The email I’d received that morning closed with “Have a nice life!” Actually, it had been send during the middle of the night.
The previous evening she sobbed into the phone when I told her I couldn’t carry for her, that we just weren’t a good fit for each other. She was shocked, she said, because this all seemed so right. Everything seemed perfect to her, she gasped out between sniffles and tears.
I quietly explained that I needed low-key, low-intervention care for my pregnancies, otherwise I would end up unhappy and resentful. I would feel coerced with any treatment that wasn’t medically necessary.
She, on the other hand, needed more reassurance from the doctors. I respected that. She’d had a complicated pregnancy and required expert care to get her and her daughter safely to the other side, and understandably she operated from this frame of reference. I told her that there were plenty of other women who were a better match to be her surrogate.
She found comfort and reassurance in all the intervention, whereas I only felt needless meddling. Fate might have brought us together, but it had also left us worlds apart on this one small, but critical issue.
After she hung up the phone, I sunk low into the faded glider in my bedroom, left over from my years of nursing and midnight feedings. I rocked gently back and forth trying to disperse the anxiety that I’d gone into the call with. Eyes closed, I rocked and rocked and rocked and breathed deeply. It was the right decision, I knew, but not an easy one to give voice to.
The next morning there was an email from her. It was one paragraph long, full of disappointment and anger and blame. She would never have any more children, she wrote, because she believed I was the one meant to carry for her, and was astounded that I would do this to her. She would never find another surrogate, the email said.
If I wouldn’t carry for her, then she wouldn’t have any more children, she’d decided. That weighed heavily on me.
And then she told me to have a nice life.