The bonding process with your baby is one of the most natural things during pregnancy. But what happens when your bundle of joy is delivered through gestational surrogacy? Even though the Intended Parents are the biological parents, bonding may be done a little differently than normal. A myth about surrogacy is that Intended Parents may not bond with their baby through surrogacy, and this is just that – a myth. Intended Parents can still achieve a strong emotional attachment with their baby during the surrogacy journey through an active role in the surrogacy process and after delivery.
Here are some tips for developing that bond during the surrogacy process!
1) Attend Appointments & Meet With Your Gestational Carrier
Bonding starts during pregnancy. Be involved in every step of the surrogacy journey and attend as many appointments as possible. Not only does the baby get to hear your voice more often – you get to hear the baby’s heartbeat, see the baby via ultrasound, you are overall more informed and it helps build a better, more communicative relationship with your gestational surrogate by supporting her and being present at doctor appointments.
This doesn’t stop at appointments. Find some time to meet outside of doctor’s appointments. Find a
local bookstore, park or restaurant along with a time that’s convenient for both of you to have in person visits. She can catch you up on how the pregnancy is going, how she’s feeling, any upcoming appointments and you may even get an opportunity to feel the baby kick!
2) Journaling the Surrogacy Journey
Writing is therapeutic and while it might not provide initial bonding to the baby, the ability for the child to look back on everything in years to come may be beneficial for not only you, but the child. Include all of the emotions and feelings – big events like the first you heard their heartbeat, the first time you saw them move on the ultrasound. Include pictures, videos and invite other family members to do the same. A great way to do this is setting up an email address. That way any time the mood strikes or feelings hit you, it’s as easy as grabbing a smartphone and typing a 2 minute message. You may even want to consider sharing the email address with your gestational carrier. The parents-to-be and gestational carrier can each journal important pregnancy milestones together.
3) Voice Recordings
We all know babies have a sense of hearing inside the womb and hearing familiar voices, audio recordings or favorite songs are a big part of the parent baby connection. Creating voice recordings for your surrogate to play is a good way for the baby to recognize you before birth. Belly Buds are a set of small speakers that can be placed directly on the belly. They allow you plug into any computer, smartphone or tablet and play voice recordings, music and book readings.
Also when attending appointments, don’t be shy – talk to the baby. Let your baby hear your voice as much as possible!
4) Harmony Ball Pendant
A harmony ball necklace is a great way to share the pregnancy process with your surrogate. This necklace, usually made of sterling silver, contains a small bell on the end of a long chain, which is draped over a growing bump. The bell emits a soft chime with movement – very much like wind chimes in a soft breeze. Throughout the pregnancy, this sound can become soothing to the baby. After birth, the necklace is passed to the intended mother. The chain is often shortened to hang higher around the chest that way as the mother rocks and feeds the baby, the same familiar comforting sound is heard.
There is a lot of evidence that suggests skin-to-skin contact immediately after the birth is a major bonding experience for Intended Parents and babies. Physical contact provides a sense of security, calms and relaxes both parents and baby alike, regulates the baby’s heart rate and breathing, all of which help them to better adapt to life outside the womb. And with that intoxicating newborn smell, who in right mind doesn’t want all of the time for snuggles!
And last but certainly not least, remember that this isn’t a race. A bond forms over time with any
relationship and this one is no different. The bond between parents through surrogacy and their children is not only special but unique just like every person is!