For many parents of children born through surrogacy the question of telling the child about it is very difficult. They are struggling with how and when to bring up the subject. All parents must decide for themselves how they want to do it and what might be the best approach in their family. However there are some tips, and if you follow them, they are almost certainly going to make life easier for you and your child. Telling your child that they were born through surrogacy is an important, and sometimes daunting task, and you will want to make the best of the situation.
Start Right Away
The easiest and most natural way to introduce the subject of surrogacy is to do it right away. Start when the child is still a baby, even if they do not understand what you are saying. Over time the child will start to pick up small pieces of the story and it will become a natural part of the child’s perception of the world. The child will simply not know anything else. This is far better way then to wait and let the child find out later. In those cases it will often be a chock for the child to find out that the reality that they know is not what they thought it was.
Speaking about the surrogacy from an early stage will also have the added benefit that the parents will get used to talking about the subject. This will make it possible to talk about it with ease as your child gets older. It will take away potential stigmas and help the parents establish a natural vocabulary and a well known way to speak about the surrogacy.
Not Telling is Not an Option
For some parents it might be tempting not to tell the child about the surrogacy at all. This is seldom a good idea. Experts always recommend that children are told about their birth and their origin. In fact, research has shown that if you keep this information from a child it can often have a negative impact on them later in life. More information about this can be found in this study https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3586757/. In fact, it has been found that for a child to be able to develop into a well adjusted individual with a good sense of identity, it is very important for them to know about their own background and origin.
Hiding the fact that a child was born through surrogacy not only affects the child but also those who are close to the family. By not telling the child, the parents are laying a lot of responsibility on these people. They have to keep the truth from the child, something that some might find difficult to do. It can also take a toll on the parents to have to hide such a important piece of information from the child during a long period of time.
On top of that, failure to tell a child about their conception could potentially have life threatening consequences. If a child is not aware of the fact that they were born through surrogacy it could prevent them from giving correct medical information when needed. This is obviously something that could be very dangerous.
Use The Child’s Natural Curiosity
All children are curious, especially when it comes to the subject of their own conception. So take the time to answer all of their questions and explain all about the way they came into this world. When doing this you will of course have to explain in a manner that is appropriate for the child’s age in order for them to be able to grasp and process the information. Start of with the big picture and as the child gets older and understand more you can add the more complex details to the story.
As births through surrogacy is getting increasingly common there are more and more children’s books on the subject being published. To read one of these books together with your child is a very nice way to introduce the subject of surrogacy in a pedagogic way. If you have a baby book, like many parents do, make sure you incorporate the surrogacy process in it. It might be anything from written memories to photographs. It is always good for children to have a visual aid when they are trying to process information.
Talk About it Continuously
Try to make sure that the surrogacy is a natural part in your everyday conversations. With this approach you will make sure that it does not become such a big deal. It is much better than to sit down on one occasion and have a deep and serious conversation about it. Not only is it difficult to get all the details out in one go, it will also be hard for the child to process such masses of information. This is of course especially true when the subject of the conversation is of such a sensitive and emotional nature.
All in all, experts, researchers and parents of children born through surrogacy all agree that it is best for all parties to be open and honest about surrogacy. It is important to tell the child of their origin and the sooner it is done the better it will be. Neglecting to present the child with this very important information will not bring anything good- neither for the child nor the parents.