When Kim Kardashian came forward a few years ago stating that she would be working with a gestational surrogate to have her third child, the media exploded. It seemed like everyone had something to say about Kim’s choice, and very little of it was kind. Even the people I knew who didn’t typically follow celebrity news seemed well aware of the Kardashian-West surrogacy journey and would loudly share how shallow of a choice they felt it was.
This was disheartening to hear for two reasons: 1) I don’t like listening to people tear down women. 2) I knew full well I would likely be using a surrogate when the time came for Zane and I to have children, and hadn’t yet publicized that information. The saying ‘Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.’ clattered around my brain frequently.
Building a family through surrogacy is not a vanity exercise. Through my extensive research and many conversations with other IPs, I have yet to meet one person who wouldn’t have loved to carry their own child if they could have, yet somehow the myth of the vain Intended Mother persists in the surrogacy narrative. In truth, choosing surrogacy is tough and leaves women with mixed emotions, including guilt and sadness.
The key to fixing this is to share the reality. Intended Parents, surrogates, and those working in the surrogacy field have an opportunity to bring much-needed awareness to surrogacy. With every person who shares their story, the mystery and misinformation surrounding surrogacy can begin to be replaced by understanding and compassion. It seems daunting, but remember that you don’t need to start a blog to start a conversation.
Zane and I aren’t celebrities with celebrity-style reach to talk about surrogacy, and maybe that’s exactly why we can accomplish something more meaningful. People need to see surrogacy as what it is – not just something reserved for the rich and famous. I hope that together we can challenge the preconceived notions about Intended Mothers.