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Dear IPs – advice from UK surrogates

Dear IPs,

Being an IP is hard and the wait to find a surrogate can prove to be the one of the hardest parts.

Its not something that is taken lightly by surrogates, we know that the wait to meet the right surrogate can be long, and frustrating, and downright soul destroying.  I have heard surrogates say “I wish I could help more than one person at a time” so many times over the years, and its a sentiment I have certainly felt myself.

I am regularly asked by IPs if there is anything they can do to speed up the process of meeting a surrogate and my advice remains the same – Be yourself, its not about meeting any surrogate, but meeting the right surrogate for you.

I often wonder if I could be giving more advice , so I asked other surrogates what advice they would give.

“Remember surros are just ‘normal’ people too! Get involved with the community, get to socials and try and have fun. If you’re going to be waiting, may as well try and enjoy it”
Vicky – Surrogate
“Keep the faith it will happen when it’s right”
Caroline – Surrogate
“Get to as many socials as you can, keep active on on the boards and just get out there and enjoy making friends. Those who put themselves out there are more likely to get noticed”
Rebecca – Surrogate
“Put yourself out there, no matter how shy you are or awkward you feel, be honest with how you are feeling. Surrogates can feel exactly the same”
Kristin – Surrogate
“Never lose HOPE.  Be yourself & have fun along the way!”
Jemma – Surrogate
“Be yourself. We all know the desired end goal but it’s important to have a friendship first”
Gemma – Surrogate
“Don’t give up… even if you have been waiting for a long time. Someone will fall in love with you and want to help you make a family! Every surro looks for different things in IPs… it will be worth the wait!”
Gemma – Surrogate

It seemed that every surrogate gave similar advice – don’t give up, be yourself, meet people.  There’s certainly no trick to finding a surrogate, no fast track, no IP more deserving.  Surrogates too are on a journey to find the right IPs for them and by taking their advice it should help you to find each other.

As frustrating as it is, the wait for a surrogate might be long, it might be bumpy and at times it might feel hopeless but when you find the right surrogate for you, we hope that it will all be worth it.

With love

A surrogate x

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No Wait is in Vain

In celebration of National Surrogacy week we’ve been asked to share our experiences on what it’s like waiting to find a match with Surrogacy UK.

Whilst we’re unsure if our experiences are typical, we’re certain they’ll bring some fresh hope. We may have waited a long & agonising 18 months before plucking up the courage to join Surrogacy UK, but the good news is that we were successfully matched within a fortnight. So it was well worth that wait!

There is no denying the fact that waiting to find a surrogate is a particularly ‘weighty’ kind of wait. Why? It’s because deep down you can’t help shake the feeling that you’re waiting for something that is simply never going to happen. Not in a million years. EVER! And only a fool would wait for this. Well that’s what you tell yourselves anyway…

We also found that during this time our confidence really started to take a hit, as you constantly have to put on a brave face & get yourselves out there, at a time when really you just feel like crawling into a ball to hibernate. The mind starts to play cruel tricks on you & we found ourselves questioning why a surrogate would choose to work with a couple like us, when there are so many other lovely & deserving couples to chose from.

Time literally stood still. We started to feel every hour of every day that passes, whilst constantly comparing ourselves to those around us who seem to be living very happy & fulfilling lives. It’s exhausting. The pain of this wait was exacerbated by our desperate longing to become the parents you always thought you would be.

The sad truth of the matter is that David & I had become so numb from the constant IVF failures that we convinced ourselves we just need to get through this one last failure & the agony would finally be over.

Thankfully it was at this crucial point that we met Kirsty who had a very different perspective on things. We learnt so much for her exuberant positivity & quiet determination.

So how did we survive the wait? Here a few things that really helped us recontextualise things & to channel this dreadful wait into positive, excited anticipation.

Inevitably this process is going to involve a lot of waiting, however we took great comfort from knowing that during this time we were not alone. After all everyone is waiting for something. People are waiting for a train to go, the phone to ring, or snow to snow. Some people wait for their hair to grow, others kill time for a simple yes or a no. We’ve spent our fair share of time waiting patiently mind. We’ve waited for the kettle to boil, hung around for a Friday night & prayed for release from this very sticky bind. So never forget the fact that inside this strange waiting place, you’re in good company.

Secondly know that if you wait long enough, even this wait will end. Whilst it may feel like an eternity, change is the only constant in life.

We often wondered if we pretended that the wait was already over, would it come sooner? The truth is no of course it wouldn’t but we did discover that if you approach it with this attitude then you stop dwelling on the things you cant change & start working on the things you can influence.

So we waited constructively; we tackled all the jobs we’d never have time to do once we were parents. Instead of sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring, we thought to ourselves let’s get out & live lives that our completely incompatible with parenthood whilst we still could. (Now she’s here thank god we did as we’re reliving these memories whilst watching Bing!)

We waited gracefully; we had no energy left for bitterness or resentment.

We waited steadfastly; we didn’t loose heart & kept faith that our patience would one day, somehow be rewarded.

We waited thankfully; we made time to take stock & appreciate all the good things in our lives.

Finally we realised if you’re feeling helpless & useless then make yourself useful sharpish by helping someone else, anyone else with anything. This way you’re making at least two people feel a whole lot better. We took better care of one another, we became Surrogacy UK support workers, we volunteered for local charitable organisations & we reconnected with relatives who live all over the country. As a result, in testing times of adversity these relationships have all blossomed & we feel all the better for it.

Dr Seuss in his infamous book “Oh the places you’ll go” implies that The Waiting Place is “a most useless place” but on reflection we’d have to strongly disagree. If you can accept that you’re in it, realize that it won’t last forever & use the time benevolently then you’ll never be waiting in vain.

As we contemplate embarking on a sibling project, we may be lucky enough to know what we’re waiting for, but that doesn’t mean that we’re not revisited by some very familiar ghosts. So if you’re in a similar situation, then please be patient & kind to yourselves.

Try to remember every sunset that you’ve ever witnessed as the perfect metaphor to remind yourselves that the longer you wait for something, the more you’ll appreciate it when it comes.

If you’re committed & flexible in your approach to becoming parents no matter what, then all that stands between you & this dream is a matter of time.

Good luck & if you have any questions or would like to speak to us further about our experiences then you’ll find us on the Surrogacy UK message boards aka ‘Peter Pan’.

Fee Eastwood – Surrogacy UK member and IP in waiting