A recent article in the Sunday New York Times by Susan Straight gave me greater insight into the life of a surrogate mom. Making Babies, Just to Make Ends Meet describes the life of a surrogate mom and the clients she serves. Straight lives in a stable neighbor where “a lot of people don’t get government help although they could use it.” Straight was also surprised to discover that her neighbor made ends meet by helping other women become mothers.
During the course of a woman’s life, she will learn whether she can or cannot get pregnant. In both incidences, the answer usually comes as a shock. For me (a Type A, superwoman in recovery) the diagnosis of infertility was almost equivalent to death: my value as a woman died. Some 8 years after that dreadful diagnosis, the deadening silence of my barren womb was replaced by loud noise and laughter of my 2 sons who run around the house like Banshees, leave clothes on their bedroom floor and have to be reminded more than once to do their household chores.
For years I sat on the proverbial fence contemplating whether to seek IVF or adoption as my biological clock clicked louder and louder. It was the death of my mother and the profound loneliness that moved me into action. For those women who face a similar dilemma, please do not allow fear to block your blessings. Motherhood has very little to do with biology and everything to do with the heart. Those opportunities to become a mother might be residing in plain view.
My aunts raised their sisters’ children in addition to taking care of their own. Sometimes a family crisis will thrust motherhood into the lives of childless women without warning and they rise to the occasion. Although not a woman, the late Bernie Mack illustrated this beautifully in his TV show based on his real life story of raising his nieces and nephew to prevent them from becoming wards of the State.
Although IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) is an option for motherhood, there are other roads as well. Mitt Romney’s grandchildren are products of surrogacy and so are the children of actress Angela Bassett and Courtney Vance. Meg Ryan adopted a daughter from China and we’ve all seen Sandra Bullock’s adorable son, Louis.
The road to motherhood is not always straight, but if you think outside of the box, you can still reach your destination.