The battle begins
Sometimes I look at myself in the mirror, now that I’ve reached the dizzying heights of motherhood, and I experience something like vertigo. I catch my reflection, remember what it took to get here, and I think, “Oh, yes! That all happened to you! How bizarre.”
I lost my fertility to breast cancer treatment 10 years ago, but I didn’t know carrying my own baby would be impossible until I started trying. “Oh, no chance,’’ the doctors said, not in so many words, but it felt brutal nonetheless. What followed was an epic four-year battle; five rounds of IVF using donor eggs in Russia, two pregnancies, two miscarriages. Then surrogacy in the US, four US surrogates, two embryo transfers, two failures, one last embryo representing all of our hope, and…? Well, here I am, two emotional years later, more happy, fulfilled and exhausted than I knew it was possible to be.
Acts of kindness
Being the mother to a surrogate baby is actually supremely normal. It’s as boring as being sat next to that person who shows you how cute their baby pictures are. Because by this point, out the other side, I am that person. Just an ordinary mother, still coming to terms with how difficult it was to get here, but covered in just as much snot as the next person.
Although, I maintain that having a baby this way is extra special. I count myself lucky I’ve experienced the kind of journey that brought my surrogate into my life. I’ve met, and now become friends with, a true altruist – she’s taught me a lot about kindness and I’ll always be grateful for her.
Worth the wait
I am grateful that I got to meet my daughter this way, too. I like to imagine she had time while she sat frozen among her embryo friends, waiting for her turn to become a person, to think about what kind of bond she was going to develop with her doting mother from day one. Because so did I. Every day our goal got further and further away from us was another day of longing and hoping for her. Another day of building the kind of love that surpasses any kind of traditional bond I’d read about or worried I wouldn’t have. I realise that because of what we went through we are extra lucky to have each other and I could never wish for more than that.
Sophie’s book, The Mother Project: Making It To Parenthood The (Very) Long Way Round (Harper Collins, £14.99), is out now.