Friday morning, April 18 I was sitting at my computer, deciding which photo of my daughter to share on Facebook to wish her a happy birthday, when I heard the friendly folks on Good Morning America introduce a segment called "Social Surrogates." In case you missed it, here's the link to the story.
In a nutshell, it seems there are women who are opting to have other, less financially secure women who are in need of $100,000 or so carry their babies for them so they won't have to be pregnant in order to have a child.
As I sat there, listening to this one woman, Saira Jhutty, PhD (who has a company that matches these women with surrogates) explain how there are women who don't want pregnancy to interfere with their career trajectory or, even worse, ruin their bodies, I was kind of shocked. "These women are scared of being pregnant," she said.
No, not kind of shocked. I was seriously disturbed.
There I was, remembering the morning my daughter was born 24 years ago, the thrill, the terror, the magic, the fear, the mad, deep love I felt the moment she was placed in my arms. She was a slimy, weird looking creature who had grown inside of me for nine months, causing me everything from nausea to irregular heartbeats, swollen ankles and back acne -- but she was my baby! I remembered watching my belly undulate as she kicked and punched inside of me, fascinated and thrilled and awestruck that this was happening -- to me! -- just as it has happened to millions and billions of women before and after. All of those months of gestating and growing my baby were miraculous and powerful like nothing I had ever done before, and would only do once again in my life.
And these women, women who are perfectly healthy and capable of carrying their own child, are choosing to have someone else do it for them.
What is this?? What kind of insanity? When there are millions of women who are desperate to be pregnant, literally going broke trying to make a baby, these women -- and the estimate by the GMA doctor was that there are around 2,000 of them and counting -- are opting not to be pregnant so they can wear their skinny jeans? Can someone please tell me why this is OK?
According to The Daily Mail:
Indeed, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, surrogacy should be used only 'when a true medical condition precludes the intended parent from carrying a pregnancy or would pose a significant risk of death or harm to the woman or the fetus.'
What I wonder about, besides what kind of women would do this, is what kind of mothers they'll be once they've been handed their surrogate-grown children. How will they deal with it when their babies are sick and puking on them? What will they do if, God forbid, something is terribly wrong with their child? Will they call a substitute mom to care for their less-than-perfect offspring? Will they take a day off from their precious careers to tend to a baby that needs them?
You don't need to give birth to a child to be a wonderful mother -- in fact, those women who can't have a baby the way I did are heroic in their endeavors to either find other ways to make a baby or adopt a child instead.
But to choose not to be pregnant and have someone else carry your child for the sake of vanity or convenience is a shame.
Previously published on Empty House Full Mind