Transitioning back to normality is never easy. We are all learning to live again in this parallel reality, a place that in many ways looks and feels the same as it always did, but in others has changed so significantly.
The Summer has come and gone, there’s been some amazing memories made, but also a few I’d rather forget. Its been wonderful to visit so many people again, especially traveling North to see family and friends we haven’t been able to for such a long time. Watching you with them always makes my heart smile.
There’s been some fabulous day trips and lots of movie nights spent in the garden toasting marshmallows around the fire pit. But in amongst all of that the car was written off, on my birthday no less, and even the copious amounts of the M&S salted Carmel cake we had driven specifically to get, didn’t quite make up for it. Nanna hasn’t been well and your dad has spent a lot of time going back and forth to the hospital and it’s taken it’s toll. She came out today for the third time in as many months, we’re all hoping it will be the last. We decided against booking somewhere abroad this year year, the uncertainty of the ever present pandemic meant we didn’t want to take any risks and I still haven’t sorted out a passport for you Grace despite your dads daily reminders. We’ve all missed out on some vitamin D and we have been scouring the internet daily for a trip that would guarantee a bit of winter sunshine. I’ve heard Dubai is nice in December.
That summer felt like one of transition too. I was no longer on same path and certainly wasn’t the same person as the girl who had packed her bags 12 months ago and jet off to the US for a summer of adventure. Her shoulders light with a naivety that until recenty I had never quite appreciated. The guidebook I needed now hadn’t been written yet, this path was completely unknown.
I was spending a lot of time lurking on the surrogacy FB groups, watching and learning. I started to pick up the lingo. IP or intended parent, that was me and your dad, a couple or singleton who hoped one day to have a child of their own. GS or TS, referring to either gestational or traditional surrogate. A gestational surrogate, the lady we were hoping to find, would have no biological connection to the would have no biological connection to the baby. A traditional surro would use her own eggs and the sperm of the IF (intended father). Then there was all the pregnancy acronyms, FET (frozen embryo transfer), what we were looking to do with our 9 snow babies waiting patiently on ice. 2WW (two week wait) the time you were supposed to wait from transfer to testing to get a reliable result, though very few people actually last this long. Finally, POAS, peeing on a stick, the strangely addictive way to find out whether you have your BFP (big fat positive) or whether it’s a BFN (big fat negative) the ending nobody wants.
Once I’d worked out the terminology the next thing to get to grips with was the etiquette. Who approaches who? Can you talk to more than one surro at a time? When are you exclusive? To be honest it was a lot like dating in many ways. Jumping straight in with “will you be my surrogate?” was clearly just as inappropriate as “will you marry me?” although strangely not unheard of. It was definitely a rollercoaster and each time a new DM popped up I wondered, was this the one?
The Facebook group was very active and most days I checked in just to see what was going on. My habit of overthinking everything, especially other people’s opinions of me meant I didn’t say too much in the group. I would convince myself that everyone else was best buddies and if i said anything they would think “who does she think she is commenting on posts, we don’t even know her”. Of course I know this is not the case and everyone was actually really welcoming and friendly but it didn’t stop those mind monkeys. I quite enjoyed lurking though, it was nice to witness relationships unfold, seeing bump updates and families being made. Then one morning I was hit with the fragility of trying to navigate this world on my own. The alarm went off and I picked up my phone and began my morning scroll. The group had gone. Completely vanished into thin air. I panicked, how can this have happened?
That evening I messaged Kerry (the lady who had invited me into the group) and she explained that the group had been shut down by the admin because of ‘bitchy behavior’. She wanted to check I wasn’t in any of the other ‘trouble makers’ groups. My heart sank. This was exactly the sort of thing that friends and family had been worried about. Maybe Facebook wasn’t the best place to be meet someone I would need to trust implicitly and be free of any drama? I was gutted, my eggs were, literally, all in this basket. There was no other way, the agencies were still closed to new members and even if that hadn’t been the case they were so expensive. I messaged back Kerry and told her other than the open UK group where I’d first connected with her this was the only group I was in. That evening she invited me to be part of the new group, ‘Hope, where being a parent begins.’ The first few posts in the group were all about what had gone on over the last few days, lots of ‘he saids’ and ‘she saids’. I didn’t really understand, I hadn’t been there for long enough to know who everyone was and all the relationship dynamics. The surrogacy community is for the most part wonderful and supportive but it is still made up of real people who don’t always see eye to eye and have different views on how things should be done. It’s a passionate community that is ultimately moderated by volunteers and what I have learnt now is that each group has their own way of doing things and hopefully people find their way into the one or ones that are right for them. The panic for now was over. This was definitely not going to be straightforward and I was pretty sure there were going to be a few more up and downs. I decided the best thing was to keep my head down and hope this new group lived up to its name.
Forever & always