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What Happens After A Surrogate Gives Birth?

Kristin Marsoli

You did it! You helped grow someone’s family. You get to bask in that joy and focus on yourself now.

No one’s surrogacy fourth trimester is the same, but the one common thread we’ve always heard from past surrogates is just how fulfilled they feel as they reflect upon the past few months of their life!

You have crossed the line of one of surrogacy’s biggest milestones — delivery! — and as the rush of emotions starts to settle, you realize you’ve done it. You have given your intended parents what they’ve been waiting so long for, they got to meet their baby, and you’re getting to see a family you helped form. 

Simultaneously, you’ve propelled yourself straight into the fourth trimester! Welcome to your new post-surrogacy era. 

You may be asking yourself, “What do I do now?” You’re no longer pregnant, but you’re also not bringing home a newborn like in past pregnancies. 

Here’s what we want you to do first — give yourself a big hug. You have done something amazing, and you deserve to bask in that for a bit. When you’re ready to move forward to what’s next, here’s where we can help. The fourth trimester can be an emotional time and can look different for every surrogate. To help prepare you, here are some of the things you can expect.

Saying goodbye to the baby and your intended parents

This is a really emotional time, and it’s normal to have all the feels. On one hand, you know that your intended parents are meeting their baby for the first time and you may have enjoyed some baby snuggles. On the other hand, it’s hectic and emotional because you just gave birth, and now you’re having to say goodbye to a family you have grown to love and care for. Not to mention that you’re heading home with a post-pregnancy body and no newborn to show for it.

Thankfully, many of the details around your goodbye will be preplanned in an effort to take everyone’s preferences into account and make sure everyone feels comfortable on such an emotional day. 

And while it’s true that you’ll be closing your pregnancy chapter, this doesn’t mean you have to move on and forget about the baby you helped bring into the world, your intended parents, or your surrogacy journey as a whole. You’re forever changed. That’s a beautiful, momentous thing no one can ever take from you.

What do I do with breast milk?

Pumping and shipping breast milk is not required of you. However, some surrogates decide to do this for intended parents (your intended parents may bring this up and ask if you are willing to do this). You’ll have the choice, though, and no one pressures you one way or the other. 

If you do decide to ship breast milk, intended parents cover all related expenses and you will be fairly compensated for your time and effort. If your parents do not wish to have you pump and ship breast milk, but you are still open to pumping, we can guide you on how to pump and provide your milk to milk banks to help other families.

What kind of support will I have during the fourth trimester?

After you give birth and give the baby back to the intended parents, and eventually say goodbye to the baby you’ve carried, it’s common to have a lot of questions and also epiphanies. 

Ashley, an experienced surrogate, shared: 

The absolute most surprising thing to me came following my journey, and that was finding my ‘new normal,’ my identity. For over two years, my life revolved around surrogacy, and my life didn't feel like my own. When the journey was over, I remember feeling very lost and uncertain. I just completed this huge, life-changing thing that felt so rewarding, but what was next for me?" 

Ultimately, you get to decide what happens next for you — this is comforting and also scary! Your agency team will provide guidance and support, and we at will be here with you too —  we will do an in depth postpartum call about your journey, and will continue to support you. We've been there, and we are here for you, Momma!

Together, we’ll help you reintegrate into your day-to-day life, help you navigate how to tell people about your surrogacy journey, or help you find your “new normal,” whatever that might look like for you. 

Also, intended parents have you covered too. You’ll receive financial benefits for childbirth recovery and wages lost, so you can take the time you need to return to your responsibilities. 

No one’s surrogacy fourth trimester is the same, but the one common thread we’ve always heard from past surrogates is just how fulfilled they feel as they reflect upon the past few months of their life!

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