by Anna Buxton
In part 4 of her story, Anna Buxton tells us what she has learnt from her long and emotional journey through surrogacy to parenthood
As a new family of five, we stayed in San Diego for two months and enjoyed life in Southern California. Although surrogacy is a well trodden path in California, the paper work is still very complicated, from agreeing the medical insurance to applying for American passports. The stay also gave us the opportunity to spend time with Holly and her family. We all felt it important for her children to see us with the babies, the family they created, and appreciate the magnitude of what their mum had done.
What level of involvement did you have in your surrogates’ pregnancies. How much of a ’say’ can you have in what they do? Their environmental factors, their food, their lifestyle, and so on?
I always tell people that you should only consider surrogacy if you think you can put all your trust in another woman. I don’t think it is appropriate or respectful to try and stipulate how your surrogate looks after herself during the pregnancy. I have met many surrogates over the years and what they have all had in common is that they are dedicated mothers. I believed that both our surrogates would care for our pregnancy in the same way they cared for their own, and that they did.
Do you feel that the fact your children were born through surrogacy changes the relationship you have with your children at all?
No! However your children are brought into this world, whether you are genetically linked on or not, I believe has no impact on your relationship. When you finally have your children, however you do, you realise that the ones you have are the ones you were meant to have and the journey to get there finally makes sense.
Of course honesty it key. From before Isla could understand it, we have talked about how she came into this world and continue to do so proudly, repeatedly and consistently. She knows that my tummy is broken and so another mummy helped us by growing Isla in her tummy. And, we are doing the same for Olive and Art.
What do you wish you’d known when you first started the process of trying for a family?
Never did anyone suggest it was my fault but I went through this whole journey feeling like it was my fault because it was my body which had failed. I always felt guilty and sad that Ed would never see me pregnant and that I was less of a woman because of it. If I knew then what I know now about what it means to be a mother, I don’t think I would have felt like that. To me being a mother is about being there everyday for my children, doing the best I can everyday, probably making mistakes every day, but being there for them. I wish I hadn’t t carried that guilt for such a long time.
What advice would you provide to individuals or to couples who may be thinking about surrogacy?
Being a surrogate is an extraordinary gift and sacrifice. Whether you are doing surrogacy with a friend, independently or with the help of a charity or agency, you cannot short cut the process. Everyone needs to be emotionally, medically and legally informed. Spend the time to get to know each other, talk about all your expectations and surround yourself with experienced professionals who can help guide you through the process.
Surrogacy has given me the family I always dreamed of, a profound respect for my relationship that I will always cherish and I have come face-to-face with the generosity of women that makes me smile everyday.
If you have any questions at all, do drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit here to view The Cope Talks where Anna shares her story alongside other parents through surrogacy and leading experts talk through the process offering incredible guidance.