Surrogacy, as a possible thing for me to do, popped into my head years ago. I have had friends and family who struggled conceiving children and watching them struggle pulled at my heart strings. I even offered to be a surrogate once several years ago for a dear friend of mine, but she wasn’t ready to pursue that yet.
Starting in 2006, I became a stay-at-home mom and by 2011 I was the proud mother of three adorable kids. Over the years I dabbled in the work force, looked into attending grad school, tried my hand at opening an Amazon Prime store, and even looked into house flipping for a while. None of those paths were right for me, but until the summer of 2019, dabbling had worked for me. That summer, I found myself, twelve years removed from college graduation searching for entry level jobs to start a career. The application count began to add up, with more than 50 applications submitted to non-profits, banks, real estate companies, event spaces, office spaces, warehouses, etc.
The reason for my job search was a huge career shift that I encouraged my husband to take in June 2019. From 2010 until 2019 Kevin worked for large, demanding law firms that controlled his life, wreaking havoc on his physical and mental health. So that summer, only five years from the time our oldest child would be leaving the house for college, he took the opportunity to work as an in-house attorney, with more regular hours and a shorter commute. For the first time in nearly a decade my kids had their dad home for dinner nearly every night! In-house careers would normally be plenty of income for a family of five, but we had not prepared for it. We had allowed our expenses to grow as our income grew.
We all have wake up calls throughout our lives, moments or periods of time that become a shifting point for the rest of our life. My husband and I are still in this transition period. We hope that taking the risk of leaving a big law career, shifting the way we think about money, and focusing on what actually matters in life, will lead us to a more genuine, full, and beautiful life.
During this time, we discovered the F.I.R.E. movement, Side Hustle Nation, and so many other individuals encouraging entrepreneurship, frugality, and optimism. These ideas spoke to us and excited us. After living the first thirty years of our lives on a path laid out for us by others, by bad habits, and by societal pressures, we were ready to embark on unchartered territory.
I felt empowered slashing our expenses. Frivolous Amazon orders came to an end, our monthly dine-out bill was the lowest it had ever been, and subscription services were canceled. We began to teach our kids how to buy quality for cheap by shopping clearances and discounts. The kids also felt the change as we began paying them for household chores and asked them to help pay for some of their own expenses. Every day felt like a holiday when my husband arrived home around 5:30. I was excited for him to get a chance to focus on his health. I was optimistic and motivated enough for the entire family.
After all of the “easy” cuts were made we began to analyze our big expenses. While selling our house would be the easy solution, we came to the conclusion that we wanted to keep it. That left us with a hefty gap in the budget. My search for a job was an attempt to fill in that gap and put my husband at ease at his new job. And yet, when I finally got a job offer, I made the realization that if I took the job, I would be giving up time and flexibility that Kevin finally had. After listening to podcasts on entrepreneurship and side hustling, I thought to myself there had to be a better way. I did not know the way yet, but I said no to the one job that was offered to me.
We now arrive to the end of October 2019. I had taken a part-time job for a non-profit agency that I had volunteered at for the previous three years. It was a part-time, work-from-home position for a cause that I am very passionate about. The deficit in our budget had shrunk, but our savings was still dwindling, and I wanted to find another way to contribute to the family finances.
One evening I was scrolling through Facebook and saw that a Facebook friend of mine had another baby. I didn’t even know she was pregnant! As I scrolled through the photos, though, I realized, it was not her baby. She had been a surrogate! This was the solution! I told Kevin my crazy idea, waited a few days to reach out to this friend, and had the best feeling – I had found our answer!
Kevin had been working on building a side legal practice, one that would maintain our flexibility and time as a family, as well as meet our current financial needs. We just needed a temporary solution to help keep us out of the red while he builds the business. Surrogacy would give us nine more months of financial stability to do just that.
To Facebook I went, joining multiple surrogacy groups to research, potentially meet Intended Parents, and see if this path truly would work for our family. While my journey might have started for one reason, once I got matched with an intended parent, I soon realized that money would not be the primary benefit from this experience. I read through countless stories of joy, friendship, and love. The immense weight of what I was embarking on began to set in. Speaking to my match I got excited about being part of someone else’s story in such an intimate and real way. A surrogate’s path is called a journey, and while money may have been the sign at the trailhead of my journey, I know that the relationships we are building will be the beauty we find along the trail.