Changing The Stigma Of Helping Others
The Challenge of Commitment Today
Commitment – the dictionary meaning of the word is...
the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, or activity.
It really doesn’t do the word justice. Because it means something that is rare in today’s humanity. Committing to show up, to be there no matter what, and to keep your promise is lost in a time of slower society and less chaotic day-to-day lives.
I’m an optimist. Or at least I keep telling myself I am. Every day my eyes open I’m thankful for what I have and what I can provide others. But people today are more selfish than I remember. It could be as simple as offering to help your friend move from his apartment. Maybe you are tired that day and decide to make up an excuse to bail.
It means nothing to you, but it meant everything to your friend who needed help.
How many people would show up today to help someone move? Or do people today keep asking the question, “What’s in it for me?” People convince themselves that the consequence for not showing up isn’t a big deal, but for each time they do this, they show others that they are unreliable and that commitment isn’t high on their priority list.
All around me, I’m reminded of the cruelty of the world, but something has shifted from a time when a commitment was your word and your word was who you were as a person. I know if my Dad says he’s going to do something, he will do it. And everyone who knows my Dad would wholeheartedly agree with that statement. It’s who he is. I was raised to understand that if you agree to help someone, you show up. In a world where we’ve grown to understand self-love in a deeper manner, it has also led us to believe that we live in a bubble; that our decisions don’t affect others. We have adopted the mindset that we should come first and that if we don’t want to do something we don’t have to. And while I applaud our ability to become more independent and verbally able to express our needs and wants, I fear we’ve switched off a vital part of our humanity. In our pursuit of happiness, we’ve forgotten we cannot exist without the love and kindness of others. We have forgotten that we all gain strength and understanding when we surround ourselves with others who we can learn and grow from.
Life doesn’t exist within a bubble.
As humans, we can aspire to be whomever we choose.
While it’s important not to worry about the views and opinions of others, you have the potential to become great and to show others what greatness is.
We all do.
Our Deepest Fear is that we are Powerful beyond measure.
It Took A Village
My Grandpa used to tell me stories about when he was a kid. It was a village mindset where neighbours helped with your baby, and you cooked for the sick, and you asked for help when you needed it. Farming was done together and the women all gathered to support each other. When someone moved in, people in the area would come over and introduce themselves and bring a baked good. The village mentality is long gone and now we are all about the ONE. Many people go years without even meeting their neighbours.
Mind your own business is today’s mentality.
People don’t go out of their way to offer their time to others, because their time seems to be a commodity.
Everyone’s time is worth something.
There is no longer a feeling of community.
Creating Something From Something
So many years ago I recognized in myself the need to heal and fix people. I was the friend everyone talked to about their problems. I came to feel my need to help was a negative part of me because time and time again people let me down. I couldn’t fix people who didn’t want to be fixed. I became the one to offer advice in broken marriages (even though clearly I was no expert). I was logical and could set aside emotions. I could talk and apparently what came out of my mouth made sense to others. But it was emotionally exhausting and I evolved into spending a lot of time alone afterward. Anyone who knows me well would likely say, “I don’t even like people that much.” It’s a skewed statement but not entirely wrong. I’m an introvert-extrovert. I’m a chameleon who can be whatever I need to be in whatever situation presents itself. I’m good on the spot and I can talk. But I would prefer to be alone, reading a book, or anything that didn’t involve people. I don’t like crowds and I loathe Costco shopping experiences.
But somehow I ended up a Mom of four kids who crawl all over me. I ended up being a surrogate twice for two strangers. My Dad will tell you that he didn’t even think I wanted kids. I wanted to travel and see the world. It’s all true, and yet somehow who I became defied all odds.
A divorced, single Mom of four kids found herself starting a business that was saturated with intense emotions, new people daily, and mounds of responsibility. I created something from something. I had an understanding of people, even if I wasn’t naturally social. I was able to listen and hear things that were between the lines. I studied people and what they had to offer in their tones, facial expressions, and my intuitive nature led me to help people in one of the worst places of their lives – struggling with creating their families.
And it filled a void in me. I’m good at it. I love helping others create their families.
I love meeting new women who inspire me with their strength and goodness.
I found purpose in the part of me that was always trying to fix others.
I became a place of hope for so many people looking for answers.
I created a world that made sense to me.
A Promise is A Promise
I own a company that involves a level of commitment beyond most. Deciding to be a surrogate requires a promise – a promise to put someone else before yourself. It’s a promise to sacrifice your bodily comfort, to willingly accept stretch marks, saggy skin, morning sickness, and a sore butt from daily injections. The sacrifice requires one to completely understand that their decisions will affect someone else now. You are the third in another relationship with one or two complete strangers. You are allowing them into your family. You are becoming one. You have to be empathetic, kind, and have the ability to put yourself into their shoes.
These are people desperately needing you. They are in a position of having to come to terms with their fertility limitations and inability to create their family. A woman and man struggling with infertility, or a gay couple who have limited options to begin with. What brought them to a place of having to ask a woman who is a complete stranger to carry life for them? How does one humble themselves enough? And to be in a position to help someone? What an immense power to hold within. What does one do with it? You can say, what’s in it for me? Or you can come to the deep understanding that life is about love and there is no greater kind of love than to give yourself to someone else in an act of complete selflessness. It’s a kind of love you have for your children and the knowingness that you have the ability to create them, grow them, birth them and raise them up to be loving human beings.
The Strength of Women
Women are a deep pool of repressed strength. So many don’t discover how rich their kindness is, and how transferable that kindness can be when we give it the power to help others. Women united are a force that can turn the tides. And yet, I’m always hearing how surrogacy is too difficult.
The women I have met in the surrogacy world are some of the fiercest, dedicated people to walk into my life.
I am grateful for them and know I’m better to have known them. And as I continue to bring awareness to the issue of surrogacy, I’m met with the same thoughts from people who don’t understand the strength they deep within.
The thoughts people express:
- I don’t know if I can give a baby up.
- I would love to be a surrogate when my life is less chaotic.
- I’m worried how it will affect my family
- Why sacrifice so much and get nothing in return
While all these comments and questions are legitimate, they are as equally easy for me to answer in the same way every time.
- You aren’t giving a baby up; you are giving it back. It isn’t your baby to begin with.
- Life will always be chaotic. We often use this excuse when gauging when to have our own families.
- How each family is affected is truly up to you. Put a positive spin on it and voila, you have one of the most impactful, beautiful lesson you can teach your family about life; giving of yourself to help someone else, simply because you can.
- While my personal feelings on financial compensation are not the issue here, I understand this question can be loaded for many. In truth, you get so much more in return than you can possibly know. Giving the gift of life to someone is a euphoria like no other. It’s a drug; an addiction for those who have been through it. That feeling of watching a couple hold their baby for the first time brings such a sense of accomplishment and pride. Nothing is comparable to that feeling. Having your own kids is a very different mindset.
What Makes A Surrogate?
Is there a hard and fast set of personality traits and lifestyle choices that make or break a great surrogate? No. With all this being said, these are some of the common traits that remain consistent in most women that become surrogates through my programs:
- Fierce determination
- A love of pregnancy and birth experiences
- A deep sense of worth as a woman and Mother
- Personal knowledge of the pain infertility causes
- Amazing Mothers who juggle their lives well
- Their own family is complete
- Love and respect for their body
- An ‘All In’ personality – commitment
Their dream must become yours.
The driving force behind surrogacy is a deep connection between the person who desires a baby and the one who can provide it. Agreeing to say yes means you are all in. It’s a commitment to intertwine your life with theirs and handle all the ups and downs that come with that decision. You can’t be one foot in and one foot still lingering on the fence. It’s a choice that once made, needs to be taken seriously. We make choices every day for our lives. Some of them don’t have monumental consequences either way (like what to have for supper that evening), but choosing to be a surrogate means that the big decisions that come across the table have to be weighed in with how they affect that commitment you’ve made. Of course, it goes without saying that life can throw curveballs that truly derail our commitments to others, but when that deep connection happens and resilience is present, it is rare to see women walk away from that promise. Because walking away from that promise means breaking someone who is already so profoundly broken. And I never want to break anyone that way. When I say yes, that’s my contract to them and to myself. So I make sure I’m ready to say yes. But some people can’t see past their own struggles to look deeper into their commitment and put it before themselves. It requires an unselfish act. It’s a sacrifice for a short period of time for someone who has no other choices. They desperately want what you have - a family.
The ripple effect of that choice will be for generations to come.
Because you are creating a life that wouldn’t be and that life might create more lives. My two surrogate babies were the only grandchildren on either side of the family. I wasn’t just deeply connected with my Intended Parents, I was deeply connected to their entire family.
Choosing a career path like mine comes with many ongoing mental games. When dealing solely with human beings and that monumental choice, there is no cut and dry way to ensure anything. We try and prepare women for the immense responsibility and ensure that they are ready to move forward, but in the end, we control nothing. My entire business exists on the premise that there are women like me that want to create a higher sense of purpose in their world. We encourage deep connections and we foster the importance of communication.
The whole reason I started this business was to bring people together on a unique level. But I can’t force people to be better; to aspire to be great. It has to come from within. I can plant the seed of love and ideas through my community talks, writing blogs, and being visible online, but the character is what shines. When those great women find me, the connection is instant.
Do you think you might be one of those women?