I swear I haven't been avoiding this topic this time. I just knew I'd really need to think about what I wanted to post and discuss it in a serious manner . . . Don't get me wrong, it's not like I'm usually sitting here drunk at my keyboard, half-assing my other posts, I just need this post to be as accurate as possible. You see, this is one of the subjects you won't hear too many Surrogates discuss, well, this and money. In retrospect, I think last time, I was too embarrassed to blog about it. I didn't realize at the time that what I was feeling was perfectly normal.
First of all, "The Blues" that sometimes follows your Surrogacy birth is hard enough to talk about with other Surrogates (if you even know any) . . . let alone trying to explain it to Non-Surrogates who won't get it. When I had Natasha and Anjali, I didn't know any other Surrogates. I didn't meet Stacie (online or otherwise) until after I gave birth. So when I went through it the first time, I was alone. From then on, I've tried to make it my job to seek out other Surrogates and introduce them to each other or at least Follow their blogs publicly and make supportive comments, so they knew they were not alone. It really makes a difference during your journey to have someone who knows what you're going through (for the most part). Yes, each journey is different, but there are several things that are very similar, if not identical, for us all.
After I gave birth to Natasha and Anjali, I came home feeling great about what I accomplished. I went through all my pictures (there were tons) and revisited my blog to remind myself what happened . . . Later, I would do this whenever I felt down. I think the first few days back after my second surro-birth were a little tougher. Out of respect for Gid and Harper's Parents, I didn't take any of my own photos. So when I got home, I had nothing to look at except for the special blog I created just for them. I was so thankful when hours after I left the hospital (a day after they left) they texted me pictures of the babies. A few days later they emailed me tons of pictures from our time in the hospital . . . it was exactly what I needed. Pictures of me with them, of them with their babies, of my kids with their babies, everything I needed to remind myself of the beautiful outcome to our journey.
Pictures or not, the first week or two are the toughest. I am a crier. I cry at cheesy movies and Oreo commercials. So, imagine a woman who has all these hormones from being pregnant, who just gave birth, who doesn't know what to do with herself and who has time to sit around and think of it all. For me, I would be fine, then I'd just start crying . . . for no reason and I couldn't control it. At first it was several times a day. Then after a week or two passed, a few times a day. Then a few weeks later, maybe once a day. Anything and everything could trigger it, like I said, I couldn't control myself. Then eventually, for me about 5 weeks, you notice you went an entire day without crying.
And here's where it is easier to talk to other Surrogates . . . most people, including my friends and strangers would see me crying and might think I missed the babies. Not so. What I THOUGHT it was, was me missing the contact with the IPs, but that wasn't it either. Both times after the birth the Parents would email, text and call me on a weekly basis. So in my head, I thought I was being abandoned, but I wasn't, NOT AT ALL . . again, no control over the feelings . . . even those that are totally unfounded or flat out wrong. I remember thinking the first few weeks, that they were ignoring me . . . but if I would rationally think about it, they had sent me flowers, cards and emailed me new pictures, called me to tell me about how the babies were doing. Heck, we'd even make plans to have them visit me or have me fly down and visit them. Is that being abandoned? NO! And even though I could rationally think of all of that and how it didn't add up to the way I was feeling, my behavior wouldn't change. Having no control of my feelings was tough, especially when you're a woman who is usually in control of everything.
I emailed some of my Surrogate friends 3 days after I got home from the hospital (6 days past Birth) when I finally figured it out. Here's an excerpt from that email. . . .
"In the past I've compared it to planning a wedding . . . how you spend almost a year planning for your wedding, this one day and in a matter of hours it's over. Yes, you're happy but later you're left with a "now what do I do" since you spent so much time on the planning . . it's like you feel empty in a way. But I finally realized what it's really like for me. . . it's like I got fired from a job I loved. My job was over and the company needed to downsize. I had done my job well but there isn't really anything else left for me to do . . . I don't like (feeling this way) this stage and I'm glad it doesn't last long."
Then about a week later . . .
"Can someone remind me how long "the blues" lasts? I can't remember . . . I'm over this not being in control of my tears. Went grocery shopping (for the first time since bed rest) and lost it in the store. LAME"
Here's that story- I knew I was still crying over whatever but needed groceries. I figured, it would be good to get back to normal, so I took off. About 15 minutes into my trip, with my cart half-way filled, I had a woman in her early sixties approach me. She said she had seen the article of me in Star Magazine and wanted to Thank me. She then told me her older brother was Gay and that when she told him about me, he started to cry. Well, that was all I needed to start bawling inside Safeway! I couldn't stop. I told her I was sorry. I thought about leaving my groceries and getting the hell out of there but my kids needed food. So I took several deep breaths and continued. A few aisles later, I ran into a friend who could tell I had just been crying. She made the mistake of asking me what was wrong . . . TEARS! I kept apologizing and telling her I couldn't control myself and that unlike my appearance, I was in fact okay. (I don't think she believed me). I don't think anyone would believe you in that situation . . . but that's how it would always play out. Whether it was Safeway or my dining room table, when I'd start to cry (for no reason) I'd start apologizing to whoever I was with and tell them I was okay. It was almost like an out of body experience. I was looking at myself thinking, "Jesus Kelly, pull it together" but just couldn't.
I think having a c-section doesn't help you get over the blues any quicker because as much as you try to get things back to normal, you can't. You are physically not capable of doing so. Hell, I had Sawyer (MY last baby) on Saturday morning and walked Ruby and Preston to school on Monday. This doesn't happen with a c-section. I am also well known for pushing my limits (Hello! Disneyland at 29 weeks pregnant with twins) so I have to make sure I take it easy. This means no going to the gym to get your mind off of it.
Lastly, one of my surrogate friends told me that she finally felt back to normal when she went back to work because for her, her job is her life. I think that's a great point but for me, I think I've made Surrogacy my life, part of my identity. It's what I do. It's who I am. It's what I blog about. It's how I spend my free time (following other blogs). It is something I can't get away from . . . and why would I want to? The Blues pass, but I will be me forever.
My Name is Kelly and I'm a Surrogate Mother.
For other Surrogates who read this, when you get to this part of your journey . . . if you need someone to talk to, you know where to find me. I am here.