There came a point in my life where the deep desire to make a difference in someone else’s life became an intense priority.
I found myself as a single mother of two young children, going back to school to improve the future by way of teaching children. But still I desired to do more. I was confused about how I could fit this mission into our busy lives, and yet I was determined to make it a reality. One thing I knew was that I had an overwhelming amount of love for my own children and craved the opportunity to help others experience the same love and parenting experiences that I was thankful to have myself.
In the years of 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016, I birthed four children: two girls and two boys, two of which were biologically mine. The other two were transferred into my uterus as frozen embryos using In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).
I became the Stork!
Before each transfer there was a psychological evaluation, doctor appointments with medical testing, contracts and a wide array of medications to be taken including injections. It was definitely not a simple nor quick process, but I held on to my ultimate vision: to help create a family. My gestational surrogacy journeys gave me the opportunity to be matched with two incredible couples – two couples that quickly became a permanent and important part of my own family through our unique and amazing journeys. These couples had very different reasons why they could not carry a child themselves, but had both taken the steps to ensure that they had retrieved and created embryos so that their family unit could be formed. From that very first moment we saw the picture of the embryo transferred, I was in love. I did not bond with either children as their mother, but I loved and faithfully grew the baby, took care of myself, and adored every fetal movement I felt, just as I did my with own children during pregnancy.
Sometimes in life you truly find your calling.
I knew this was mine through the reactions of the babies’ parents during positive home pregnancy tests and blood work, and the look on their faces during ultrasounds as we witnessed their developing baby. While I relished in the love these parents had for their growing baby, I had a duty to my own children to make sure they understood what was going on. They came to understand that a doctor had put a baby into Mommy’s belly, for a mommy whose belly was broken. They took it upon their young little selves to let everyone we saw in passing know that there was a baby in Mommy’s belly, but it wasn’t ours! As a family ourselves, we were delighted to share in doctors appointments, phone calls and visits with the babies’ parents.
While each surrogacy experience was everything I could have hoped for, the most rewarding and incredible part of each journey – the moment that cemented my confidence in knowing I was doing the right thing – was when the parents laid eyes on their babies for the first time. These were the babies they dreamed of and prayed for. The babies that they had to let walk away within my womb every time we parted ways after a visit. I was getting to experience motherhood from the outside this time. I was able to witness firsthand the bond between a mother and her baby from that very first moment of life. Most women only get to experience this overwhelming feeling with their own children. Instead, as I watched, I felt my heart complete and whole to know that I would shortly be returning home from the hospital to my own children, while the babies I had just birthed were being snuggled and loved by the parents who had yearned for them so intensely.
Motherhood: to me it is not just about loving, cherishing and taking care of my own children. It is about achieving motherhood for someone else.
Saralyn Ward is an award-winning writer, wellness advocate, and mountain mama. She is the founder of The Mama Sagas, writes for several publications and hosts a regular parenting TV segment on Colorado's Everyday Show. When she's not huddled over edits, you're likely to find Saralyn climbing peaks or skiing down them, and reminding herself that the two little girls that call her mom are not the boss of her.