Surrogacy is a complex subject, one that not even many adults easily understand. As a result, it can feel pretty daunting to approach your child about surrogacy. The birds and the bees is enough of a tough topic as is! However, helping your child learn what surrogacy is and involving them in the surrogacy process is extremely valuable.
By gaining a better understanding of surrogacy and how it works, your child will know what to expect and possibly even have a more positive and accepting attitude toward surrogacy as a whole.
Explaining Surrogacy To A Child – 5 Tips On How To Make It Sound Normal
Figuring out the best way to approach surrogacy with your child is tough, bottom line. Luckily, we’re here to help you. Here are five useful tips to help get you started.
1. Be Open And Honest.
First and foremost, it’s important that you don’t stretch the truth or tell those seemingly innocent white lies to your kids. It’s okay to be uncomfortable talking about some of the more intimate details of surrogacy and how it works, but you should still aim to be realistic and accurate. (That means leave the stork out of it!)
You don’t have to go too deep into the birds and the bees, but you can still explain to your child the basics – such as that some mommies and daddies can’t have babies on their own and that they need help from a special person called a surrogate to grow their family.
2. Be Age Appropriate.
Along with that, it’s important to also make sure you are talking about surrogacy to your child in an age-appropriate manner. For younger children, you often don’t have to go too in-depth with your explanation. Your explanation can be as simple as saying that surrogates are special people who help mommies and daddies (or however your family is composed) grow their family and have a baby.
It’s a good idea to use simple language that your children will easily understand. Otherwise, you might confuse them. As your children get older, the way you explain surrogacy to them can grow and evolve. Your children will likely ask a lot of questions, so base how you continue the conversation with them on the questions they ask.
3. Let Them Ask Questions.
With that in mind, talking about surrogacy with your child is going to involve a lot of questions. Think about how many questions your child may ask you as you try to explain surrogacy, then multiply that number by 10, and that’s roughly the number of questions your child is likely to ask as you approach the topic of surrogacy with them.
By nature, kids are inquisitive beings, and one way that they learn about the world around them is by asking questions. You can try to prepare in advance to answer the questions your child might have.
This is especially a good idea when it comes to answering questions that are difficult to answer, such as, “Why can’t mommy have a baby in her belly?” if you’re an intended parent or, “Why can’t we keep the baby that’s in your tummy?” if you’re a surrogate.
4. Keep Your Child’s Emotions In Check.
As you answer your child’s questions, be sure to always be considerate of how they may be feeling and what thoughts they may be having. Surrogacy is complicated and confusing, so it may take time for your child to process it. Encourage your child to express their emotions and tell you how they feel.
Some children may have a hard time coming to terms with surrogacy; they may be concerned that the baby the surrogate is carrying does not actually belong to them or that they themselves will be taken to live with a new family. Reassure your child by telling them that you love them and that surrogacy is just another way for mommies and daddies to grow their families.
Make sure they know they are loved and will continue to be cared for.
5. Have A Positive Attitude.
Most importantly, always be sure to maintain a positive attitude as you talk to your child about surrogacy! Children often emulate how their parents act and think. By approaching surrogacy with a positive attitude and emphasizing how special surrogacy is, your child will grow up with the perception that surrogacy is as incredible as it truly is for many families.
Surrogacy should be an ongoing, open dialogue between you and your child. Be sure to encourage your child to ask questions and to let you know how they are feeling. Involve them throughout the surrogacy process as well.
By being involved in your surrogacy journey, your child may be more easily able to process their understanding and interpretation of what surrogacy is.
Ways You Can Introduce Surrogacy To Children
Here are some ways you can introduce and involve surrogacy to your children:
- Read to your child books that talk about surrogacy. Consider reading books that talk about other ways of growing a family. By introducing these books early, you will normalize the concept of surrogacy to them.
- When you read these books, you can also ask your child questions about their thoughts on surrogacy, such as what they would think if you became a surrogate or if they had a brother or sister from a surrogate.
- After you have started the surrogacy process and been matched, talk to your child about who the surrogate or intended parents are. Talk to them about why you are helping them or why you are using a surrogate.
- Have your child draw pictures or, if they are old enough, write letters to the baby, the intended parents, or surrogate.
- Let your child pick out a special item, such as a toy or a blanket, for the new baby.
Children’s Books That Talk About Surrogacy
While every family’s situation is unique, there are many children’s books that have been written about surrogacy.
Consider reading one of these books to your child to help them learn more about surrogacy.
- Why I’m So Special: A Book About Surrogacy With Two Daddies by Carla Lewis-Long
- The Kangaroo Pouch by Sarah A. Phillips
- Sophia’s Broken Crayons: A Story of Surrogacy from a Young Child’s Perspective by Crystal A. Falk
- Grown in Another Garden by Crystal A. Falk
- The Very Kind Koala: A Surrogacy Story for Children by Kimberly Kluger-Bell
Involve Your Children In Your Surrogacy Journey
If you are having trouble talking to your children about surrogacy, we can help. We can work with you to identify ways to make everyone in your family understand and appreciate your surrogacy journey. Contact us today.
Interested in learning more about how you get your children on board with surrogacy? Contact Family Inceptions today.