It is especially important to take into account the needs of a newborn child because the immediate transition from a surrogate mother to biological parents can become traumatic even if it is not obvious at such an early stage of life.
Parents are connected with deep bonds with children throughout their lives. This subtle psychological connection awakens in the parents an instinctive desire to take care of their children, protect them, take active part in their upbringing and development. It is extremely important for the child's sense of security, the formation of his right self-esteem and overall well-being.
Psychologists call this connection "affection", and research shows that it begins to form long before the birth of the baby. The child gets acquainted and learns his mother all nine months of intrauterine development. He learns to recognize her by voice and heartbeat and identify her mood, movements. The mother, in turn, feels her child in terms of movement and activity. The theory of prenatal attachment suggests that this relationship positively affects the healthy course of pregnancy, preparation for childbirth and childbirth itself and further interaction between the baby and the mother.
But what happens when a child`s mother is a surrogate and it does not have any connection with her biological parents during the intrauterine development?
When a child is born by a surrogate mother, an emotional transfer must occur from the surrogate mother to the genetic parents. This transfer allows parents and the child to communicate with each other. This article is about such an emotional transfer. In it, we collected pieces of advice and recommendations that will help you establish a healthy connection with your baby born by a surrogate mother, before and after birth.
1. Preparation for emotional transfer
Since biological parents do not fully acquire prenatal experience with their baby, it is extremely important to take a number of steps, which will allow them to prepare for the emotional acceptance of the child and make sure that they are ready to develop healthy affection.
Chris Probasko, a licensed clinical social worker specializing in surrogacy motherhood and reproduction, argues that emotional transfer is the culmination of a surrogacy motherhood program and a crucial stage for all program participants. Probasco, who has more than 40 years of experience in adoption, the donor concept and surrogacy motherhood, says that the key to a successful emotional transmission is to focus on the needs of the child.
"Throughout the process, the focus should be on the needs of the child, not on the wishes of the parents," she says. "This will lead to a much better adoption and linking."
Here are some of Probasco's tips for potential parents about developing healthy links with their future child before its birth.
Sorrow for your loss
Many intended parents choose surrogacy motherhood after many years of fighting infertility. Probasco says that it is right for them to forget the bitterness of losses and disappointments before the birth of their child.
"We know that they have already gone through a painful path full of grief and tears, connected with the fact that they cannot conceive and bear the child," she says. "They had many failures, so they really want this surrogacy motherhood to be successful, and this will lead to the long-awaited fulfillment of the dream of a happy, complete family. I hope that by the time the child is born, the bitterness and pain will subside. "
Eliminating negative emotions and memories, sorrowful experiences and grieving loss ahead of schedule will allow you to focus on your baby's needs, as well as on your positive emotions associated with the upcoming event and link yourself to your newborn baby.
Be involved in pregnancy
Potential parents are encouraged to participate as much as possible in the life of a surrogacy mother during pregnancy. Probasco recommends joint doctor visits, walks and classes, decorating a future child's room and buying things and toys for the newborn.
"The more biological parents participate in prenatal development of a child, the better they will be emotionally prepared for his birth," says Probasko.
When you take an active part in a child's life before birth, you encourage the development of emotional acceptance and attachment in anticipation of your child.
Talk to your child
"We know that the child has an acute sense of smell and hearing, and it is already tied to a carrying mother through hearing, smelling and touching," says Probasco.
The more often you can talk to your child, the better. Probasco offers to write monologues or read books to the child and send the tapes to your surrogate mother.
Create transitional elements
A surrogate mother can also take additional steps to help prepare something for a child to adapt easier. She can play her favorite music and share it with you. The child will hear the familiar melodies when you bring it home. Probasco recommends that surrogate mothers sleep with a teddy bear, who will go home with the child.
2. Emotional transfer at the hospital
Emotional transmission is the culmination of the hard work of every person in the process of surrogacy motherhood. This is one of the most exciting, important and emotional parts of the entire surrogacy motherhood process, and right now future parents should be most focused on the needs of their newborn baby, says Probasco.
Here are her tips for meeting your baby's needs at birth and creating a painless emotional transfer from a surrogate mother to a new family:
Confirm the feelings of the child
"When your child is born, he or she" must confirm his sense of smell, touch and hearing, "and they can get it only by being in contact with a surrogate mother," says Probasco. "The best way to develop the situation is that when a child is born, he or she should feel a surrogate mother to touch, hear and confirm the smells he/she is familiar with."
Probasco says that if a surrogate mother is not emotionally ready to hold a child, she can touch his or her hand and leg.
Physically transfer the child to biological parents
Ideally, says Probasco, then the surrogate mother passes the child to the genetic parents. Probasco says that this is important not only for the child, but for all participants.
"This is good for a surrogate mother, because she will see that the family is full, and the process of surrogacy motherhood is brought to a logical conclusion," she says.
Binding through touch
After the physical transfer of the child, you should strive for contact skin to skin as much as possible. Probasco says that this is one of the best ways to stimulate the development of attachment. Biological mothers may even consider breastfeeding their child with a surrogate mother as one of the ways of powerful physical contact and communication.
3. After emotional transfer
Emotional transfer in the hospital is only the beginning of the process of creating attachment. Potential parents have a long way to go, as they get used to the everyday problems of education and begin to become attached to the child.
To continue the formation of a healthy attachment to your baby after appearing in your home, Probasco gives the following recommendations.
Stay in touch with a surrogate mother
Probasco suggests that parents continue to see a surrogate mother for a couple of weeks after the birth of the child. "This simply confirms the child that it has not lost anyone, and this gives everyone the confidence that the surrogate motherhood process was successful," says Probasko.
Emotional attachment does not occur immediately for everyone, even for mothers who have physically given birth to their children. It may take some time for you to get used to your child, and for him or her to get used to you. Probasco says it's important to give time and not to worry.
"The child will cry, like all children," says Probasko. "Potential parents should know if the child is fussy or upset, this is not related to the surrogate mother or the transition to a new family."
In fact, expecting parents have nine months to establish an emotional connection with the child before birth, prepare for successful emotional transfer, and, as a result, attachment and bond will occur naturally. It can be the same strong and permanent connection as in families where the baby is born naturally, it is only a matter of time, patience, positive attitude and readiness to go through the process together in love and support.