Last week, on the day we reached the second trimester, I announced the surrogacy to the world on facebook via a link to a post on our family blog. The positive response has been incredible. Way more people have commented or talked to me to express support than I ever imagined. I can’t even express how gratifying and comforting it has been to get such a wonderful response, especially after building this big secret up in my mind over months and months. I’m sure there are people who don’t love the idea, but so far they’ve all been silent. The closest thing to a negative response was an acquaintance at church who just kept using the word “interesting.” But even he was really being sincere and trying to understand the whole story; I can’t blame him for not totally getting it.
In said blog post, I tried to answer a lot of the questions people ask when they find out I’m a surrogate: What made you decide to do this? Won’t it be hard to give up the babies? How does Knox feel about it? What about your kids? I had no problem being forthright about everything. That is, everything except the sexes of the Intended Parents.
So it’s a little ironic that I talked to several friends who used the phrase “coming out on facebook” to describe my announcement. I have felt like a real coward for not being up front about Urs and Ingmar. I’m so proud to be working with them, and honestly they are the coolest part of this whole process. I love and support them as parents 100%. But I just didn’t want to handle any crap from people who don’t agree with me. And that made me feel weak.
But then I turned to the surrogate forum to see if this is the same tactic other surrogates have taken. The agency I’m working with sort of specifies in gay parents, so most of the surrogates on the forum are carrying babies for two dads. A couple of the ladies said that they too don’t bother explaining the family makeup to the non-essential people in their lives. One responder put it especially well:
what helped put small-minded people in their place was to always break the news that these weren’t “my babies” in my belly by saying I was carrying them for “another family”. That way, whatever perfect Normal Rockwell bs americana picture they have in their mind of what a “family” is can survive without me having to rock their world with the news that this baby has two daddies. then if the issue does come up, they’ve had time to get over the initial shock of the weirdness that i’m doing this for someone else, and start to absorb the fact that this baby has loving parents who have been waiting for years for this moment, and that their gender is not the primary concern.
Knowing that other surrogates have treated this the same way I have makes me feel a LOT better.
I do think word is going to get out about Urs and Ingmar sooner or later. There are people who know the truth, and it’s likely those people are going to tell other people; I haven’t told anybody to keep it a secret. And, after the birth, I know I’ll want to share photos of the daddies with the babies. And me with the daddies and the babies. I highly doubt any of my long-lost high school friends or church acquaintances are going to confront me about this, so what’s the point of me making it an issue up front?
I gotta say, though, I kind of like the idea of making it an issue, in a way. One of my fellow surrogates on the forum said she didn’t feel the need to be a crusader for gay rights. But… I kind of feel like I could be that crusader. Part of why I’m doing this is because I believe it’s right, and I want other people to see that. I have daydreams about bringing Urs and Ingmar to church on Father’s Day. They’ll be in town for the ultrasound, and I think they would like seeing the children sing their father’s day songs. Should I do it? Probably not. I don’t want to make these two people I love into some kind of political statement or public spectacle. Plus, Father’s Day is a sacrament meeting that is likely to have talks about “The Family” and traditional gender roles. I don’t want Urs and Ingmar to have to sit there and listen to that hogwash.
Still, the idea of walking into the chapel with them, daring everyone to say they don’t belong in our church… it’s very tempting.