Intended parents on the surrogacy journey, especially during the holiday season, are confronted with a unique and emotionally demanding path. It’s like riding a rollercoaster of hope and uncertainty, with each moment swinging between the exhilaration of anticipating the arrival of your child and the anxiety of navigating unexpected twists in the surrogacy journey.
Consider the exhilarating highs and the sudden plunges in emotions that you may experience. One day, you’re over the moon with the prospect of finally holding your child in your arms. The next day, the surrogacy journey introduces unexpected challenges, making you feel as though you’ve been plummeted into a state of anxiety and disappointment. These emotional fluctuations can be truly overwhelming and challenging to manage.
Moreover, a profound sense of longing is a formidable emotional challenge for many intended parents. The path that led you to surrogacy may have been marked by struggles with infertility or other fertility issues. Consequently, you’ve built up a strong desire to hold your own child. The holiday season, with its family gatherings, cherished traditions, and the aura of togetherness, can intensify this longing. During this time, you might find yourself daydreaming about sharing those special moments with your future child, and the desire to create your own family traditions can become even more potent.
Amidst the whirlwind of emotions, there’s an intricate dance taking place. On one hand, you’re filled with profound gratitude towards your surrogate, the incredible person who is making your dream of parenthood a reality. This feeling of gratitude can warm your heart, especially during the holiday season, when gratitude is celebrated and shared. However, this appreciation can be interwoven with moments of jealousy or yearning. Witnessing the connection between your surrogate and your future child may evoke feelings of longing and insecurity.
These contrasting emotions can be like juggling multiple balls at once, and it’s vital to talk openly about them. Communication and understanding between intended parents and their surrogates are the cornerstones of a strong surrogacy journey. It’s essential to maintain an open and honest dialogue to address these complex emotions, ensuring that everyone’s feelings and concerns are acknowledged and supported.
Practical coping strategies
While the emotional journey of surrogacy is undeniably challenging, there are practical coping strategies that can provide solace and support along the way.
- Therapy: Seeking the guidance of a professional therapist who specializes in reproductive issues can be like having a trusted guide on your emotional journey. Therapy provides a safe space to explore your feelings, develop coping strategies, and gain invaluable insights into your emotional landscape.
- Journaling: Keeping a journal can serve as a personal venting outlet where you can pour out your feelings, fears, and hopes.
- Self-Care: Whether it’s taking a break to unwind, engaging in relaxation techniques, practicing mindfulness, or pampering yourself with self-soothing activities, prioritizing self-care is essential to maintain emotional balance.
- Unplugging from Social Media: Taking a step back from the world of social media can be like stepping away from the noise and distractions. It enables you to refocus on what truly matters in your surrogacy journey—your emotional well-being and the journey towards parenthood.
By implementing these coping strategies, you can create an emotional safety net, allowing you to navigate the emotional challenges of the surrogacy journey with resilience and grace.
Establishing meaningful traditions
Beyond these coping strategies, there are meaningful traditions you can establish with your surrogate, strengthening the bond and celebrating the journey toward parenthood. These traditions create lasting memories and deepen the connection between you and your surrogate.
- Monthly Journal: Initiating a monthly journal dedicated to the surrogacy journey is like crafting a shared emotional scrapbook. This journal can include memorable quotes, regular bump photos, or heartwarming videos. Share funny or touching moments from the surrogacy process, and document your thoughts and feelings. This tradition not only fosters ongoing connection and communication but also offers a heartfelt record of your journey.
- Family Building Brunches: Hosting occasional brunches or get-togethers with your surrogate and her family is like weaving a tapestry of shared experiences. These gatherings provide an opportunity for everyone involved in the surrogacy journey to bond and celebrate together. Sharing stories, laughter, and dreams for the future can strengthen the connection and mutual understanding among all parties.
- Baby Name Reveal: Choosing a special moment to reveal the baby’s name to the surrogate is like crafting a touching and intimate connection. This reveal symbolizes the unique bond between you and your surrogate, creating a shared secret that strengthens your relationship.
- Virtual Holiday Movie Night: Even if geographical distances separate you, organizing a virtual holiday movie night is like finding ways to connect across boundaries. Select a classic holiday movie to watch together, and utilize a video call to share your thoughts, laughter, and the warmth of shared moments. This tradition enables you to celebrate the holidays together, despite the physical distance.
- Letter to the Future: Writing heartfelt letters to your future child during the holiday season is like sowing the seeds of love and hope. Share your dreams, aspirations, and holiday wishes for your child. Encourage your surrogate to write a letter as well. These letters serve as time capsules of your emotions and wishes, and they can be a heartwarming gift for your child when they are older.
The surrogacy journey is a complex emotional journey that can be further intensified during the holiday season. While the emotional challenges are significant, they are an integral part of the surrogacy experience. Through communication, coping strategies, and the creation of meaningful traditions, you can navigate these challenges with grace, strength, and a deepening connection to your surrogate. This journey, though emotionally taxing, is a testament to your hope, love, and the incredible bond you’re building as you prepare to welcome your child into your loving family.
About Shatiera Amankrah, LCSW, LICSW, PMH-C
Shatiera Amankrah, LCSW, LICSW, PMH-C, is a dedicated and compassionate clinical social worker specializing in infertility counseling. With over a decade of experience in the field, Shatiera has established herself as a trusted advocate and therapist for individuals and couples navigating the complex emotional landscape of infertility, loss, perinatal mood, and anxiety disorders.
Shatiera’s approach is deeply personal, informed by her own experiences with infertility. Her practice, Seeds of Hope Infertility Counseling, is a testament to her commitment to providing a safe, empathetic, and non-judgmental space for clients to express their thoughts, fears, and hopes.
Her professional experience is backed by extensive training and certification in infertility counseling and perinatal mental health. Shatiera’s qualifications include a Master’s degree in Social Work from George Mason University, a certificate in Infertility Counseling from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, and a PMH-C from Postpartum Support International. She is licensed to practice in Virginia and Washington, D.C., offering both in-person and virtual therapy sessions.
Her expertise extends to a range of areas, including gestational surrogacy screenings, donor egg and donor sperm screenings, pregnancy, postpartum, pregnancy loss, termination for medical reasons, birth trauma, and donor-recipient consultation. Shatiera is also well-versed in various therapeutic modalities, ensuring that each client’s unique needs are met with the most effective treatment approach.
Shatiera Amankrah’s unwavering dedication to her clients and her field is evident in her active membership in the ASRM Mental Health Professionals Group and her advocacy for infertility awareness.