I don't often write about my surrogate pregnancies. Part of its was a non-disclosure that was signed to ensure I would give my couples their privacy. They're amazing people and always close to my heart. In a perfect world they wouldn't have needed me. Part of me wants to keep them closely protected in my memories. I could still share about doing seven IVF cycles as a surrogate. I could tell you about the many needles and syringes. I could write about prepping my needles and shooting myself in the butt because help from the ex didn't look like him helping me with the awkward position of where I needed to shoot myself. I could share the horrible feeling from hormones. Feeling pregnant and bloated and emotional and knowing I was doing it all to myself... There's also the way it felt to be cared for and pampered by these parents or what it feels like to part with the children that spent so much time just under my heart. Maybe one day I will share.
What I am sharing is the greatest takeaway I have from it. It's the people and the relationships and the perspective shift.
My second couple was culturally Jewish, though they weren't religious. I wanted to get a Mezuzah for the baby's room but learned how inappropriate that is for a family that didn't plan to raise their child in the practices of a faith they weren't passing on.
I won't get into all of it, but I will share just enough about my last couple. They were an Arab couple from a muslim country and they were practicing muslims. I had studied geography to know where they came from but beyond that, my understanding came from the news. I don't watch the news anymore. It's all about creating a perspective and selling viewers to companies that want to show us their really expensive ad campaigns. I read and skim for important details through news outlets that don't try to make me throw things.
When I met my intended mom for the first time, I was told to meet this Arab woman I had never seen before in a store on Rodeo Drive. I thought that maybe she would have dark skin but that she would be covered up in a Burqa or hijab. I wasn't prepared for who she was and it threw me off center just enough. A couple of hours with her changed who I am as I look at the world outside of myself.
She was so beautiful with fair skin and beautiful black hair that fell in soft waves around her shoulders. She wore a long flowing top with dress pants. Her outfits were always high fashion, but conservative. It was a hot day, but she looked comfortable even though she was covered up by her clothes, I would have never known she was muslim by her clothes. She was confident. She had an A type personality and could easily take command of a room. I would have never known she was the meek and oppressed woman I thought every Muslim woman was. Everything I had been told to believe about Muslim women was ridiculous compared to who she showed up as. She wasn't dominated by her husband. She made decisions and she was empowered through his support.
Months later I was hospitalized so the twins I carried for them wouldn't come early. The intended father refused to enter my room without my ex there. When it occurred to me that he treated me with the respect he would show the women in his country . . . his mom, and wife and sisters . . . I was floored. It was no longer an oppressive practice as I had once thought it was that a woman couldn't be alone in a room with a man that wasn't her family or husband. I saw it as the highest respect he could offer me and the feeling of being cared for through this act still moves me so much five years later.
Before I met them, I had this idea of who they should be. Before I met them, I was convinced I knew what Muslims thought and believed because my news anchor was supposed to be reliable. After meeting them I researched enough of the Quran (a really tiny amount) to see that there's an overlap. The books in the bible I studied as a child are also in the Quran. We're in the middle of Ramadan. People all over the world are fasting as I did along with prayer in my Christian church. They are looking out for others that don't have enough. In the name of religion and through faith so strong as to wear it outwardly through the oppression of a fearful country, they are living practices I would hope to internalize myself and teach my children.
My couple through being the good people they are . . . Through proudly practicing their faith . . . Through caring for me as they did, were able to let me see how much of a bigot I was.
My lesson was that I cannot judge anyone for anything but how they show up, and even then without having the knowledge of their motivation I really can't say what makes them do what they do. I just know I'm here on this earth to love others and support them to do better and be more and live life epicly.
And that was the greatest gift I took away from my 3 surrogate pregnancies. That and all of the love and support a pregnant lady could want.