Let’s start things off honestly: The photo chosen for this story does not represent my experience. Even with all the AI photo-creating apps in the world, I couldn’t find one I could relate to that would go well with the story, so here we are.
The first photo posted on Instagram was of a dog. It was taken by Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom, in Mexico, in 2010. It features a golden retriever named Dolly lying beside a taco stand. The caption reads “test,” simply a placeholder while Systrom was testing the app.
I was 23 when Instagram launched, making all my major adult milestone moments ripe for the app. Graduation. First day of a new job. First apartment. (ED note: It’s a shame we didn’t have the app in the ‘90s because my bat mitzvah would have made for some epic content. Spoiler alert: my theme was “literature.”). When I got engaged, I must have taken 500 options of our “ring pic.” I even posted the outtakes.
And yet here I am, amidst arguably the most significant milestone of my life, and Instagram has not yet been alerted. Our journey (and as “ick” as that word makes me feel, there truly is no other word for it) found its way to the complex world of surrogacy.
I am 20 weeks and two days pregnant, and in 19 weeks and six days, my husband and I will have a baby. However, as I am not the one carrying our child, the normal social cues that happen during the early days of pregnancy have not occurred.
Despite the excitement, anxiety, and all the rest of someone who is 20 weeks pregnant, no one is standing up to let me sit on the subway. No one congratulates me when they peer down and see a growing bump. No one is “hearing” an announcement post on Instagram or commenting with a flurry of “Mazels” and “Congrats” because I haven’t posted anything.
Which brings me to my personal debacle of how to announce.
Given that Instagram can be deduced as a feed of milestone after milestone, I find myself pondering questions like: What does it mean to be expecting without carrying? How do you announce your pregnancy without a bump? What does it mean to be expecting without posting about it?
When your journey has been two-plus years, involving multiple people, crossing state lines, and full of legal paperwork, when do you hop online and say, “We’re Pregnant!” How do you announce without all the context? When is the right time?
With surrogacy, there were so many “starts” that I wanted to share but didn’t. When we matched with our surrogate, when our embryos were created, when we drove to implantation, when we found out our surrogate was pregnant, and when we received the first sonogram. These were all moments I was desperate to blast to the world. I, too, wanted the love, the hearts, the dopamine hit to which we’ve all become accustomed.
I wanted my announcement at each moment: through the doctors, hormones, shots, agencies, paperwork… But in the end, I’d just go to bed pondering how I’d announce it after our next milestone.
Pregnancy – in every form – is a time of emotional change, and seeing others’ seemingly perfect and glamorous pregnancy posts has led me to have feelings of deep insecurity and self-doubt about my own. This pressure to present a curated and idealized image of pregnancy on social media can be dizzying. Add surrogacy to the mix? I’m lost.
After much thought and contemplation (and anxiety), I have come to the conclusion that the best way to share our news is to embrace the unique route we have taken and tell our story as accurately as possible – all the weirdness included. So, without further ado, here is my long-awaited announcement; in 700+ words.
This journey has been anything but ordinary as we have navigated the complex world of surrogacy alongside an amazing group of people. Still, it has only deepened our love and gratitude for those who have been along for the ride.
This is the first of several stories I’ll be writing about our journey. To those who may be unfamiliar or have questions about surrogacy, I welcome your curiosity and hope to help foster understanding and compassion for the many paths to parenthood.
Oh, and by the way, we’re due August 27th. It’s a girl.