“Rachel, what is it really like to be a surrogate?” is something I hear weekly. Maybe daily. From strangers, friends, and family.
What I tell them is that surrogacy is one of the best things to ever happen to me. I will carry other women’s babies for as long as I can. If I could, I would do it forever. Nothing competes with the joy of being able to give a child to a couple who so desperately want one.
As a single mother, I love my son with all my heart and he is all I’ve ever wanted, but I’ve always hated the thought of never being pregnant again.
I loved the excitement, the anticipation, and how strong and amazing I felt as a mama-to-be.
I couldn’t accept that I would never have any of those feelings again.
Then, in 2011, I came across a documentary about surrogacy and I never looked back.
I researched, watched videos, talked to other surrogates, spoke with experts, and began the process of becoming a surrogate three times (so far!)
What surrogacy means to me
It’s heartbreaking to hear how many people struggle to have children, whether that’s due to fertility issues, tragic losses, not having a partner, or being in an LGBTQ+ relationship.
Surrogacy not only gave me the chance to enjoy a pregnancy but be able to make other people’s dreams come true.
Seeing the excitement from the intended parents after a positive pregnancy test, at a scan, or being handed their child is indescribable.
Everyone deserves the chance to be a parent, and I’m so grateful to be able to give people their chance.
My journey began with a couple who had suffered years of fertility issues and losses.
I knew they would be such great parents, and it broke my heart that they might not have the opportunity to have a family of their own.
We chose the traditional surrogacy route (using my own eggs) and after three attempts, I fell pregnant with twins.
During the pregnancy, the intended parents and I did everything side by side - every scan, appointment, and meeting.
Their joy made the morning, afternoon, and evening sickness easy.
After a 23 hour labor, I gave birth to a healthy girl and boy.
Nothing could prepare me for the overwhelming feeling of seeing them hold their twins for the first time and being able to complete their so desperately wanted a family.
It was one of the best feelings I have ever experienced.
Heading home from the hospital without a baby was a strange feeling at first, but it passed quickly and I knew I wanted to do it all over again.
Within a few months, I was pregnant again, this time for a couple that had suffered a similar journey with a devastating loss.
The next nine months flew by, and before I knew it I was experiencing an amazing home birth.
It was so special and personal, and made even better knowing I had been able to give this couple the missing piece from their life.
After my second surrogacy experience, I decided to look into gestational surrogacy (carrying embryos already created either by the couple or donors) rather than using my own eggs, which opened my eyes to a whole new world of fertility.
After numerous blood tests, scans, hormone medication, injections, and counseling, I was ready for an embryo transfer for an amazing LGBTQ+ couple.
Things weren’t so easy this time around, I suffered an ectopic pregnancy, had to have my right fallopian tube removed, and experienced a devastating failed cycle.
But I wasn’t giving up, this couple deserved to be pregnant.
The next attempt worked and I gave birth to a happy and healthy little boy.
I can honestly say I have loved every minute of being a surrogate.
I hope to experience it again soon, so I can be a part of another couple’s journey and help them complete their family.
The feeling is unmatched, and I’m not ready to stop just yet.
But in the meantime, I’ll continue to help as many people as I can by sharing my journey and experiences, and offering support on Peanut.