Getting pregnant is a difficult decision for many women and there are many complications that can make it impossible. Enter, surrogacy: an option when women are out of options to have a baby.
Being a surrogate is an incredibly generous choice; you’re offering your body for nine months to another family. u/KindViolinist had no other option, but she does wonder if maybe she’s being a jerk for wishing her sister-in-law hadn’t jumped into the fray. Here’s her tale:
So, let me start off by saying that I already feel like an asshole. throw-away account for that reason.
When I was 19, I was diagnosed with cancer. Right before treatment, I froze some of my eggs on the advice of my oncologist. I eventually needed a full hysterectomy. I got better and returned to normal life and college. That’s where I met my husband. We both knew we wanted children down the road.
OP explains that when she was young, she had to have a hysterectomy to deal with cancer she was diagnosed with at 19. She froze some eggs at the time and life went back to normal.
Years later, we started exploring both surrogacy and adoption. My sister-in-law Bethany (married to my husband’s brother), learned that we were exploring both options, and had all of the sudden volunteered to carry the baby for us. She has 3 kids of her own and all of her pregnancies were smooth-sailing. She went out of her way to convince my husband and I that she’d be the best choice. My in-laws were thrilled. Eventually it seemed like I couldn’t say no because everyone was so excited. I was taken aback by the generosity.
OP met and married her husband and as they started to talk about kids, her sister-in-law jumped in and offered to carry their baby. OP was amazed by the kindness.
While Bethany was preparing for the implantation, and she was undergoing injections, which are typically well tolerated but, Bethany was complaining of multiple symptoms & seemed to need a lot of rest. She wanted to persist and the whole family stepped in to help with her own kids, which included driving them to school and taking them in for sleepovers to help her rest. She became pregnant soon after.
Bethany had trouble with the injections preparing for the implantation but wanted to keep going. She did eventually get pregnant, but the pregnancy was riddled with symptoms that were new to her.
Bethany quickly started experiencing nausea and severe morning sickness. Every pregnancy is different but it seemed odd. Again, the whole family rallied behind her and prepared meals for her, took care of my nieces and nephew, paid for a cleaning service, and went above and beyond to dote on her. As soon as the morning sickness had subsided by month 4, she started having severe back pain. Again, a new pregnancy symptom for her.
Then this weirdo sister-in-law did a maternity photo shoot. Called the baby her little nugget. Posted on FB about her pregnancy. And asked for a JOINT baby shower — what?!
She started doing things that made me feel uncomfortable. She did a maternity photo shoot & included the rest of our extended family in the pictures. She posted the photos on facebook, as well as multiple updates on her pregnancy. She posted ultrasound pictures online for ‘her little nugget’. She posted a long facebook post on mother’s day detailing her pregnancy and how surrogate moms should be celebrated on mother’s day. Now she is insisting on having a joint baby shower.
OP tried to shut this one down — Bethany is not the mom here, OP is.
I explained that as the new mom, I felt that I, for once, should be the center of attention and celebrated as the mom. She already had her baby showers for her own kids. It doesn’t feel like it is acknowledged that it is MY child.
Her husband thinks OP is out of line, but OP is hurt and worried about Bethany’s involvement in the future.
I told my husband and he thinks I am the asshole and that she’s done this wonderful thing for us. It feels odd to me now that she has this control over the family and I am worried that she will continue to interject into my family well after the birth. I am already sensitive about not being able to carry my child, and watching her take this over the top has hurt me. Am I the asshole for feeling hurt and wanting my own baby shower?
Edit to add: some of her other behaviors:
She adds some other behaviors … like Bethany telling the in laws the gender before OP could plan her party. (Not that gender reveal parties should ever happen, but hey).
– I let he know that I wanted to have a gender reveal party with one of those cakes that are either blue or pink on the inside. She told my parents-in-law the gender before I could even start planning the party, and then she made it sound as if it’s no big deal, because there were other people that don’t know the gender yet. She blamed the whole thing on her ‘pregnancy brain’
Bethany wants their MIL in the room — husband’s mom. OP didn’t want extended family for the first few hours after birth so she could bond with the baby.
– She wants our mother-in-law to be in the room when the baby is born, and while I am grateful that she has allowed me to be in the delivery room as well, I feel that it is strange. I wanted to have some bonding time with the baby and with my extended family in the delivery room and in the waiting room, there’s no way I am going to have that privacy for the first two days. The strange thing is that she did not allow anyone in the hospital for 24 hours when her own kids were born.
She’s insisting on pumping and wants skin-to-skin time with the baby.
– She insisted on pumping exclusively for the baby. I told her that I would rather formula feed and she said that she’s going to pump anyway in case I change my mind. She also asked if she could have skin-on-skin time with the baby to stimulate her milk production. She said she promises not to attempt to breastfeed our baby. I am going to formula feed and I don’t understand.
OP then issued another edit thanking people for pointing out that she shouldn’t be doubting Bethany’s pregnancy symptoms.
Thanks again everyone for the support and tough love. On the pregnancy symptoms, I do agree that I was mostly the asshole for doubting her pregnancy symptoms. Due to my cancer treatment and hysterectomy, I went into menopause while barely out of my teens. I had battled feeling less of a woman because of it. Despite that, I rejoiced with each of my SIL’s pregnancies and swallowed my own feelings about infertility and menopause (while also watching countless other friends and relatives give birth so effortlessly). When SIL developed those strong pregnancy symptoms, I feel like it was a slap in the face. Not only was she pregnant with my child, she was REALLY pregnant with my child. I realize that it was unfair to her and I will seek counselling to deal with my feelings.
She also points out that there were lawyers and legal paperwork involved, so things should be okay there.
I do believe we did our due diligence with the legal paperwork and like I had mentioned, all parties have their own lawyers and we have addressed multiple scenarios, and finances. I will have to trust that she will hand over the baby as agreed. The arrangement that we have with the hospital is that we will have one joint room but with a partition, and I will stay on the other side of the maternity suite with the baby until she is discharged. Moreover, our entire family will turn against SIL if she decides to cause problems or keep the baby, and I don’t think that will happen.
And clarifies that the MIL is a bit MUCH when it comes to her grandkids, which was why OP and Bethany both originally kept her out of the delivery room.
My mother-in-law is very overbearing when it comes to grandkids and it was one of the reasons why my SIL had a rule in place for the births of her own kids. She did not have any visitors for the first 24 hours.I think she is enjoying being the sole giver of grandkids for my in-laws.
The joint shower … remains weird.
For the baby shower, what SIL had proposed is that we each open a gift and that both get to invite our own friends/ family – therefore, joint in every sense of the word, but she has no interest in keeping the gifts. She wants to ooo–aaaah over the cute outfits, which I think is my job as a new mother? I like the suggestion of having a post-birth shower and make it even more so about the baby.
OP also admits that she’s felt very isolated and left out of the entire process, which isn’t helping her feelings.
Hindsight is 20/20 and had I known about the emotional roller coaster, I would have thought twice about the SIL’s offer, but I also don’t regret any minute of it because of the love that I feel for my daughter. But, it has been extremely isolating being on the outside watching in, and SIL and her sainthood being beyond reproach because of the extremely selfless act. I have been kicking myself over my feelings and I wish I had gotten help sooner.
Still, Reddit sided with the original poster: