Last Friday, Nathan Chan from Proud Fertility, a Surrogacy Consultancy Based in Canada and I sat down to discuss How to Survive Your Miscarriage. After we talked, I wanted to specifically address how to survive your miscarriage as a surrogate. Miscarriage is an intricate loss and as a surrogate, this type of loss can feel even more complex. While there is nothing anyone can say, or do to prepare you for a pregnancy loss, here are some tips on how you can get through this difficult time as a surrogate mother.
- Honour Your Body: No matter how far along into the pregnancy you were, your body after loss requires lots of TLC. Treat your body like a postpartum body, because it is a postpartum body. Ask yourself how you would have treated your body after the baby had gone to its intended parents. Treat yourself in the same way. Allow space for you body to rest and heal. Be gentle and compassionate with yourself. Allow your body to return to a place of balance before you try and move forward. It is OK to take this time out.
- Feel Your Feelings: This is one of the most important tips I can give. We live in a world that is very uncomfortable with negative emotions or challenging feelings. However, the only way to get through any challenge is to GO THROUGH it. We can not numb ourselves or try to quickly carry on without first allowing ourselves to FEEL. As a surrogate mother your feelings might be harder to identify. This is OK and totally normal. Whatever feelings show up, allow them to show up without trying to block or changing them to a positive one. Rather then blocking your feelings, allow them to move through you so you can release them. Understand that no matter what emotions have surrounded your loss, they are all normal.
- Speak Your Truth: As a surrogate, speaking your truth is vital to your healing. Speaking your truth as a surrogate mom might mean saying no to baby showers or postponing a night out on the town. Speaking your truth also means saying how you are really feeling. When friends or family ask how you are, be truthful. Do not say you are “fine” if you are not. People can’t support you if they don’t understand the impact the miscarriage has had. Every surrogate’s truth will be unique to them… speak YOUR truth unapologetically.
- Tell Your Story: One of the biggest ways to heal from a miscarriage is to tell your story. What telling your story does, is connect you to other women who have experienced loss. As a surrogate who has had a miscarriage this connection can be even more profound. In telling your story, feelings of blame or feeling “broken” can have an outlet, and you will begin to see the normal range of emotion that can surround surrogate miscarriage.
- Memorialize Your Loss: The loss of a pregnancy, regardless if you were going to parent the child or not, is still a loss. Memorializing your loss is a tangible way to honour it. This is something that you can do if it feels right and if it helps you on this journey. Some surrogate mothers plant a tree, get a tattoo, or release balloons on the anniversary of the loss. How you memorialize your loss is completely up to you—there is no “right” way, just what feels right for you.
Going into a pregnancy with the intent of giving the child to another family to raise it, does not diminish this very significant loss. If you are a surrogate mother who has had a miscarriage know that you are not alone.