Surrogacy is a process that usually involves a lot of care. One of the biggest concerns that intended parents have is directed towards the surrogate mother. How will she feel after the birth of the baby? Is she going to be attached to the baby? If so, how does the attachment appear?
Like a normal pregnancy, surrogacy is a long process. It is normal for the surrogate will form an attachment to the baby as the pregnancy carries out. Consequently, the same postpartum symptoms can show up after the delivery day.
To minimize the risk of behavioral changes, such as postpartum depression, agencies undergo a thorough screening process and only accept candidates who have given birth. Not meeting these criteria means it is impossible to predict how she will feel after the surrogacy journey accurately. Without any previous obstetrical history, it increases health risks.
At Guidance, we put a lot of importance on psychological stability. When surrogates apply to be a candidate, they undergo a screening process that captures their state of mind and willingness to go through surrogacy. After filling out a questionnaire, we set up an interview to get to know them even better and make sure that they have the information necessary to go forward with their application. Our network of counselors is also available to address any concerns, as we aim to prioritize every party’s wellbeing, physically and emotionally.
What is postpartum depression?
Not to be mistaken with postpartum “baby blues,” which happens after childbirth and commonly include mood swings, crying spells, anxiety, and difficulty sleeping, postpartum depression is a more severe and long-lasting form of depression.
Lasting for more than two weeks, it is an extreme mood disorder that may develop after childbirth. This behavioral change affects about 10%-20% of women; it is important to remember that it is not a character flaw or weakness but a complication after birth.
Feelings of loneliness can magnify it for a surrogate mother after the arrangement is over.
Common symptoms include, and are not limited to:
- Depressed mood or severe mood swings
- Excessive crying
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Loss of appetite or eating much more than usual
- Inability to sleep (insomnia) or sleeping too much
- Overwhelming fatigue or loss of energy
- Feelings of worthlessness, shame, guilt, or inadequacy
- Diminished ability to think clearly, concentrate or make decisions
- Severe anxiety and panic attacks
- Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
- Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
If left untreated, postpartum depression may last for months or even longer.
When to see a doctor
If the surrogate experiences symptoms of postpartum “baby blues,” it is recommended that she surrounds herself with supportive family members or friends. Avoiding isolation and having a good support system can help navigate the initial emotional distress caused by the end of a pregnancy.
If symptoms go on for more than a week or two, we recommend scheduling an appointment with a doctor as soon as possible. It is extremely important to inform the third party – we understand that there might be reluctance, as this is a personal matter, but it is crucial not to face this situation alone.
How the Guidance Agency helps
Women-owned and operated, Guidance Agency has a team of professionals who have helped countless women go through this process as intended parents or surrogate mothers. More than a business, we are first and foremost a community of support, a sisterhood that uplifts each other.
Having been through surrogacy ourselves, we know the compassion and understanding needed to get through this journey. Our network consists of healthcare professionals and previous surrogates who are more than happy to share their experiences. We know the importance of talking to someone who relates to your situation and can guide our new candidates in their decision.
From beginning to end, we will serve as support in whatever way is needed. Whether it is a shoulder to cry on or connecting you to the right resources, we will be right there with you through it all.