How can I bond with my baby during surrogacy?

We’ve all seen the posts, tips and highlight reels describing the magical experience that is pregnancy. Many hopeful parents beginning a surrogacy journey may have feelings of uncertainty or inadequacy because they don’t fit the typical narrative. But trust us, these feelings are normal for all parents – especially parents taking a path they may never have expected. If you’re wondering how to best bond with your baby during surrogacy, we’re sharing our best advice.

Emotional support
First and foremost, a surrogacy journey is unexpected for most couples. Whether you’ve suffered through infertility struggles, or simply do not have a uterus to carry a child, most parents don’t know the surrogacy process until they start their journey. Worries about the process are totally normal, but it can be incredibly helpful to speak with a support professional to navigate your concerns. Specialized fertility therapists have experience walking parents through the fears that come with surrogacy, and are a great resource if you feel in over your head.

Open communication
One of the best ways you can be present for your baby during this journey is to be there for your surrogate. Keep in mind that there is a fine line between supportive and overbearing, and the last thing you want to do is stress out your surrogate, so it is important to plan your communication ahead of time. When you begin your surrogacy journey, make sure you lay out what you want your communication to look like and ensure all parties are comfortable. This could mean weekly video calls, text or email communications, attending medical appointments, or even using apps or devices to connect more with your baby during development. Laying out these plans beforehand will make everyone involved feel prepared and connected during pregnancy.

Connect with tech
We know it can feel strange to go through your pregnancy journey with someone else being actually pregnant. By now, hopefully you’ve emotionally prepared for the surrogacy journey and have built a solid plan with your partner, your surrogate and all needed medical professionals. If you want to try out creative ways to be “present” as your child grows during pregnancy, there are a few tools and tricks you can use.
Studies have shown that babies can recognize music and voices that they heard in utero – and there are ways to mimic this effect, even from afar. “Belly headphones” or “bump headphones” allow you to play music or recordings to your baby. If your surrogate agrees, you could share your favorite songs or even recordings of your own voice to play for your baby. You could even record yourself reading your favorite books, singing lullabies, and more.

Parenting is the real connection
Your worries during surrogacy are valid, but we want to remind you that the most important thing during pregnancy is that your baby is healthy. Tech tools and tips for connection during pregnancy are all well and good, but the most important bonding will happen after your baby arrives. We’ve worked with countless parents who felt a sense of “imposter syndrome” during surrogacy, but soon realized the connection that truly mattered was parenting their child.
If you’re concerned about bonding during your surrogacy journey, we encourage you to work with a counselor, communicate openly with all parties, and use whatever tools or tips make everyone feel comfortable. But don’t worry – you will have plenty of time to connect as you raise your child. Whether you carried the pregnancy does not make you any less of a parent!