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Each and every surrogacy journey is different and beautiful in its own way. At Hatch, many of our team members are former surrogates, so we understand this journey better than most.
In honor of National Surrogacy Week, we are celebrating two of our incredible team members that have not only gone through several surrogacy journeys but are continuing to help connect Intended Parents with their perfect Surrogate match at Hatch.
Below are questions answered by our very own, Shoshannah and Mandy about their experiences as gestational carriers and perspectives on surrogacy.
Shoshannah: "When I was in junior high I used to watch the show “Friends” with my best friend. The character Phoebe Buffet was a surrogate for her brother, and that was the first time I heard of surrogacy and I thought it was amazing! My best friend asked me if I would carry her babies for her if she couldn’t someday and I told her “Of course!” Granted I had no idea what that required at the time, I did a lot of research and decided surrogacy was something I wanted to do someday. After I had my own first baby I did my research on agencies and chose Hatch as my agency and the rest is history!"
Mandy: "After giving birth to my first child, it changed me in every way. It made me kinder, more loving, and more understanding. Since that day I live all my days in a way that would make her proud. I live my life as an example to her. To think that some people don’t have this makes me sad. I didn’t know what true, unconditional love felt like until I held her. I knew I eventually wanted to help give someone that same feeling."
Shoshannah: "I have carried and birthed four surrogate babies, each for different families."
Shoshannah: "I have been honored to carry for the most incredible families who still keep in touch. They are like an extended family to us. After the births they have continued to send pictures and updates. Two of my families have had us out to visit them or come to see us still periodically years after the births so that has been very special. I feel like the cool aunt! Fun fact, my oldest surrogate baby is now taller than me, not that it’s a huge accomplishment because I’m only 5’1” but it cracks me up."
Mandy: "It has had its ebbs and flows throughout the years, but ultimately I know that they all have a lot of love and admiration for me and my family - and the feeling is definitely mutual."
Shoshannah: "I had a fantastic support system throughout my surrogacy. There was my husband, of course, my parents, my sister-in-law, cousins, and close friends. Everyone in our lives rallied around us and cheered us on. The agency was extremely supportive every step of the way. The intended parents were very supportive as well. I feel like we had everything we needed to make it a very memorable and positive experience each time.
Mandy: "I’ve had tons of support throughout my journeys-my husband, daughters, and all of my surrogate “sisters”."
Shoshannah: "Hatch is so much more than an agency, they are like family! I chose Hatch because I felt supported from the very first interaction when I was reaching out to get started and I continue to feel their support to this day with the Hatch team as my work family. When I did my first journey I was working as a manager for a tech company, and after I delivered I knew that I was meant to work in this field so I begged them to hire me. I’ve been working behind the scenes now with the Hatch team for twelve years. The Hatch team has been in my corner for all four of my journeys, they were always checking in on me and anticipating my needs. I could reach them anytime for emergencies. When I had some bumps along the way in my pregnancies they helped me navigate those and kept me and the intended parents calm and positive. I am SO grateful for this team!
Shoshannah: "I honestly found it to be easier than my own pregnancies because I knew that my family structure and budget weren't changing, and I had such ample support. While I don’t necessarily enjoy morning sickness or getting back in shape after each pregnancy, I feel like even those aspects of pregnancy were easier knowing I wouldn’t have a new baby to care for in the end."
Mandy: "It was definitely a different feeling. When you’re pregnant as a surrogate you’re a lot more cautious and probably won’t make the same choices as you would in your own. I’m always safer and make sure I do everything “by the book”. Which is not a challenge at all, it makes it more enjoyable to see your Intended Parents go home with a baby. You feel more accomplished. The other differences were definitely not having that giddy/nervous feeling of bringing a baby home. You’re not thinking of names, not imagining what they look like, not choosing a carseat etc. You know that when you go home you get to sleep soundly."
Shoshannah: "I got into optimal health by eating a healthy balanced diet and being active, this is the norm for me but I stepped it up a bit before surrogacy and focused on foods that would be beneficial for fertility. I got my support team on board so I would know who I could reach out to for help if needed. I also mentally prepared for how it would be different from my own pregnancy by talking to experienced surrogates and deciding to do some things differently. For example, in pregnancy, I always talk to the baby but in my surrogate pregnancies I told the baby about their parents and how excited they were, and I played music the parents liked that they would hear once they were born so it would be familiar. I played recordings of the parents’ voices too. I would tell anyone getting started to talk with one or more experienced surrogates and get their perspective, and to really do your research before choosing a program because the agency plays a big role in making it a positive experience."
Mandy: "Of course, I did a lot of research and I suggest anyone who is interested do the same. I was worried I would feel connected or have that sense of “something is missing” because of all the questions you get. I am, after all, a very emotional person. However, I knew this was what I wanted to do. Meeting the parents and knowing the reason you’re doing it is huge."
Shoshannah: "The best part, hands down, was seeing the parents hold their babies for the first time. Nothing else compares to those moments. It’s the reason to become a surrogate and I will always remember those moments so vividly. There isn’t a purer love in the world than the love a parent has for their child and to be a conduit to making that happen changed my life. Being a surrogate is such a big part of who I am, second only to being a mom myself."
Mandy: "The joy I see in their parents is what gives me butterflies. Knowing that I had a very small part in their continued joy, daily- makes my heart feel like it grew 10x bigger."
If you are interested in additional information regarding the surrogacy experience and how Hatch can help you in your journey, please reach out to us here. Feeling inspired? Apply to be a surrogate, today!