A couple of weeks ago I was struck to my core by an entry Shayna wrote called The Ultimate Challenge. In it, she questions whether or not she could ever be a surrogate either before or after she is able to achieve motherhood for herself. It was an honest, heartfelt post. She identifies with the heartache intended parents feel because being infertile, she feels it also herself. She speaks of being a surrogate with infertility as being a double-edge sword of sorts. Out of empathy she could be a surrogate – because that would be one less infertile couple out there in the struggle – but also like she couldn’t be a surrogate – because how could she ever endure a pregnancy and not bring a baby home to show for it? She concludes by determining that right now while still in the trenches, surrogacy is impossible. But maybe after she is able to have a family of her own, she might be able to proceed with a surrogacy journey.
Either way, she feels that surrogacy would be the biggest challenge of her life. She said,
To anyone who has been or is a surrogate, I absolutely salute you. To anyone who has/had IF and was/is a surrogate….I literally bow at your feet. At this moment in time, I could never be one and I think if I tried, my heart would probably give out on me.
I don’t think that what I do as a surrogate is worthy of kowtow. In fact, it humbles me. But I understand the element of disbelief. I have always been fascinated with pregnancy and parenthood. Before trying to conceive, the concept of surrogacy was intriguing, but was never something that I thought about at great length. It was never more than a fleeting thought that left as quickly as it entered my mind. I often thought at length though, about having a family of my own. Of imagining all the ways my body would change as life grew within me. The closer I got in age to a time where a pregnancy would make good sense, I thought about it more. And once we were actually trying to conceive, I was elated that finally – finally – I would not just imagine pregnancy, but would actually get to live it. Or so I thought. Of course I never imagined that it would take 2.5 years, floods of tears, a few fights with Frank, way too many "oops" pregnancies to watch, charting, basals, Taking Charge of Your [Fucked Up] Fertility (HA!), negatives, stacks of opk’s, probing, shots, and pills to accomplish that. In the midst of that 2.5 years, could I have been a surrogate, or even thought about being a surrogate for someone else? Not no, but hell no. My heart would have given out on me, too.
Shayna said, "I couldn’t be a surrogate because honestly, I have other selfish reasons." Shayna lists the reasons, but what it boils down to is the damned infertility. Shayna, honey, infertility is not selfish. Selfishness is focusing so much on your own interests that it is at the expense of and is hurtful to others. Infertility is a circular pain where you focus greatly on your own interests, but it is hurtful to you as the sufferer. Selfishness is something to be ashamed of, though in my experience truly selfish people rarely feel ashamed of it. Infertility and the trick-bag of complex and often conflicting emotions that come with it are nothing to be ashamed of.
I am a surrogate because I am infertile. I struggled, but not to the degree that I know others struggle. I cried, but not as much as I know others have cried. It was a long road, but not as long as the road that others are on. My heart was broken, but not shattered. It could have been, but it wasn’t. Had my struggle been as hard, my tears as plentiful, my road as long, and my heart as shattered, I could only hope that someone would want to help me in the way that I am helping others. This is my way of paying it forward. My way of remembering. My way of still being in the battle to beat down that bitch called Infertility. I do this for you, Shayna, and for the rest of you who are still fighting.