Ever since we started this surrogacy journey, I have experienced a whole gamut of emotions.
Of course there are the positive emotions, such as hopefulness, excitement, and gratitude that a person such as my gestational carrier has such compassion for us that she is willing to go through pregnancy for another person. This is sometimes too profound of a concept for me to fathom and to grasp.
Every single stage of the journey also invokes fear, worry, and anxiety, such as our donor’s egg retrieval, fertilization rate, number of embryos remaining, potential weather issues, thawing of the embryos, the transfer itself, waiting for beta, and waiting for ultrasound.
And then there is this deeper emotion of joy that is much greater than the temporary feeling of happiness. This joy that comes from witnessing the miracle of life that is growing inside of our gestational carrier and from the hope and the promising future of our children being born into this world and meeting us face-to-face.
What surprised me was the sense of loss that I felt during our epic first ultrasound while experiencing this tremendous joy of seeing the two heartbeats that were flickering on the screen. I didn’t know that those two complex emotions could exist in the same moment, but they did, because I experienced them.
Seeing those two heartbeats was one of the most exhilarating and monumental moments in my life. The tears that were shed were definitely tears of joy. However, seeing Annie’s name on the screen and the ultrasound photos brought me back to the reality of what my body will likely not ever be able to accomplish. It was supposed to be my name and my date of birth printed on the photos. If I could have my way, it was also supposed to be my eggs, my uterus, and my pregnancy five years ago. While being super excited and joyful and amazed, I was at the same time tremendously sad.
But I believe that God’s plan for us is perfect in every way and His ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). I believe that this is what needs to happen for us to have our babies. And I fully embrace that. But it does not mean that I will not continue to have a sense of loss that I have to grieve. What I need to do is to continue to process my feelings with the help of my therapist. And I did exactly that.
My visit to my therapist was highly emotionally charged. It was just so exciting to be able to finally share good news with her after having to tell her heartbreaking news over and over again in the past two and a half years. But at the same time, my biggest need was to process my grief and sadness with her. I even cried when I was telling her that. I knew that sadness and joy could exist simultaneously but it was reassuring for a professional to confirm it with me. She told me that it is very common for intended mother to feel a sense of loss while expecting via a surrogate, especially when the surrogate starts to feel the baby or babies. There is the loss of the sense of control because it is not my own body. There is nothing wrong with these feelings. It is just part of my reality. I told her sometimes I don’t know how to feel. And she said that it is okay to not know how to feel. She said that as the pregnancy progresses, I may find myself feeling jealous, annoyed, or frustrated with Annie. But at the same time, I would continue to feel grateful, joyful, and excited. The key is to feel all that I need to feel and to tell myself that it is okay to do so. She has heard enough from intended mothers about these feelings, but she kind of experienced it first hand when one of her best friends was expecting via surrogacy. The second and third trimesters were kind of difficult for her friend. And I am sure that it will be similar for me. I don’t know if this sense of loss and the grief will ever completely go away but maybe it will diminish with the birth of the babies.
In terms of my fear that something bad may happen to the pregnancy, my therapist reminded me that I have lived in the unknown in the past few years. Treat this the same way. Embrace the unknown. Whenever I find myself having these thoughts, ask myself if they are helpful. If they are not, acknowledge them and then let go. And if anything bad were to happen, I would be able to deal with it just like how I have been dealing with bad news in the past few years.
One interesting thing is that, ever since the news of us expecting twins, my attitude towards pregnant women has changed for the better. It has been easier for me to chat with my pregnant coworker. It has even been easier for me to accept pregnancy announcements. It is quite eye-opening for myself to see the immediate change in my thoughts and feelings. I know that the sting of infertility doesn’t totally go away, but it’s surprising for me to be able to feel more positive or at ease with other people’s pregnancy in such a short amount of time.
What I am trying to say is, our pregnancy is not always going to make us feel positive and excited. There are also fear, worry, jealousy, sadness, and anxiety. But having these feelings doesn’t mean that we are ungrateful about where we are now. The reality is, we are human beings and have complicated emotions. The key to maintain emotional health is to address these feelings rather than brushing them aside so that we are ready to welcome the babies in every way possible when the time comes.