9 February 2013

Tomatoes don't belong in a fruit salad.

Sometimes we walk into the game and think we know all the rules. 

You decide to do something with your life, you want to become a surrogate. It's admirable and beautiful. You are going to be amazing and the people that understand adore you and the people that don't understand will gratefully receive an education in altruism and good deeds. You do some research and like what you see and hear...BOOM! You are ready.
You know who you are, what you want and how you're going to get from the starting point to the finishing line. You can't fail, you know stuff. 

Unfortunately, those rules are just a starting point to get you going, they're not the be-all-and-end-all. Turns out you don't know who you are yet, you've not made the first steps after all. You're Frodo when he's still in The Shire. You're Alice before the rabbit hole. In other words, you're completely clueless. 

say what now?
 - no copyright infringement intended 

Now that you've been told you know absolutely nothing about nothing, I have some good news. You are not the first woman to be a surrogate. You'll never be alone once you decide you're doing this and that makes you extremely lucky. Most surrogates have this knack for hanging around and helping the new girls out, even doing multiple journeys and learning more about themselves in the process. They have all started out the same as you and ended up through the ringer/Middle Earth/Wonderland and back home again. The most valuable piece of advice a surrogate can give another surrogate is; "Listen to all the other surrogates, except the Muppets." What you have, is a Fellowship. Or a White Rabbit and Mad Hatter, depending on which storyline you prefer to subscribe to. You can find your Fellowship or talkative animals by joining agencies, reading blogs, befriending more open and prolific surrogates and they will let you in the inner circles. For which they are many, varying in quality and size. If you find yourself in the hands of the right group, you'll be golden. If not, you'll feel it and start over elsewhere. 
Once you're in a group you introduce yourself and start asking some questions and explaining your ideas. Then what'll happen is someone will pull a Walt Disney on you and give you a kick in the teeth. It'll be the greatest thing to happen to you, because it starts you on a journey of self-discovery. 

The purest fact is you need to want the help. You need to know you're clueless and be smart enough to take the wisdom when it's offered to you.
For your voyage to being the best, most supported and knowledgeable surrogate there has ever been, you need to have a few things. You need to have thick skin. Imperative not only for matching, but for being a part of the groups you have no doubt been invited into.
You also need to have a bullshit detector the size of Yorkshire, because some advice is actually bollocks in disguise.
You lastly need to know that everyone is looking out for you, the newbie. That when an experienced surrogate sees you, they see themselves before they got started, and they want what's best for you. 

I now consider myself fairly experienced, not a wise one with six journeys under her belt or fifteen-twenty years in the field. But I've seen a lot in a short space of time. Although I'm still learning, I can dish out a fair bit of advice and know where to send you if I don't have the answer. I can't tell the many, many times I had my ideas questioned and straight up told "You're absolutely wrong and bonkers!" and every, blooming time, I've taken the punch and let it make me stronger and smarter. I'm still getting punched in the gut, to this day, either by medications or other women correcting my thoughts - and I'm grateful for every blow.

What am I getting at? 

Some people can't take the advice. Some people, despite their best intentions, can't check their ego at the door.
This is an entirely dangerous position to put themselves in. For they will end up alone and no better in their journey to Mordor/wherever the fuck Alice goes. 

No. Just no. 

You will end up with the Muppets giving you advice. That's no place to be. You'll end up with people telling Intended Parents they must be married to join an agency or receive a Parental Order (not true), people saying that you can't go independent as it's illegal (a tricky one, but not illegal if done carefully) and worse than that, you'll have crazy people who think it's perfectly okay to match with more than one surrogate or a crazy surrogate that matches with more than one couple. Is this the kind of advice you want to find in your inbox? Thought not... 

Take the thick skin, the bullshit detector, the loving Fellowship of the Surrogates and go on your journey. You may not always find friends, but you will find yourself. As pretentious as it sounds, I found myself when I became a surrogate. It turns out I'm quite feisty and annoying, and want to adopt all newbies. 

Good luck, happy surrogating (yes, it's a verb now), throw your ring into the fire, learn your inner strength and don't be the mug that wants to test the theory.

and never put tomatoes in a fruit salad just because it's a fruit.

much love - x - 

24 August 2012

Families eh? Who'd have them? Oh, right.....

Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one. - Jane Howard.

Family. It's life's greatest blessing. It's the greatest thing the world. It's forever. You can't choose them. They're the most important thing. Frankly, they can be a pain in the arse, but we have them anyway, and why not? 

I'm aware that as a surrogacy blogger I should be more sensitive about discussing family in a negative way, since readers may not have their much wanted children yet and I may come across as ungrateful. However, I would argue that no matter what, if you have parents, grandparents, siblings, you still have family and you know what I'm about to discuss to be fair and true. I would also say, it's my blog and it's my corner of the internet *blows raspberries* so shush!

As some of you may know, I have a son, daughter, pre-husband, sisters, in-laws, outlaws and a mother. No father. I'm not looking for sympathy, I made peace with my lot in life a long time ago. Truth is, I don't hate him. I pity him.

You see when my biological father (from here on in we'll call him Fuckwit McBellend - see? no hard feelings!) Left, I was 17 months old and my sister was 3ish years old. So I don't actually remember anything about him in the family home. What I do remember over the course of ten years, is a man who visited sporadically and only ever arrived with new arm candy. Sometimes he would get this arm candy pregnant, then after a few months he would leave again. Thus it came to be the life and times of Fuckwit McBellend. (footnote: all arm candies overlapped.)
In the interest of moving forward, we'll jump to his three eldest children, my sister, me and a half-sister a few years younger than me. There are about three or four more but they play no further part in our story, so I'll leave them be. 
Now, I've had no more contact with Fuckwit since I was about twelve, I called him and said I deserved much more than he was offering and I was out. He didn't seem particularly bothered; only saying "Okay-dokie then, bye" Which stung but wasn't unexpected. 
I was angry for a few years. Why don't I have a father? Why doesn't he care about his kids? Why does everyone else have these great father/daughter relationships and I don't?

One day, I'm not sure when, I got bored with being angry. I was emo before emo was a thing and I hated it. I looked in the mirror, saw a constantly sad face and thought "fuck this" I breathed out and let it go. 
I imagined my bag of pain was a tumour in my lungs and I pushed it out. Fuckwit doesn't care about my anger so why do I carry it around? Being angry with the past is stupid. It's poison and it makes the wrong person sick. So push it away. 

I made my peace. But I was the only one who did. My oldest sister would pretend that she accepted who he was and lived with the uncertainty, my half-sister felt deeply betrayed by his behaviour and rebelled. But me? I was as Zen as rainbow-hemp-tie-dye-granola-bar.
So why am I talking about this now? Well a few nights ago, a got a tearful message from my younger half-sister. She wanted to talk about McBellend, and she needed a no-bullshit listener. I might be okay about not having a father. But she wasn't okay, she was angry. She'd finally had her fill of being ignored and dumped whenever he had a new girlfriend to entertain.
We talked and I offered her the same thoughts I would've shared with my eighteen year old self. If a parent abandons you. No matter what age you are, it hurts. It's awful, painful and unless you come to terms with it, it'll always feel that way. You just get used to being angry and feeling worthless. 

So I say change it. You can't change him, so change yourself. Blow away the pain. Don't see the absentee father, see a man in his forties chasing skirt the same age as his daughters. Don't miss big strong arms that should give fatherly hugs, notice the paunch and receding hairline, as time passes away. 

So you've blown the pain away, what's left? There's a hole to fill and you won't be quite right until you do it. Don't fill it with poison, you just blew that sucker out. You fill it with love and happiness. Your best friend; call them more, skype with your sisters, print photographs of your nieces and nephews and look at them in your home, hug your daughter, kiss your future husband, drink a cocktail, laugh often. Fill your life with the good stuff and you'll forget the bad stuff was even there.
So I disagree with that saying "you can't choose your family" I outright reject it. I create my own, I  still don't have my own father-figure, but I adore watching my future husband with our daughter. I make my sisters and my in-laws a bigger part of our lives, I talk to at least one sister or sister-in-law every day. I'll call my friends with good news before I call my half-brother. I am Auntie Lyndsay to the girls across the road, but I'm nothing but a memory to my cousins kids. I know my niece's favourite colour converse (purple) but I don't know my baby sister's favourite cereal. I know which kind of toys to buy my friends baby son, but I have no idea what school my little brother went to. My surrogate boy had his second birthday the other day, he's not my blood, but I felt for him like watching a nephew grow older.
I'm okay with that. I made my own family. I cut out the tumours and hurtful people and brought my friends in closer and appreciate the family I do keep.

Families aren't nuclear anymore, it's okay. 

Feel good, own your shit. Be your own tribe. Evict the Fuckwits and give Jeremy Kyle less fodder to devour. Be happy in your family, however you make it up. 

much love - x -