5 Questions to Ask Before Sharing Your Surrogacy News with Extended Family
When you become a surrogate, it’s important that you create a surrogacy support system. But, how do you decide whether extended family will be a good addition or not?
They say you can’t choose your family — but, when you’re a surrogate, you can choose which family members you want included in your journey.
When you start your surrogacy journey, it’s only natural to want to yell your news from the rooftop. You want to share your excitement with everyone! But, as you start thinking about telling your friends and family about your decision, you may be unsure of how to best approach this topic.
That’s where this guide comes in. Whether you’re trying to decide how to tell Grandma, or you are wondering how to include your distant cousins in your surrogacy support system, there are some important questions to ask first. Not every surrogate is best served including all of her extended family in her journey; sometimes, less may be more.
Before you have these important conversations with extended family, ask yourself these questions:
1. Who do you think will respond best to your surrogacy news?
The first rule when creating your surrogacy support system? Make sure you include people who will only benefit your surrogacy journey.
Before you start telling your cousins, aunts, and uncles about your surrogacy decision, think about who will be most accepting of your journey. You should only share your news (especially early on) with those that you know will share your excitement and support you along the way. Think about whom you have the best relationships with and who you know you can count on during this journey.
Start with them when it comes to sharing your surrogacy news.
2. Do you anticipate negative responses from anyone?
On the other hand, you may have extended family who won’t take your news so well. Unfortunately, there is still a great deal of miseducation about gestational surrogacy. If your relatives think of surrogacy as “giving up your own baby” or will see your surrogacy decision as unethical in any other way, they may not be the ones to inform about your surrogacy news.
While it can be difficult, try to anticipate how certain family members will respond to your decision. It may not always be worth the extra work of explaining and the hurt of being misunderstood with certain family members. You may decide it’s better to wait until you are pregnant or your surro-baby is born before sharing your news — unapologetically.
3. How do you want your extended family to support you during your surrogacy?
We’ve mentioned that the extended family members with whom you share your surrogacy news should be an active part of your surrogacy support system. But, what exactly does that mean?
How your extended family supports you through your surrogacy will depend on a few things. The most important will likely be their location. Practically speaking, extended family who live closer can often provide better support than those who live far away. Long-distance family members may only be able to provide emotional support along the way, while those who live closer can watch your children during appointments, drop by with dinner on difficult days, and be a literal shoulder to lean on when you need it.
When asking people to be a part of your surrogacy support system, consider how exactly you want them to be involved. You may find that including family members who live closer will be more effective in the long-run, although long-distance family members can still be invaluable for long phone conversations!
4. Do you have answers ready for ignorant or insensitive questions and comments?
Once you have decided who to share your surrogacy news with, you’ll need to come up with a plan for this conversation. Even the most well-meaning family members can accidentally say ignorant or insensitive things in their desire to learn more.
Like you should when sharing with anyone else, come up with a list of points you want to make. Be ready with responses to some common questions and comments you may receive, and take this opportunity to educate your family about the realities of surrogacy. Remember: When you choose to share your surrogacy news with someone, you are automatically making yourself an ambassador for the surrogacy process — so take this responsibility seriously.
5. How do you feel about including extended family in your surrogacy journeys?
It’s natural to want to share your surrogacy news with everyone. If you tell one family member, you may feel pressured to tell another, just to keep everything fair. But, remember: This surrogacy journey is yours and yours alone. Ultimately, you need to do what is best for you.
If you know that your parents and siblings are the extent of family you want to involve in this journey, don’t feel like you have to tell every cousin and grandparent, too. Your surrogacy support system should only include the people you want in it — which means you will make the final decision about who to share your news with. If telling your extended family about your surrogacy journey makes you nervous or upset, you never have to include them.
You don’t have to have these conversations on your own. If you work with a surrogacy agency, your surrogacy specialist can often help you prepare for these conversations and give you tips on who to and who not to include in your support system.
Don’t have a surrogacy professional on your team yet? Contact one today for the personal guidance you deserve.