what can i say about our surrogate, considering we didn’t learn very much about her in the short time we spent together? sure, we got a profile a day or two before, and it let me know her name, that she is 27, that she was disease free, has two children already, is married, is a house-maid, has a grade five education, is Muslim, her height and weight, and that she’s never done a surrogacy before, but that’s just on paper.
when we went back to the clinic that day, we went into the meeting room and then she and her husband and her daughter came in. they were all clean, well-dressed and looked healthy. the clinic had informed us that they had been in the washroom getting ready for the meeting. i was all hot and sweaty and red and flustered, so she (they) seemed a lot more presentable than i did, in my opinion. i think they had all dressed up in their best, though none of the three was wearing shoes; i didn’t notice this actually, it was my MIL that pointed it out afterwards. i can only imagine they can’t afford foot wear, because most people in Mumbai were wearing at least flip-flops. i can’t say for sure though, maybe it was their preference? maybe they had taken their shoes off at the door? i dunno. the surrogate was wearing a pretty green sari.
neither the surrogate nor her husband spoke any English at all, so one of the clinic staff had to translate. we were both given the opportunity to ask questions and speak to each other, and hubby and i thanked her profusely for being our surrogate, and let her know that we were unable to have a child and that once we did have a baby, we would provide it with a home full of love and education and happiness, to the best of our ability. she basically just nodded. i don’t really know if this matters to her or not. after all, i guess that is what you would expect someone to provide for their own baby; it’s not like we are adopting one of hers and she needs reassurance. in hindsight, i guess we didn’t really know what to say either, so that’s just what came out.
when asked if she had any questions for us, she said no. this surprised me, and it took me awhile for me to get over the surprise at this, probably days.
in my mind, i think maybe she was a bit freaked out. i know this is her first surrogacy, and that would certainly freak me out. there are so many things about it that would be scary, especially when you have two small children of your own. she’s going to have to go live apart from them for months and months, and while i am assured that she will have visits with her family, she is used to being with them 24/7, so she’s got to feel some sort of anxiety about that… i can’t imagine. seriously, i was nearly crying leaving my cats for six days, so i have no comprehension of what this must be like for her to think about. plus the pregnancy part, and the usual risks of pregnancy, plus living with strangers, and i am not even sure if she lives in Mumbai normally.
so, in reality, while people can fantasize about how there are altruistic surrogates out there. and there may be (particularly in North America, or in cases where they are related to the childless couple), the more this sets in to my mind, the more i come to terms with the fact that this is a very clear financial arrangement, and the only motivation for a woman in this family-centric culture to leave her family life for 8-10 months would be a chance to better her (and her family’s) life financially.
this helps me to understand why she may have seemed indifferent, but i also realize that the language barrier, the tons of paperwork, the strangers with big smiles and mumbo jumbo, the medical staff (different cultures feel differently about medical staff), the photographing, and the fact that the meeting was a week early (as far as they were concerned), could have all contributed to how she felt, and i won’t jump to conclusions. i will also perhaps try to speak to her more on the next visit, maybe come prepared with a few questions, and a functional brain. maybe then there will be something more, or maybe not. either way, i am fine with it…. i actually want this to be as comfortable for her and her family as possible. i have very little anxiety over it, and will take it as it comes. i think it’s best if we do this on her terms, whatever those are.
anyways, she looked lovely and seemed like a very nicer person…. but that’s truly about all i can say, which surprises me.