Navigating Through Loss
The grief of losing a baby is a heavily emotional one. During a surrogacy journey, some of these feelings and fears may be heightened and even new ones can arise. After all, in surrogacy, there are more parties involved and more factors at play than the traditional pregnancy method.
For intended parents, losing a baby during the journey may possibly be a reminder of other failed attempts they’ve had so far. Feelings of anger or frustration towards the process may come up. Perhaps, even feelings of mistrust or apprehension towards their surrogate.
For surrogates, this could possibly be their very first experience losing a baby. They may feel shock, confusion, even feeling like a failure. They may feel scared about what’s next or not know what to say to their intended parent(s).
Feeling an array of emotions is considered normal within the scope of grief and loss. It is said that there are 7 stages of grief; and we each get to allow ourselves to process them differently. It’s important to also consider how both surrogates and intended parents can support each other during this challenging
Here are 5 key pointers to effective support:
1. Vulnerability. Grief is a time where we get to let our guard down and open our hearts. Whether
you are close with your IP/Surrogate or not, this is a time to express yourself and remain open
as this can strengthen your bond. Transparency and trust are vital in surrogacy relationships.
2. Communication. The key to effective communication is to be clear. There may be language
barriers or cultural differences in your relationship. No one is a mind reader nor should anyone
have assumptions about how the other is feeling or what they are thinking. Verbalize your
thoughts yet remember to do so with sensitivity and compassion.
3. Words of encouragement. Using words and phrases that embody partnership can go a long
way. Saying something like “I’m sorry we are going through this” lets the other person know
you’re in it together and it’s not only their loss. “I am here for you” is simple yet indicates you
are holding space for them. “How can I best support you?” allows them to tell you what they
may need from you. We all need and/or give support in different ways, so it’s a great
opportunity to know how we can match the other person’s needs.
4. Clarifying questions. It can feel uncomfortable for some to ask the “tougher” questions in
moments of grief, yet they play an important role in the process in order to move forward. By
asking “How much time or space do you need?” or “When is a good time to chat again about
next steps?” – it allows the other party time to process while having an open invitation to
discuss what’s next for both of you.
5. Outside support system. Remember the saying “It takes a village…” – you’re not alone. Talk to
your loved ones, your agency, your doctors, and join some online support groups. It’s okay to
ask anything; no question is too simple or too detailed. Grief is a time where we seek answers,
and while we may not get all the answers we’re looking for, only you will know when you feel
comfortable enough with the information you have at hand. By talking to others, you will begin
to heal, and in the process, you will educate others about the intricacies of surrogacy as a whole.
Above all, there is no shame to be had. Our experiences are the chapters in the book of our lives. We each have a story to tell and the power to choose how we continue to weave our story together.
Michelle Minucci is the founder of Surro Fairy and also works independently as a life coach. She is passionate about helping all those who find themselves engaged with surrogacy navigate their journey with peace.
Do you have a story to share? We would love to feature you on our blog and Instagram.