A weekly skype call may be good for you and your gestational carrier.
I have been working in the field of fertility treatment for more than two decades and have been fortunate to be part of many gestational carrier and intended parent journeys. Many dedicated people put their hearts, and a lot of grit into making the magic of creating a family happen and I tip my hat to all of them. It’s an incredible process. The vast majority of journeys go well. Unfortunately, sometimes there are things that occur that are out of our control. Therefore, it makes sense to control the things we can control, one of which is the way we set up the relationship with the gestational carrier.
Embarking on a relationship with a gestational carrier can be like entering into an arranged marriage. Everyone has the same goal but often the people with whom you are matched are total strangers. Gestational carriers often have very different lives and may come from very different backgrounds.
The type of relationship people have with their gestational carrier and her partner can vary, and there is no right type of relationship. Some people hope to have only a casual relationship with their carrier. Sharing holiday cards and pictures in the future may be enough for them. On the other end of the spectrum, some intended parents hope their carrier will become their best friend. Regardless of the type of relationship you have with your carrier, it is beneficial to plan for a weekly Skype or Face time call.
Some intended parents may feel that a weekly call is an inconvenience or unnecessary. Others argue that they want the relationship to “develop naturally”. You may hit it off with your carrier instantly and it may grow easily and effortlessly on its own. However, that is not something upon which you can depend.
Think about other relationships where you may have little in common but you eventually connect. Maybe you know someone at work or at your place of worship who you may not have made friends with in college but because you see each other at meetings or social gatherings you find ways to connect. Over the course of time, several of these exchanges happen and you build a familiarity. You may even find things about each other that interest you. These may be things you would not have discovered in the first or second conversation. Your exchanges are integrated into your life and a foundation for connectedness and trust develops.
When you first meet your gestational carrier it is very exciting. You may have several opportunities to talk and socialize. You attend doctor’s visits together and share your feelings about the lack of good magazines in the waiting room or your fear of needles. Maybe you have dinner together or tour the local sites. The subsequent events can also be very exciting and give you and your carrier an opportunity to celebrate and feel joy together. There is the positive pregnancy test, she hears the heart beat for the first time and has an ultra sound at her local
gynecologists office. However, once the initial excitement diminishes, the connection can shrink as well.
The intended parents and the gestational carrier usually have busy lives. The intended parents often work hard and the gestational carrier often has a job and children to care for so the intensity of the initial connection is not typically sustainable. If there is no structure to keep the relationship growing, there is no way to predict if one party will get busy with work or another one with his or her children and inevitably, you may lose track of how much time has passed between calls. Couples who rely solely on texting to stay connected may lose the fluidity that only a conversation can provide. While this seems okay, the loss of momentum the relationship was enjoying can cause the connection to begin to erode.
All parties may feel friendly toward each other and decide they prefer the more casual nature of the relationship. This may work out well, but it could also become problematic. The carrier may call the intended parents to discuss her ultrasounds or doctor’s visits and slowly these topics may be the focus of all conversations. Over the course of the pregnancy the doctor’s visits will become less frequent and so there will be fewer discussions and now the discussions are mainly focused on the pregnancy. The gestational carrier may feel comfortable with this but she may also feel objectified. When she met you she enjoyed discussing her job, her children and her husband but now she is only discussing the pregnancy and may feel uncared for or simply a vessel to hold the baby.
Simultaneously, you may begin to feel that the relationship with their carrier is evolving into a connection that primarily concerns your developing child. You are no longer thinking about the carrier’s husband’s job interview or laughing with her about something funny her child did last week. The comfort, familiarity and trust may begin to lessen and the relationship may begin to feel less personal and more like a business relationship. This lack of intimate connection may make you feel more distant and cause you to feel more anxious about the fact that your developing child is growing in another woman’s body far away. Sometimes, when people are anxious in a relationship, they micromanage that relationship in order to feel a greater sense of control. If they micromanage their gestational carrier she will feel even more objectified, and on and on…
If a weekly Skype call is set up, it may feel forced and inconvenient but it may be extremely valuable. The call is a good time to talk about movies you like, what you did on the weekend, etc… Over time, you will develop a familiarity with your gestational carrier. She will also feel closer to you. This closeness can help to create a sense of trust and connection that can make your journey enjoyable and warm. It can also be extremely helpful if something goes wrong. Hopefully everything will go smoothly but if it doesn’t you want to feel a sense of trust and closeness to your carrier so you can discuss any issue that arises. Just think about talking to someone with whom you feel close. Its so much easier to broach a difficult topic with that
person than with someone with whom you have little more than a business connection.
There is one more important benefit to developing this relationship with your carrier. One day your child will want to hear the story about how he or she came into the world. It would be great to be able to share a story about a warm and friendly journey. Your child may want to meet his or her gestational carrier one day and it would be nice for him or her to hear nice things about the journey from her as well.
It is not necessary to have a weekly Skype call with your gestational carrier. Many successful journeys have done well without it. However, this simple plan may yield so many benefits that it may make sense to consider the half hour in your week a good investment that can yield many valuable dividends.