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Where did I come from, Mommy? Explaining surrogacy to a child

Thanks to advances in reproductive technology, there's now a variety of ways in which a baby can come into the world. But how do you explain these (often complex) ways to a child? In a guest column on the Motherlode blog today, cancer survivor Amy Blumenfeld, whose long-ago treatment left her unable to carry and deliver a child, explains her approach:

When our daughter was born with the help of a gestational carrier in 2006, we decided that we never wanted to sugarcoat or lie to her about how she entered this world. Covering up in childhood but divulging the truth later on never sat right with us. Why lie? We couldn’t be more proud of the process and wanted her to feel the same. Her birth story in no way defines her. It gets equal billing with (if not lesser than) the fact that her favorite color is green and she loves mint chocolate chip ice cream. But still, we wanted her to be secure with the truth.

As expected, the day came when she noticed pregnant women and asked to see photos of my own big belly. I planted the seed when she was about 2  years old that my belly was “broken.” After all, I reasoned, it’s not a bad lesson to learn that beauty can emerge from imperfection.

Over the past few years the explanation has blossomed into a very elementary but completely factual and relatable version of the events that transpired: “It was like baking a cake. Daddy and I were the ingredients, our friend was the oven, you cooked for nine months and were ready on your birthday! You are our sweet, delicious cake!”

Somehow, it worked.

Previously: Sex without babies, and vice versa: Stanford panel explores issues surrounding reproductive technologies
Photo by joopey

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