When I was struggling with getting pregnant via IVF I often found myself looking into surrogacy. And with each pregnancy at around week 3-4 I would get so violently ill that I thought I would never make it to term. Needless to say I have spent hours Googling surrogacy. For most parents who are using a surrogate, it has been a long, hard and emotional road to pregnancy. All the more reason to celebrate getting closer to the goal of BABY!
Don’t miss out on toasting the birth of your child with your friends and family just because your road wasn’t as conventional as others. That said, we know it can feel confusing to plan a shower if you’re using a surrogate, which is why we turned to Gail Sexton Anderson, founder of Donor Concierge and co-founder of Tulip, to get her expert tips on throwing a “surrogate shower.”
Read on and start celebrating the happy times to come!
You deserve to celebrate.
“Some couples aren’t sure if they ‘should’ throw a shower for a nontraditional pregnancy or feel strange celebrating such a traditional milestone after an unconventional path, but every parent deserves to celebrate their child, and friends and family who are aware of your journey will want to celebrate with you! If you have friends or relatives who are pregnant via surrogacy, don’t forget about them when it comes to throwing a baby shower.”
It’s a balance.
“Every couple is different, so tailoring the shower to the couple’s needs is important. For example, those who have experienced fertility issues may want to wait until later in the pregnancy to have their shower. Just as every couple or individual using a surrogate has a different journey, every couple will also have a different relationship with their surrogate. Some may feel as close as family, and some may feel more removed – it’s all normal. When it comes to the baby shower, it’s important to celebrate the surrogate while still keeping the focus on the parents-to-be. If you’re helping plan a shower for a couple using a surrogate, reaching out to them to gauge their wants and needs will help you plan.”
Celebrating without your surrogate?
“Some surrogates prefer not to be present at the baby shower, because they don’t want to be the center of attention and take away from the intended parents. A shower is truly a celebration of the parents, so it is totally normal for the surrogate not to be present. It may feel hard to celebrate your baby if your surrogate is unable to attend, but you can make your baby’s presence felt in other ways: asking guests to record video messages for your child, participating in crafts or activities for your baby, or even sharing special moments from your gestational carrier’s journey.”
Show your surrogate you care.
“Most baby showers are about the pregnancy and the expectant mother. With a surrogate involved, it can be a little more complicated. Though most parents check in with and gift their surrogate throughout her pregnancy, asking your friends to share special messages in a card or book or chipping in on a gift for your gestational carrier can be a great way to acknowledge her journey and show her you care. For example, ask each guest to contribute toward a gift card for a nice meal out or provide a small gift to go into a larger gift basket post-birth to help celebrate this amazing woman while keeping the focus on the family. Another idea is to send your surrogate and her family party favors, activities and treats to involve them in the baby shower from afar.”
It’s a nontraditional pregnancy… so you can have a “nontraditional” shower!
“Traditional baby showers are often formal, women-only and involve gift registries, but a nontraditional pregnancy gives you more reason to break from tradition and make the celebration your own. Whether you want to host your shower at a bowling alley or invite adults of all genders and kids, this is your chance to celebrate your child however you see fit. Gay men may find themselves throwing a ‘nontraditional’ shower simply because neither of them is the expectant mother, but men deserve to celebrate their pregnancy too.”
Even a “nontraditional” pregnancy can have a traditional celebration.
“On the flip side, some couples have fought hard battles before becoming pregnant via surrogate and are actually excited to finally engage in a ‘traditional’ milestone and celebration. There’s nothing wrong with getting excited about this milestone and celebrating with the traditional baby shower of your dreams.”