Being a gestational carrier requires a great deal of commitment and sacrifice – not just for the surrogate and her partner but often for their children as well. If you are considering becoming a surrogate or if you’re just beginning a journey, perhaps you are wondering how and when to discuss surrogacy with your children, particularly if they are young. How do you explain that the baby you are carrying is not their sibling – that the baby actually belongs to another family?
Leslee Murphy, a mental health practitioner who specializes in the field of third-party reproduction, recommends that parents tell their children as soon as they feel safe with the pregnancy.
“It’s important for a surrogate and her partner to be transparent with their children from the beginning about how she is carrying the baby for another family who cannot have children on their own,” Leslee explains. “I recommend they approach it from the perspective that the entire family is helping the intended parents have their baby. Kids can help by doing things for their mom and being patient and understanding when mom doesn’t feel well or needs extra rest.”
Reading books about surrogacy can help explain the concept to young children. Below are five recommended titles.
The Kangaroo Pouch
By Sarah Phillips
Mommy’s having a baby for another family! Why? How does that work? And, wait…what about my family? Oliver, a young kangaroo whose mother becomes a surrogate for the Bouncing-Hopalots and delivers their baby to them, narrates this heartwarming tale and shows what the gestational surrogacy process is all about from start to finish.
The Kangaroo Pouch, written by a compassionate gestational surrogate, is 28 pages, fully illustrated and vetted by various doctors and childhood professionals to ensure the content is appropriate for young children.
My Mom is a Surrogate
By Abigail Glass
This book was written to help children of surrogates understand the process of the surrogacy journey.
It provides the reader with a guide to discuss the proper language, through a sweet story and attractive images of the surrogacy experience. This story follows a brother and sister as they watch their mother become a surrogate. The siblings invite the reader to explore their own personal experiences as well.
Grown in Another Garden
By Crystal Falk
Grown in Another Garden introduces young children (ages 2-8) to surrogacy. Follow the story of Mikey and his family as he learns about the unique way he was born into a loving family – through the kindness of a surrogate. Join him as he discovers that “sometimes the sweetest and most beautiful creations are grown in another garden.” Mikey’s story helps to explain why some families choose surrogates to help grow their families and why surrogates choose to help other families this way.
Sophia’s Broken Crayons is a book for young children (ages 2-6), which tells a story of surrogacy from a young child’s perspective. A little girl named Sophia is heartbroken after she discovers all of her crayons are broken. Sophia’s friends share their crayons with her as she experiences seeing her parents choose to give the gift of surrogacy to their friends. This book answers questions, such as, why can’t everyone have a baby? Why would someone choose a surrogate to help grow their family? Why would someone choose to become a surrogate? Follow the story of Sophia as she learns about sharing and helping friends in need, as well as why moms and dads choose surrogates to help grow their families and why surrogates choose to help other families this way.
My Magic Mom
My Magic Mom is not just another story about surrogacy – it is your story! It will help you explain to your child why you chose to be a surrogate and help your family adjust to life after your surrogate child is with his or her intended parents. This book is aimed at toddlers and preschoolers, beautifully illustrated, printed on gorgeous paper, and bound in a hardback cover. Each story has a photo section at the end where you can add cherished photos of your family and your surrogacy journey.
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