Dr. Rad’s News and Views: Self-Care for Surrogates

     Building Families’ Surrogates are really tremendous people.  After evaluation of each surrogate, I am always struck by their definitive decision & willingness to help others become a family.  These Surrogates have a caretaking and giving spirit that is unique to their personality. Today I’d like to discuss this natural ability to caretake or caregive and offer some insights, views & suggestions for self-care or self-nurturance.  

     First, let’s define the people who are caretakers or caregivers.  They give automatically without often considering their needs and instead they focus on supplying other’s needs.  Emotional (psychological), spiritual or physical needs are not even on the radar at times for themselves.  Psychological or emotional needs often include but are not limited to these: Support from others, asking for help, self-soothing activities and alone time to define one’s needs or feelings at that time.  

     The endeavor to comprehend a Surrogate’s emotional needs is what I do in the course of their journey.  Building Families keeps me fully informed with each Surrogate’s progress on a weekly basis or more often if indicated.  Typically, our Surrogates have little or minimal issues when it comes to physical self-care of themselves and their pregnancy for their couple and that is what makes these women so amazing! 

     Another way I ensure each Surrogate Mother’s psychological well-being is by seeing them in a monthly group therapy.   In our groups, we tend to focus on self-care and self-soothing such as relaxation, visual imagery and focused breathing for a transfer or delivery.  If a Surrogate requests a meeting with the psychologist, it is provided. Indeed, if I think a brief professional interaction is essential, then I do it.  

     I have seen almost 400 Surrogates during their journey over the past 25 years of my tenure with Building Families.  The number of times I have had to meet with a Surrogate Mother due to concerns for their self-care and self-nurturance is negligible.  I believe it’s because the program provides exceptional care & management. The Surrogates know they do not have to manage on their own, and they realize that asking for help is the only way to achieve a resolution.  Fortunately, our Surrogate Moms do not buy into the notion that if you seek professional assistance from the psychologist you are perceived as emotionally weak, or that you might be labeled or judged.

     In summary, both the involvement of the psychologist and the management that Building Families provides has been synergistic and  successful in preventing events & issues which could have had a catastrophic impact on all concerned. Emotions come in different sizes and are dynamic, without the proper sounding board or professional guidance they can ruin a perfectly great relationship.  These relationships are complex and require a collaboration that is unique in the case of surrogacy.   

     Today I’d like to offer you some of my suggestions to incorporate for self-care in your daily life and throughout your Surrogacy journey.  The first one is to check in with your emotions daily.  Ask yourself what am I feeling during the day, is it positive or negative?  Being able to define your emotions often stems from our thought process. Treat yourself to a laugh a day! Laughter is good medicine for sure!  Visualize or visit a positive place, could be your backyard, the mountains, the beach or your very own sofa!  Please be selfish once a day with something you do just for you, we call this self-nurturing!  Finally, ask for help, big, small or confusing issues.  We all need others and help sometimes.

Enjoy the end of summer and the beginning of Fall 2019!    

As Always, Dr. Rad