a pregnancy only to give the baby to someone else. I don’t have a good answer for that, yet. This is simply something I feel compelled to do, and I think I will benefit from the experience as well. Right now, I am looking forward to finding a family that I can help, and I can’t wait to get started!
the hopeful stork
I wrote this post a year ago when I was beginning my surrogacy journey. I have since carried and delivered a baby for a wonderful family. I am looking forward to writing more posts about surrogacy and my experiences of the past year. I hope these posts will help any past, current, or future gestational carriers or intended parents. And for every reader, I hope they allow you to view a new perspective on surrogacy!