When Maya and Jacob got pregnant with their first child, they couldn't help but feel grateful at how easily it all fell into place for them. Married for 3 years, they had just bought their very first house. The timing just could not get any more perfect. They felt ready and eternally blessed.
Maya couldn't wait to break the news to her close friends and family. Thrilled as she was, she was slightly uneasy about sharing this news with her elder sister, Natalie. Maya's older sister had been married for over 6 years. She and her husband had been trying to conceive for the past 4 years. Having gone through 3 failed IVF cycles, Natalia and husband, Sean had given up all hope on having a biological child.
Maya sheepishly texted Natalie: "I have something to tell you." She could almost hear her sister's heart sink given how she had lately been avoiding all pregnancy news, baby shower invites and everything in between. But Maya had no choice. She knew she would find out sooner or later.
On that dreaded call, Maya could hear her sister fight back tears and express how happy she was for them. She couldn't even imagine the silent battle Natalie must have been fighting at that moment. She felt guilty for being pregnant.
3 years later, Maya and Jacob were a happy, content family of 4. 2 year old Pierce and 6 month old Joanna, completed their family forever. Natalie and Sean on the other hand were still going through a tumultuous time. Having experienced another failed IVF, this time through a surrogate, they couldn't feel more helpless.
It broke Maya's heart to see her sister, who'd always been like a motherly figure to her, actually not be able to become a mother. Maya was desperate to help her sister out. That's when it hit her.
She wanted to be Natalie's surrogate.
Jacob at first shot down her idea and thought she was being overly emotional. But Maya was adamant. She knew her family was complete, and having gone through near perfect pregnancies before, she felt she could very easily help Natalie out.
"It's not as straight-forward. You carry this child, you might want to keep him/her. Then what?" Jacob said to Maya.
Maya sighed and said, "No Jacob, a mother is so much more than a carrier of a fetus. I want to carry this child because I want to complete my sister's happiness and her family. For the 9 month period I would simply be babysitting my would-be niece/nephew. Think of it that way. I know Natalie is more than ready to be a mom and I know only I can rescue her out of this abyss."
As Maya warmed Natalie and Sean up to the idea, they felt eternally indebted to Maya for her offer after an initial phase of apprehension. Once both the couples had agreed upon a timeline after getting a green signal from Natalie's RE, it was time for Maya to receive Natalie and Sean's embryos. A pair was transferred after which the dreaded waiting game began, with everyone praying for the embryos to stick. As Maya finally got the much-awaited call from the doctor's office, she was giddy with joy and couldn't wait to tell Natalie that the embryos had successfully implanted!
"YOU GUYS ARE PREGNANT!" Maya almost yelled into her cellphone. Natalie was just an emotional mess. She had waited way too long to hear these words.
The next couple of months went by fast with doctor visits, ultrasounds, GD testing and nursery shopping. They couldn't believe Maya was full term now and the baby would be here any day. Maya knew the gender but Natalie and Sean had decided to keep it a surprise for themselves. On her last routine visit, the doctor noticed Maya was quickly running out of amniotic fluid, a signal that she was ready to pop. They admitted her right away, as the excited parents joined her and Jacob in the labor & delivery wing.
Two hours of uneventful labor and some massive pushes later, Natalie and Sean welcomed a bloody mess of the most beautiful being they'd ever laid eyes upon. Weighing a good 8.5 lbs and shrieking at the top of her lungs, Tricia filled the room with her presence as soon as she was pulled out.
It felt nothing short of a fairytale to Natalie and Sean. They were literally out of words to express their gratitude to Maya and Jacob for giving them the best gift anyone could possibly ever give.
The best part, Maya didn't have to make an effort to feel part of the family. As she picked up the mug sitting on her nightstand that read, "world's best aunt" she knew she had never felt luckier. The joy that she had been able to bring into her sister's life felt out of this world. Looking back at her decision a year ago, she couldn't believe she took the leap and went ahead with this life changing choice.
Contrary to the notion that surrogates often pursue surrogacy to make some quick money, there are hundreds and thousands of cases worldwide where surrogates take this life altering decision solely to bring a smile on those glum faces longing to have a child they can call their own. It is one of the most altruistic and noble sacrifices one can make for a deserving family.