This is a question that I wish I’d asked more people with experience before naively sharing the news with my own family. Not everyone I told about my news was as excited about it as I thought they should be. I get it now that they were operating with way less information than I was, and I made a lot of assumptions about what they knew…and they made soooo many wrong assumptions without asking any questions.
Most of my family had very little understanding of what surrogacy was beyond what they might have seen on scary Lifetime movies or in celebrity gossip. Not only did they have skewed perceptions about what surrogacy is (like my dad), but some, like my sister, had genuine concerns about my well-being which led them to respond negatively.
Whatever the case may be, don’t assume that everyone you tell will be supportive of your decision, although many will. Be prepared to answer a lot of questions, and be very clear in explaining above all else that this is a decision that you made carefully, thoughtfully, and with rigorous research and investigation into the nitty gritty and maybe even boring legal, biological and ethical details of the process before jumping into it.
So you are asking that your decision be respected but you of course welcome genuine questions. Share resources on the research you’ve gathered.
If I had been a little more aware of the rampant misconceptions about infertility and surrogacy, and if I had it to do over again, I would wait and only share the news with the people closest to me whose support I would need to rely on. And in telling them, I would probably ask them first if they’d ever heard of surrogacy, what they knew about it, and what they thought about it. That way I could better gage the level of understanding I might be facing and have the opportunity to dispel any misconceptions right away.
For instance, when I told my dad that I was going to be a surrogate, he had such a strong negative reaction that caught me off guard and without a temperature check, I found it was very difficult to counter the emotional and sometimes rude responses I received.
Deciding when to tell everyone is totally personal, but as for me, I do wish I’d kept it secret a little bit longer from some people because their negativity bummed me out a little bit. If I had told them when I was already pregnant, they might have tempered their opinions a little better!
Kind of like when you’re choosing names for your baby…if you tell people the name you’re considering, they may feel comfortable sharing all of their unwanted and asinine opinions with you on how they feel about that name, or people they hated wit that name…if you tell them the name once the baby’s already been named, they’ll be wise enough to keep their blathering opinions to themselves (or at least one would hope).
How about you? How did you tell your family and friends about your decision to become a surrogate?