Many people wonder what it’s like to go through the whole process of pregnancy and childbirth, but not have a baby to care for afterwards.
How do you know if a surrogate has Postpartum Depression (PPD)?
How should you act around a surrogate after she’s given birth?
How long should you wait to connect with the surrogate after she gave birth to the baby?
Is she an emotional wreck?
How do you address the situation in a sensitive manner?
These are all very normal questions about how to react to surrogacy after the baby is born. The reality is, surrogates do understand how others may perceive the situation to be. There is no reason to walk on eggshells and we will explain why.
First off, we should not assume that a surrogate will experience PPD because she “gave up the baby”. Symptoms of PPD include loss of appetite, insomnia, irritability or the blues. The fact is, surrogates generally have to participate in health and mental screenings with a psychologist to help with their mental well-being. Women who decide to be surrogates understand the final outcome of the process — to give the baby to the intended parents. So if PPD does occur, it is a side effect directly related to the birth, not necessarily because the surrogate wanted to keep the baby. Approximately 10-20% of women experience PPD which is a hormone imbalance, regardless of whether they are a surrogate or not. The bottom line is that there is no causal relationship between being a surrogate and experiencing PPD.
Surrogates may not feel back to their normal selves after birth, which is normal and has nothing to do with giving the baby to the intended parents. Post-birth, some surrogates may experience nostalgia for the surrogacy process, or simply a void after having completed such a moving opportunity. However, most surrogates are happy to know that they delivered a healthy child to a welcoming home. They are satisfied to see the parents cry tears of joy as they finally hold their baby.
If you know anyone experiencing the blues related to a pregnancy, the best thing to do is be supportive to make sure she gets the proper help she needs to feel better. Counseling or therapy with a medical health professional or social worker can be helpful.