How to Explain Surrogacy to Your Children
When you decide to become a surrogate parent, you will eventually wonder how to introduce the subject to your own children. Accept the fact that, children being children, they will ask about your pregnancy. Even young kids are exceptionally observant and want to know all the details about something new and different that they don’t understand.
What’s the best way to let them know what’s going on, provide the most kid-friendly explanation, and encourage them to become as excited as you are about surrogacy?
The best place to begin is with a short list of ideas that little ones can process in their own way.
How To Talk To Your Kids About the Surrogacy Journey
There’s no magic formula for conveying the concept to your children. Every child and every family is unique. But many former surrogates have found a few approaches rather helpful. Here are some techniques that might work for you as you begin to involve your own children in the surrogacy process.
- Start with books: Books and story are an ideal, developmentally appropriate starting point. Use some of the suggestions in the list below if you don’t know of any. Make book-reading a joint effort, and be sure to answer questions simply and matter of factly as they come up.
- Show photos of the intended family: Move on from books by showing a few actual photographs to your kids. Select a half-dozen or so pictures of the intended family and explain who everyone is, why they want to have a new baby in their family, and how you are helping them. Little ones love seeing photos and hearing stories about the people in them. It’s a perfect way to make the whole situation real and personal for them.
- Get your children involved in photo-taking: Action time. Have you own children take some pictures of your own family and/or a beloved pet. Include these photos in a message to the intended family. This is a fun, creative way to let youngsters become a part of the developing relationship between the two families.
- Have children write letters or create artwork: Another level of creativity, in addition to taking photos, is making art or composing written messages. If kids are old enough to write or do a bit of painting, you can let them compose a simple encouraging message for the intended parents or make a small painting that can be given to the intended family.
- Instruct your kids about how to explain surrogacy to others: This step is essential. It will arm your children with appropriate responses about your family’s surrogacy situation, and help them deal with inevitable questions they’ll hear.
Resources for Parents
So what DO you say? If you need a little help explaining the whole concept of surrogacy to your kids, there are some excellent books available. Here are ten that made our list because they offer various viewpoints and interesting, engaging ways to speak with youngsters about the idea of surrogacy.
Consider reading these books aloud to children who are too young to read. But even for little readers, it’s best for you to read the books with them, stopping to share discussion points, explore questions, look at illustrations, and just enjoy the stories. All of these books are lighthearted and positive, and they’re all written in a way that keeps children engaged.
- The Very Kind Koala: A Surrogacy Story for Children, by Kimberly Kluger-Bell
- Sacha, the Little Bright Shooting Star: The Story of Surrogacy, by Sofia Prezani
- My Mom Is a Surrogate, by Abigail Glass
- Wanted: A Journey to Surrogacy / Un Viaje Hacia la Subrogación, a bilingual book in English and Spanish, by Carolina Robbiano
- You Began as a Wish, by Kim Bergman, PhD
- The Kangaroo Pouch: A Story about Surrogacy for Young Children, by Sarah Phillips Pellet
- Penny’s Pocket, by Elizabeth K. Hebl, MD
- Hope & Will Have a Baby: The Gift of Surrogacy, by Irene Celcer
- Sophia’s Broken Crayons: A Story of Surrogacy from a Young Child’s Perspective, by Crystal A. Falk
- Why I’m So Special: A Book About Surrogacy, by Carla Lewis-Long
Putting It All Together For Your Kids
Maybe the single most important thing to remember during your own surrogacy journey is to continue communicating with your child about what’s happening. Your body is changing. Your journey is progressing. Remember to let your children ask as many questions as they wish. Even if you do not have an answer, you can say: “Oh that is a really interesting question! I don’t have an answer just yet, but as soon as I do I will let you know.”
This ongoing openness and question-and-answer style dialogue is a great way for youngsters to absorb new ideas. Plus, it’s the ideal way to make the surrogacy a normal, natural, routine part of their lives. As a result, they’ll feel more at ease not only asking questions but explaining to others about what surrogacy is.
If you ever find yourself at a loss about how to respond to a child’s question, or just don’t know how to begin the conversation, speak with your surrogacy provider for ideas and assistance.
Remember, many people have dealt with kids of all ages, and while you can’t anticipate every question a child might bring up, rest easy in knowing that you can always speak with a counselor or other kind of specialist when you need help.