Families are such an integral part of the surrogacy process! We are grateful for Jessica’s husband, Eric, and his willingness to share about his experience supporting his wife.
Q: What were your thoughts when you first heard that Jessica wanted to be a surrogate and carry a baby for someone else?
A: Jessica is really good at explaining things. I had no clue surrogacy was even done that much in the U.S. My first thoughts were, why take the risk; anything could happen when you put yourself in that situation. My second thought was, how are you going to feel after delivery, are you going to want to keep the baby? Are you going to be mentally okay letting the baby that you carried 9 months go? She knew all the risk, and assured me she would be fine after delivery. We had already decided we didn’t want any more kids, so I guess that made that part a bit easier for her. She was very passionate about doing this, and really like the thought of helping someone that couldn’t carry a baby. After a few more discussions and weighing out the pros and cons, I told her it’s her body, and I would support whatever she wanted to do. I would do everything I could to help along the way.
Q: Were your extended family and your friends supportive? Did they ask you any uncomfortable questions, and if so, how did you answer?
A: I thought my family would be supportive, but they all surprised us. They took it way better than I thought they would have. Everyone was so interested and thought Jessica was an amazing person for doing this for someone. This was the same for all my close friends, very supportive. Of course, lots of questions, but we were very open with the whole situation and answered every question. Jessica transferred right before I flew to St Louis for my company Christmas party. She decided to skip that one, since the transfer was three days before I flew. Everyone asked where Jessica was, so I went ahead and let everyone know, and that weekend we talked more about Jessica being a surrogate than anything else. Again, everyone was so interested and just thought Jessica was a great person to do this.
Q: How did you explain surrogacy to your kids?
A: Our daughter, Shelby was 7 at the time of the first surrogacy. We explained that Mama was pregnant but the baby wasn’t ours. She was just carrying the baby for someone that really wanted a baby, but couldn’t have one on their own. Shelby thought this was great, and was so proud of Jessica for doing this for someone. Our son Evan was only 2 at the time, so we didn’t have to explain much to him. Once Jessica started showing we talked to him more about Mama having a baby in her tummy.
Q: Did you meet the IPs? How was that for you?
A: Yes, the first time we met was after the embryo transfer. They came to our house, and I thought it would be awkward, but it wasn’t. They were really nice people, and our kids loved them. They even came to Shelby’s soccer game while they visited.
Q: Were you in the delivery room? Tell us how that was for you.
A: Yes, I was in the delivery room. I wanted to be there to support Jessica and do anything I could for her, just like I did when she had our own kids. The parents were also in the delivery room. Jessica wasn’t sure how she would feel about that, but by the time she delivered the baby, we had gotten to know the parents pretty well. That seemed perfectly normal, not strange at all having them in there. I mean it was their baby, and especially being their first, that’s something we thought they should be apart of.
Q: What would you want other partners of surrogates (who are new to the process) to know — any advice to share?
A: I would say just be open about it, explain the situation and how the process works. You will be surprised how people are interested and impressed that you and your wife can do this for someone else, or at least that’s how it went for us.
Q: Anything else you want to add?
A: My wife is on her second journey, and we have had a great experience with both sets of parents. Both have been great and so grateful for what you’re doing for them. It’s a life experience that I’m really glad that Jessica decided to do, not only for Jessica and me, but also for both of our kids. They got to meet the parents and hold the baby; I believe it was a good life experience for them as well.