My mother taught me at a young age that sharing your life story is fun. I grew up watching my mother chat with grocery clerks, bank tellers, and even door-to-door salespeople. My siblings and I joke about our mother’s unabashed storytelling, or as some may put it, over-sharing. In reality, though, I know that she always has a smile and friendly words for strangers because she sees the beauty in making human connections. She taught me to see value in sharing my story with others and listening to others share their own. Being vulnerable and sharing our stories has the power to build and strengthen relationships with those around us as we learn from each other.
Sharing my choice to become a surrogate has surprised (or shocked) many of the people in my life. Lucky for me, however, I find entertainment in observing other peoples’ reactions. Like my mother, I, too, am very open with those around me, much to my husband’s chagrin! I’m an open book about pretty much any topic, including our financial journey (both successes and failures), so naturally, my close friends are always curious to hear about my latest side hustles.
To call surrogacy a side hustle may sound a little cavalier to some, but it is a realistic word to describe what the journey was to me when I began, as I previously discussed here. Over the last two years, I have pursued many financial endeavors in pursuit of one that could be sustainable (even if temporary) as a mom of three and wife to an incredibly busy husband. My side hustles have included renting out a car on Turo, a gym receptionist, an Amazon dock worker, a writer, and a part-time gig at a non-profit. Because I’ve tried such a variety of paths, my friends expect funny new ideas to come out of my mouth, but no one is ever quite prepared to hear about my choice to become a surrogate.
I have three friends who I see every other month or so for lunch. We met six years ago in a local Moms Club Chapter when I first moved to Texas. Once our little ones aged out of the weekly activities, we stopped attending the group, but have remained close friends ever since. After I moved an hour across town, we have maintained a tradition of meeting for lunch as often as possible. I made the choice to become a surrogate late October 2019. I had not told them yet, as I spent a month working on the necessary details to turn the choice into a reality. So, our December 2019 lunch was the first opportunity I was going to have to tell them about my choice to become a surrogate, and I couldn’t wait to see their reaction.
After we ordered our lunch, we took turns opening our secret Santa gifts (another annual tradition), and settled into our normal chit-chat, catching up on each other’s’ lives over the prior month. The time had come for me to share the big news.
“How are things going for you?” my friend Erin asked, looking at me for a response.
“Well, I’ve decided to become a surrogate.” There is no soft approach to telling people about surrogacy, so I took the “rip-the-band-aid-off” approach.
Erin almost jumped out of the booth. “What!?” she exclaimed in shock, though in a happy way. Her facial expression and her unfiltered response that followed are by far the best reaction I have gotten: “I would not have been more surprised if you had told me that you were getting a sex change!” (Side note: You have to know Erin to understand that this wasn’t a judgmental comment; she also would have been 100% supportive if that was the decision I had blurted out too).
Erin always earns a gold award for the unorthodox way she words things; it is one of the traits that I love most about her. She continued to gush about how amazing it is that I am going to be a surrogate and she asked me a million questions, emphasizing her support, as did my other friends. The conversation ebbed and flowed as usual, all of us sharing pieces of our life with friends to whom we share a strong connection. I left lunch that day feeling supported and loved, knowing that I have friends who, even if they voiced in an unorthodox manner, were just as excited for me to be on this journey as I am.