You may wonder how an intended mother may feel once she is expecting via gestational surrogacy. The answer is, it changes all the time, and you don’t know when and how frequently your feelings may change.
The other night Bob and I were chatting in bed about how we’d turn 15 weeks the next day. Suddenly, this sadness overcame me. It just hit me like a ton of bricks without warning. I lay there and started tearing up. What went through my mind was how Annie will start feeling the babies’ movements in a few weeks and I will feel nothing inside of me. That loss on that particular day at that particular moment was so unbearable. My babies are growing in another person’s body, and I am 100% grateful for that. However, this same fact also reminded of my missing out on this experience and it was very difficult to bear. I knew all of this going in, and I knew that these feelings are going to surface once in a while. I do think that it is important to acknowledge them and cry when I need to cry.
These complicated feelings made the next day even more difficult. A close friend of mine who had been banking day 5 and then day 3 embryos for the last two years (because of diminished ovarian reserve) just received her positive beta after failing her first transfer a month ago. She started banking after she turned 40 and she had been quite adamant about not using donor eggs. I totally respect what she’s been doing and support her in her endeavor. It has not been easy for her and I want her to be successful. At the same time, I didn’t know how I’d feel if/when she eventually gets her BFP. I found out on Wednesday that her BFP has hit me hard. I was super jealous of two things: 1) she does not have to consider the need of donor eggs, and 2) she gets to experience a pregnancy. I know that this jealousy and these thoughts are not rational. As a close friend, I *should* be very excited for her. But I was just super super jealous. There is no rhyme or reason. Like I said, I would not have known how I’d feel about a particular person’s pregnancy until it happens. There have been many times I am immediately very happy for someone and do not feel an ounce of jealously. Unfortunately this time my primary feeling has been jealousy rather than anything else. I felt a little bad for not being able to fully celebrate with my friend, but I was told by another co-sister on this journey (and she’s a therapist herself) that I don’t have to feel bad. I am not going to analyze myself too much, but I believe this stems from both my need to use donor eggs and my necessity to use a gestational carrier. I knew that I was still sorting through my feelings about not being able to carry, but I was surprised by my feelings regarding donor eggs. I thought I have completely worked through those emotions, but I guess the grief for foregoing my own eggs lingers for longer than I thought. I knew and still know that I was completely done with my own eggs at the time we moved forward to donor eggs and am very grateful for having the twins using this method, but it’s still tough when someone else achieves what I can’t.
Today was tough for me. My friend was of course still super excited and sent me two pee stick photos. It was hard for me to see pee sticks without prior warning. Pee sticks, bump photos, and ultrasound photos still serve as such a trigger for me. She also mentioned about other pregnancy related things that were too much for me at this point. After a few moments, she asked me if it was okay for her to show me these photos. I was silent for a little while then decided to tell her that I was okay with them because as a good friend, I don’t want to dampen her joy. However, my friend A. wanted to make sure that I don’t get ambushed by this friend in the future so it might be wise to establish some boundaries. I decided to be honest with my friend so I made this suggestion: “I support you and love you and am very happy for you for getting to this point. Just for me, you may need to be a bit less specific about your pregnancy symptoms and things in the future. I’m not saying that you are overdoing anything right now because you are not, but this is to protect myself because I don’t get to experience what you will experience. I don’t know how I’d react.” My friend took it very well and thanked me for being open with her. I wish I could be there for her 100% but as of now, I am not quite there yet.
So it goes to tell you that even when we are 15 weeks into this pregnancy, we don’t live happily ever after. We still have all sorts of feelings to process. And sadness and jealousy hit whenever they want to. We’ll have to be honest with ourselves and handle these feelings as they come. Hopefully, like what A. said, that by the time the twins come, I will be so busy mothering that this stuff will have less opportunity to fill the space in my head.