Episode 14 – Love Languages – Katrina Hale – Psychologist

Katrina is a Psychologist and Infertility Counsellor with over 25 years counselling experience. She is passionate about surrogacy and a strong supporter of all walks of the community that wish to create a family through surrogacy or assisted reproduction. She is committed to helping Intending Parents and Surrogates and their partners successfully navigate their surrogacy journey together.

If you’d like to arrange your own session with Katrina, you can find her on her website.

In this episode, hear how Love Languages look for surrogacy teams and how best to plan for them so everyone has a full cup!

The five love languages are five different ways of expressing and receiving love:
❤️ words of affirmation
💛 quality time
💚 receiving gifts
💙 acts of service
💜 physical touch

Note that the term ‘love languages’ does not relate solely to how you communicate with a partner, but how you express feelings in all kinds of environments. Communication and transparency are two of the most important components to surrogacy journeys. Different people have different styles of communication and it is important to make adjustments for this when on a journey as intimate as surrogacy.

This episode was recorded in July 2023.


These podcasts were recorded as part of the free webinar series run by Surrogacy Australia. If you would like to attend one, head to this page for dates and registration links. The recording can also be found on our YouTube channel so you can see the photos that are described. Find more podcast episodes here.

The webinars are hosted by Anna McKie who is a gestational surrogate, high school Math teacher and surrogacy educator working with Surrogacy Australia and running SASS (Surrogacy Australia’s Support Service). 

Follow Surrogacy Australia on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube

Are you an Intended Parent (IP) who is looking to find a surrogate, or a surrogate looking for Intended Parents? Join SASS.


Surrogacy Australia’s podcast series. I’m your host Anna McKie. Thank you for sharing your time to listen to this episode. These recordings are from the regular one hour free webinars that I run, which I invite you to attend if you haven’t already. They take you through how surrogacy works in Australia, including how to find a surrogate or intended parents. There are opportunities to ask questions and you hear from a co-host each time about their own journey.

This episode, recorded in July 2023, was different to the standard webinars as it featured psychologist Katrina Hale. Katrina is a psychologist and infertility counsellor with over 25 years counselling experience. She is passionate about surrogacy and a strong supporter of all walks of the community that wish to create a family through surrogacy or assisted reproduction. She is committed to helping intended parents and surrogates and their partners successfully navigate their surrogacy journey together.

If you’d like to arrange your own session with Katrina, you can find her at katrinahalesycology.com.au. In this episode, we explore how love languages look for surrogacy teams and how best to plan for them. The five love languages are five different ways of expressing and receiving love. They are words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. Before listening to this podcast, I recommend you take the quiz to find out your own main love language.

I hope you enjoy the episode. Thank you. Anna sent out like a link to the love languages quiz. Anna, can you see the chat? I can, yes. It’s not mandatory to respond, but yeah, if you can just put a yes or a no, if you had a moment to sort of fill that out, just so I can see who, or if you know what your love language is personally. Yay, lots of yeses. This is great. That’s fantastic. Okay, so we’ve got lots of people who know.

what their love language is, which makes it, that makes this more meaningful doing this if you actually have that personal sort of knowledge of what your love language is. So, okay, so first of all, I want to pay credit to the person who came up with the concept of the love languages, Gary Chapman, who wrote a book called The Five Love Languages, How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate.

Yeah, that was back in 1992. And it’s a great theory. It’s hung around, you know, we’re in 2023 and love languages is still very much relevant in relationship stuff. In this webinar, I’m going to apply love languages specifically to surrogacy, how it can play out in surrogacy. So just a quick recap, obviously, the five love languages, acts of service, also known as tasks, receiving gifts, also known as tokens, quality time, also known as…

Time, words of affirmation, also known as talk, physical touch, also known as touch. I tend to sort of use the five T’s, which is touch, time, talk, tasks, and tokens. So I might slip into those, but I’m gonna try and keep it to the love languages. So love languages in surrogacy. So I’ve been doing surrogacy counseling for about 10, 12 years now. And anybody who’s sort of heard me talk about surrogacy is, you know, I’m very much focused on.

surrogacy teams being a relationship. So even though the origin of love languages is really sort of in intimate relationships, intimate partnerships, romantic relationships, the love languages actually apply to all relationships in life. Obviously, we are with surrogacy teams being that relationship, you know, we need effective communication. It’s just important for relationship health. And what I’ve noticed over the years, because like I used to

put more focus on love languages in the counselling, but you know, the community I sort of, SAS sort of does, you know, love languages. I brought new things into my counselling. I noticed it sort of slipped to the side a bit, which is one of the reasons why Anna and I are doing this webinar, just to sort of really consolidate that information into a resource that people can access. But one thing I’ve noticed over the years that I’ve been doing this is how significant the love languages are in how they

play out across the surrogacy journey. And how, when there is that love language alignment, it really does have a significant impact on team harmony. Previously, my focus was on the love languages being a way for intended parents to provide and express gratitude, appreciation, support to the surrogate and their partner using the love languages. But I’ve actually extended it further in actually looking at how that can go both ways.

because it’s also important for surrogates to know what their intended parents’ love languages are because they can use the love languages to help intended parents feel included in the pregnancy and ways to sort of facilitate bonding with their child in neutral, ways to make them feel respected in their role as parents. So it’s really the love languages for surrogates, it’s a way that intended parents can make their surrogate feel supported and appreciated.

And it’s a way that surrogates can make their intended parents feel included and respected as, you know, in their role as parents. Yeah, when Anna and I were sort of preparing for this webinar, we were sort of looking at like, how do we communicate, you know, all the different permutations that can be in a relationship? So this is just a little snapshot. It’s in no way comprehensive. But if we think of like, let’s say we’re looking at one love language, let’s say we’re looking at touch. OK, we’ve got a ticket means that.

person, that role has the love language. If we have a cross, it means that they don’t. If you’re looking at us like a typical surrogacy group, we can do surrogacy with a solo surrogate, we can do surrogacy with a solo intended parent. There’s all the different combinations of that. But you can see how across teams, there can be so many different combinations of who has that love language, who doesn’t, who has it in common, you know, is it, you know, do we have it where?

surrogate and her partner, they have that in their relationship, but then none of the intended parents have it, or there’s one of each, or there’s, you know, three and one, or nobody has it whatsoever. So you can sort of see how complex this can get. Just give you a few examples of how differences in love languages can play out in relationships. Now, these are not surrogacy specific. So these are just in any sort of relationship. I mean, these are in friendships, these are in sort of more intimate relationships.

Let’s say we’ve got a time person and a talk person, okay? And they are friends, okay? So they catch up for a coffee one day. They have a coffee, they spend some time together and they chat about a whole range of things, okay? They just natter on, you know, for the hour. At the end of that, the time person is going to come away feeling really satisfied. It’s like, oh, it was so good to spend some time with my friend.

Oh, we just chatted. I can’t remember what we talked about. It was just so good to hang out and catch up and spend some time with them. Now the talk person, they might come away from that going, oh my God, we sat there for an hour. They talked nonstop. Do you think once they sort of acknowledged anything meaningful? You know, do you think once they sort of acknowledged how much effort it took me to get there or wished me happy birthday?

apologize for being late. You know, it’s like, no, they just shouted nonstop. What a waste of time. You know, so same activity, two friends, but they can have entirely different perceptions of it. You know, if we look at how that might play out, you know, in this sort of a talk environment, because talk is not just the spoken words, talk can be the written words as well. If you have a talk person, you can send them a text in the morning. You know, it’s like, good morning. I think, you know, love you, love your work, keep it up.

you’re the best person in the world. Okay. That brief text for a talk person, that will sustain them. Those words will sustain them for the rest of the day. That’s just what they needed to hear. Send that text to a time person and they’re like, what’s this? Like, will that take you like 30 seconds getting on the bus? Talk’s cheap. Give me a phone call. Like spend some time with me. The intentions can be good, but they can just miss, you know, if those love languages aren’t in alignment. If we have a

I’m a person, a tasks person. You know, let’s say they’re, you know, they’re a couple, they’re at home, they’re relaxing at the end of the day, they’ve cooked dinner, you know, they’ve eaten dinner. Our time person, they might go and sit on the lounge, okay? So they’re like, I am waiting here to spend time with my partner. I want to spend some time relaxing with my partner, watching, you know, watching TV. I’m gonna wait here for them to come. The tasks person,

you know, is there like, I just got to get these tasks done, you know, so that then I can go and spend time with my partner. But they’re feeling a little bit resentful as they’re doing the tasks. They’re like, hmm, would be nice if they came and helped me. Then we could spend some more time together. But you know, but we’ve got our time person sitting there going, oh, I get it. I can see how they want to spend their time. They want to spend their time on the washing up. You know, washing it up more important to them.

me because that’s what they want to spend their time on. So again, we’ve got good intentions but a mismatch there. If we have a tasks person and a tokens person, we might have a tasks person who is, you know, they’re busy, they’re overwhelmed, they’re really stressed, they’ve got too much on their plate. Their tokens partner notices that, can see that they’re stressed out, can see that they’re overwhelmed and they think, I’m going to do something nice for them. I’m going to do something

how much I see them and appreciate them and recognize the stress that they’re under. I’m gonna buy them a bunch of flowers, okay? Task person opens the door, there’s the bunch of flowers, it’s been delivered and they look at them and they go, great, another job. Now I gotta put the stupid things in water. You know, it’s like, why didn’t my partner just come and do the washing up or help me out with something? Take a task off my to-do list. Again, good intentions.

mismatch in sort of how they were received. I wonder how many couples are sitting listening there tonight. I was just thinking that. How many people are nodding their heads going, Oh, my goodness, you just saw inside my house. Like in my lounge room. OK, so now I want to look specifically at how love languages can play out in surrogacy relationships. The examples that I’m going to give you, they’re in no way comprehensive.

These are just a couple of points just to sort of give examples of how it can work. So the first love language that we’re going to look at is the acts of service, the tasks. Okay, so again, we’re looking at how that can go both ways. So for the surrogate and her partner, love language is a way for intended parents to make the surrogate and her partner feel supported and appreciated. It’s when it goes the other way, it’s the way for a surrogate to make her intended parents feel included.

the pregnancy and respected, you know, as the parents of the child that she’s carrying. All of these examples are for when the love language is present. Okay, so this is talking about someone who identifies as having tasks, you know, as one of their love languages. For most people, there’s five love languages. Most people have two or three, you know, which are their primary love languages. Some people might be able to identify like, you know, this is number one, this is number two, this is number three. Often people who are sort of very empathic

They’re like, oh, I’m sort of all of them, but that’s often because they’re very good at tuning into other people’s. And they’re also very good at recognizing other people’s love languages. So for example, they might be actually a tasks person, but when someone gives them a bunch of flowers, they’re like, I can recognize and appreciate what they meant by that.

delighted with the bunch of flowers. I would have preferred something else, but yeah, I can tune into what they’re expressing. So it doesn’t miss the mark with that. So for an example, if we have a surrogate and or, her partner who is acts of service or tasks, then those things like alleviating the domestic and the childcare burden, okay? For people who are, their love language is acts of service, doing things, making something,

fixing something, providing practical support, doing a job, an acts of service person, when that happens, it feels like love to them. It feels like support. People who aren’t acts of service, they’re just chores. They’re just things that need to be done. They don’t have that emotional meaning to them. Okay, so if the surrogate and or her partner is tasks, then the things that are appreciated,

demonstrate that support and appreciation, you know, making her life easier, easing that burden. So things that you can do is like you’re doing those useful, helpful, practical things without being asked, not just not just asking, can anybody guess what leukemia is? Any guesses in the chat? You’re all gonna laugh when you hear it. Let us know if you need anything.

Oh, yes, yes, yes, Alex and Courtney, well done. So, yeah, so it’s not just that sort of like common throwaway line of like, oh, let us know if you need anything. Do something. You know, it’s like actually just get in and do it. You know, it’s like a tough person. It’s like they don’t mind. You know, they don’t mind what you do. Do it. Trying to think of that chore list and just coming up with ideas.

or even trying to name them. I can think of these three things to do, you know, pick one that’s helpful. Yeah, it’s like, would you like me to take your garbage out? Would you like me to do your washing up? Yeah, would you like me to bring in your washing? Would you like me to do this? You know, instead of like, oh, is there anything you want me to do? So for intended parents, being a way to feel included, a way to feel respected, you know, in their role of…

as the parents is to have ways of expressing their support, to have ways of expressing their parenting basically, because the parental instinct is care, protect, and nurture for intended parents. They’re not carrying the baby themselves. Their surrogate is carrying their baby. For them to express that parental instinct through providing care, protection, and nurture for their surrogate is a way of them expressing their parenting. It’s a way of them expressing that.

parental instinct. So for a surrogate who might not be tasks herself, it’s really letting your intended parents do those little things for you, even if you technically don’t need it. Okay, let them participate, let them be involved, let them express their acts of service, you know, towards you, you’re providing that support it is

It’s an expression of their parenting. It’s also an expression of their care and support for their surrogate. So let them do it through those acts of service. Things to avoid with someone who’s acts of service, not following through on commitments to provide practical support. Because that’s basically, again, like I said, those acts of service, it feels they’re significant. They’re not just little tasks. They’ve got an emotional, emotional meaning to them. So not following through on those commitments to provide that practical support.

It’s an emotional letdown. It feels like support, appreciation, gratitude, you know, wasn’t there, you know, even though it was a task that didn’t get done. But it feels like an emotional thing was missed, not a practical thing was missed. Also for sort of someone who’s, I mean, this is sort of a common thing for human beings, but particularly for surrogates, you know, not asking for help.

out of a concern for feeling like a burden. Like particularly, if you know that your intended parents are tasks, it’s to sort of not ask for help, not let them sort of express themselves, you know, to demonstrate those acts of service. You’re really denying them the opportunity to sort of show their love and care and appreciation and support for you. It’s really handy, I think, to hear these things and to think about it from both sides of the team here. It’s not just…

things that intended parents can do to support their surrogate, but it’s really considering the team. And I can just imagine teams would be, have such a deeper level of connection if everybody’s considering each other, but recipe for, you know, great connection there. Yeah. Yeah. Well, again, this is, you know, it’s like, like I said, this extended, extended concept. It’s like only recent for me to sort of extend the concept of this. So, so yeah, words of affirmation also called talk of all the love languages. This is the hardest.

one, you know, for people who aren’t talk, this is the hardest one to sort of get right. If you’re not a talk person, people who are talk, they just get it. They just, they just know what it is. Okay. So to try and sort of explain what, what talk is, talk is, is very much like having, you know, a cheer squad. Okay. It’s someone who, you know, it’s like, you know, for a surrogate and a partner, like that cheer squad concept is really, you know, I’ve got people

who are providing that verbal or that written encouragement, appreciation, and that then is interpreted as emotional support. They see what I’m doing, they notice what I’m doing, and sort of cheering me on with that. And remember that words of affirmation, they’re not just spoken, they can be written. So they can be texts, like sending, encouraging words or validating words. They can be…

cards, you know, they can be letters, you know, they can be social media posts. One of the things that Anna and I were talking about, your social media posts could go either way. Sometimes what can happen with words and affirmation, people might tell other people it’s like say, I might be an intended parent. And I might tell other people, or, you know, our surrogate, you know, she’s the most amazing person in the world. She’s so generous.

You know, she’s such a kind person. It’s like, she’s always thinking of other people. It’s like, we just appreciate her so much. They’re telling everybody they know these wonderful words about their surrogate, but they never put them into words, you know, for their surrogate. And if she’s talk, she wants to hear them. Cause that’s the cheer squad. You know, it’s like, Oh, that’s lovely that you think I’m a kind, wonderful, generous, caring person who’s always looking after.

other people. Okay, let me tell you about something with talk. If you give those words to a talk person, they feel emotionally supported. They feel validated. They feel appreciated. But what they’ll say to you is, you don’t need to say that. No, it’s like, you don’t need to tell me that. Tell me more. Tell me more.

didn’t need to say that. So it’s like, don’t know, do not do not take the being dismissed literally. It’s like when they received, then they get to be dismissed. But if they’re not received, there’s nothing to dismiss. Okay, so when they get dismissed, you know, that’s because the person’s emotional cup is full. So yeah, social media posts, this was something that Anna and I were talking about. It’s like, if I’m talk, and then I’m a surrogate, and I’m talk, and then my intended parents write a glowing post on social media.

with all these lovely words about me, you know, that they’ve never ever said directly to me. It’s like, I’m, that’s not going to be so meaningful for me. To me, that’s going to be like, Oh, you’re actually trying to make yourself look good. It’s like, cause you’re giving these words to other people, not to me. You know, it’s like, you know, it’s like, I would rather have them given to me directly than see, than read them on a social media post. So it’s, it’s like I said, talk is a very, very tricky one.

If we’ve got intended parents who talk, then it’s really expressing verbal appreciation for the support that’s given if they’re doing tasks, if they’re doing things, if they’re organizing things, if they’re booking appointments, if they’re just there, it’s really just putting it into words. Thank you so much for organizing that. I really appreciate that you’re making this easy for me. Thank you so much for…

for taking good care of me. Thank you so much for the emotional support that you give me. It’s like, I really, really appreciate, really, really appreciate it. You know, you are fantastic, intended parents. Also encouraging and validating their future parenting. You are gonna be great parents. You know, you are gonna be the best parents. Like your kid is so lucky. The way you’re setting up the nursery, it is like so cute. It’s like, I am so into it. It’s really just, again, providing that cheer squad the other way.

You know, the squad concept is really often it’s, it’s just sort of describing what the person is doing that you’re happy about things to avoid with words of affirmation. There’s a concept of sort of like talk is cheap that a talk person, it’s like they’re needy, you know, they need their, their, their ego stroke. Now, why do I need to like, you know, pump them up all the time? You know, why do I need to sort of stroke their ego, you know, all the time?

But if we think about it, if we compare those sort of words, you know, to sort of like a hug, you know, they’re a form of support. You know, we can understand that someone might need a daily hug. So why is it unreasonable, you know, that they might need daily words of encouragement? It’s sort of like, no, I gave you a hug six months ago, you know, when I told you that I thought you were amazing. Why do you need another one?

You know, it’s like, you know, you got one six months ago. So yeah, you can’t just say needy and demanding. So, uh, yeah, it’s like, that’s just, you know, it’s, it’s a love language. You know, someone who doesn’t like hugs, they’re like, yeah, one six months ago, that was cool with me. It’s like, I’m good. I’m good for six months. So the other thing, again, like talk is the hardest one to coach. Okay. People who are taught, it’s the hardest one to coach.

And often people who aren’t talk, who doesn’t come naturally to, it’s like they’re like, I don’t know what to say. You know, it’s like, I don’t know how to put it into words, you know, so I sort of say nothing. But sometimes just saying something, having a go. Or sometimes even even sort of saying like, I really, I really want to tell you how much I appreciate you, but I don’t know what words to say. It’s like, I just can’t.

just can’t really describe how I’m feeling that’s putting it into words. So yeah, so it’s like, have a go, you know, say something rather than nothing. Even if it’s echoing back the things you see them doing, because then it’s a form of recognition that, oh, you do see all the things that I do around. Yeah, again, sometimes it can be that sort of thing of like describing, you know, what you see the person doing. Okay, so physical touch.

So this one’s a really interesting one in surrogacy. I’m going to focus it very much on sort of something specific, you know, which is around touching and talking to a pregnant belly. In surrogacy, you know, we have the surrogate and, you know, she’s going to be sort of, you know, carrying the baby. So there’s a concept I call like my body, you know, I’m the surrogate, it’s my body, but I’m carrying your baby, you know, I’m carrying, you know, my intended parent’s baby. So it’s my body.

but it’s their baby inside me. And then for the intended parents side, it’s like there’s that respect. It’s like, that’s your body, but our baby’s in there. So it’s an unusual sort of, we have an very unusual boundary there because if I’m a surrogate and I’m touch and my partner is touch and I’m carrying my own baby, then because physical touch is my love language, it’s gonna be meaningful for me.

to form a relationship, to form a bond with my child in utero through touching my pregnant belly. Because I’m touching my child, I’m having a physical interaction, a loving physical interaction with my child and I’m forming that bond with my child. I also might talk to my child with that. Not necessarily talk-talk, it’s like touching and talking to my belly. You know, touching my pregnant belly, if my partner is touched,

then we might be cuddled up together so that they might be able to feel the kicks or something. Again, we’re in an intimate relationship. So them touching my belly, it’s part of the intimacy of our relationship. We already have that closeness in our touch boundaries. And it’s significant for us as a couple as to how we express care and support and bonding with each other. So it’s meaningful for us as a couple to do that.

So if I’m a surrogate and my love languages touch, then I will most likely, it will be meaningful for me to sort of touch a pregnant belly as a way of forming a parental bond with a baby in utero. So we’re not talking about sort of strangers in shopping centers, okay? But some people, even though they would not touch a stranger in a shopping center, they just relate to having an…

impulse, it’s meaningful for them. You know, it’s like, well, I see a pregnant woman, I don’t just see a pregnant woman. It’s like there’s a little baby in there. Like it would almost be rude of me, you know, not to go and say hello, not to go and sort of shake the baby’s hand, you know, so you’re not to introduce myself, you know, to the baby and sort of go, oh, hi, I’m acknowledging that you’re in there, you know, through through touch. So if we have intended parents, okay, who are touch, then

If they were carrying their own child, there would be absolutely no restriction on them expressing their parental bonding, their parental relationship, their care and nurture for their baby, through touch, through touching their own pregnant belly or touching their partner’s pregnant belly. That would be a meaningful way for them to express that parental bonding, that pregnancy connection, to express that love and care and nurture for their child. But if their surrogate is

pregnant with their child, then we’ve got a boundary there, which has to be negotiated because you sort of, it’s not really, you know, that sort of done things and sort of just go up and start touching someone’s belly. If everybody’s, if everybody shares touch, you know, then, you know, that can be, you know, that sort of almost like intuitive, because if a surrogate’s touch,

you know, then it’s like, well, for me, you know, it’s gonna be meaningful. I’m going to want my intended parents to come and touch my belly because that’s going to demonstrate to me that they are bonding with their child. You know, if a surrogate is touched and her intended parents aren’t touched, there’s the risk where, you know, she she’s like, they don’t want to sort of interact with their child. They don’t want to bond with their child. You know, and it’s like, it’s OK, little baby.

sure they’re going to give you lots of cuddles when you come out. Because surrogates, they really need to sort of outsource that parental bonding. I need my intended parents to demonstrate that they are bonding with their child. I need them to demonstrate that to me. So, yeah, everybody’s touch, we can sort of navigate that in terms of sort of like that my body, your baby, your body, our baby. It’s like, how are we going to do this? Some surrogates are like, come up and like anytime you want.

and touch. Others, you know, it might be like, well, yeah, maybe ask first. Or sometimes intended parents are like going, this looks like, even though she says I can touch anytime, there’s no way that I’m just going to go up and touch. It’s like, I’m always going to ask. But you know, it’s meaningful for everybody. Where it gets tricky is when there’s that disparity. You know, if we, like I said, if we’ve got a surrogate who is, is touched and her intended parents aren’t, then it’s, it’s like, it’s meaningful for me. I sort of need them to, to demonstrate their bonding.

me but that’s not a meaningful way for intended parents to demonstrate their bonding. So that’s where you know if we’ve got that situation that’s really where you know we’ve sort of got those things to avoid that sort of touching without enthusiasm. It’s sort of like if you’re invited you know and it’s usually like oh the baby’s kicking there’s something going on you know would you like to touch? It’s like even if you’re not touched if you’re invited and it’s a reasonable invite.

Be enthusiastic, give that interest, give that interest in what the baby’s doing in there. If we have an intended surrogate who’s not touch, okay? And her intended parents are touch. This one, yeah, it’s like every single intended parent that I’ve spoken to, they’re like, we will respect her boundaries. We will respect that there’s a no touch boundary there unless we’re invited, unless we’re specifically invited in.

But how that leaves intended parents, it’s like with a sense of yearning. I really want to touch, it would be meaningful for me to touch. It’s like I can sort of feel it, but I’m going to respect her boundaries, so I’m not going to. So again, it’s sort of if you’re a surrogate and you know that your intended parents are touched, it can be thinking like, is there a way that I can be comfortable with

giving them an opportunity to sort of connect with their baby in that way. Can I invite them to touch if there’s something interesting going on? Can it be that we just have that physical proximity to the pregnancy that we can sort of be together? Maybe that they can sort of see me expressing that touch to their child in utero. Yeah. Oh, just this can be so, again, powerful for teams.

having these conversations of saying where you feel uncomfortable and what doesn’t come naturally and expressing needs from both sides of the team there, it couldn’t create more harmony down the track as opposed to why she’s so standoffish to us. Well, it turns out that’s not a love language. So it’s not that she doesn’t like you and doesn’t want, and is that, oh, is she gonna keep the baby because she’s not letting us near it? No. Yeah, it just, yeah, like, again, it might not have been something that she sort of did with her.

own child. Yeah, we’ve also sort of got like, if we’ve got Sarah gets partner, you know, who’s, who’s touch? Yeah, is it going to be meaningful for them? Little babies like a guest in in their house, you know, so it’s like if someone else’s child came over to stay, would they be sort of, you know, show that affection that physically, you know, hugs and sort of physical affection, you know, to a child who was coming to stay. It’s like, it’s not my baby. But it’s like, Hey, little baby, how you doing in there? You know, like, are you okay? Yeah,

a meaningful way of interacting. We’ve also got the touch boundary between, you know, how does the surrogate’s partner feel about the intended parents touching in that more intimate zone of their partner? Let’s just sort of look at boundaries between everybody here. So, yes, so touch is sort of unique as a love language in surrogacy because we’re crossing partner boundaries in that team relationship.

So, okay, another, you know, one which can be a bit controversial. Gift giving, it’s not so much controversial. It’s more like it is the one that people will least admit to having. I don’t know how it comes up on the quiz, but when I sort of talk to people about what love language they think they might have, there’s very few people who enthusiastically admit to being tokens, okay? Because…

It goes into that thing of what I’ve got their things to avoid. It’s like, oh, people who like tokens are divas or materialistic. Oh, they, you know, they just like, they don’t just like getting gifts. They just like stuff tokens. It’s not a materialistic thing. It’s if we think about it as more as a token of appreciation, something, an item, you know, or a gift or something which represents it represents that support and appreciation. You know, it represents.

sentiment, you know, it represents something meaningful. You know, it’s like, I saw this and I thought of you. This token reminds me of that experience we shared together. You know, I really appreciate what you did. Here have a box of chocolates. They’re tokens which represent, okay, they represent love, you know, love, affection, appreciation, support, you know, being appreciated, gratitude, you know, ways of, you know, feeling included, you know,

So if we’ve got a surrogate and or her partner, who identify their love languages as tokens, as intended parents, you can find out what she and or her partner like. What do they like to eat? What do they like to drink? Is it cheese or chocolates? Is it red wine or white wine? Pregnant surrogates obviously aren’t drinking. So what’s their favorite ginger beer to quell the nausea? What’s a treat for them? Is it flowers, candles, soap?

small gifts, you know, things like that. You know, something that can be spontaneous. So it’s not sort of like you did this, I’ll give you a gift. That’s sort of the way it’s sort of, it’s more like, oh, it’s a payment. You know, it’s more that sort of spontaneous thing. And another way is, you know, if someone is token, then you’re turning up with sort of gifts and treats for the kids is gonna be meaningful. Oh, it’s like, oh, you’re into my kids. Like, yeah, you’re appreciative of my kids. You notice my kids, you recognize my kids because you know, you…

give them those gifts and treats and things. But an intended parent is gifts or tokens. Then it can be, you know, mementos, ultrasound scans, you know, it can be the pee on a stick, you know, in a gift box. It could be buying like a trinket, which represents the baby, you know, so that then it’s like it’s something for the intended parents, you know, to sort of to have and to hold and to carry with them.

which is like, yeah, that’s a symbolic representation of the baby. You’re carrying our baby. It’s the surrogate going, here’s something that I’m gonna give to you from me, that then you can carry and keep with you, which is that sort of tangible sort of representation of the pregnancy. We can swap them at the end. So the baby can go to the intended parents. And then that talisman.

which the intended parents carried around for the entire pregnancy, that’s now very, very meaningful. And they can then give that to their surrogate as a gift at the end, that she then gets to take that home and she keeps that forever. So, it’s that sort of swapping of the tokens. So, as you can see, tokens and gifts, they’re not just sort of like birthday presents, they’re symbolic, they’re talismans a lot of the time. The other thing is like,

a baby shower, you know, or at birth, you know, to actually sort of give that gift, that recognition, transition into parenting through the sort of the tradition of sort of gift giving, you know, to new parents as well. You’re giving them, yes, you’re giving them the baby. It’s a pretty significant gift. It doesn’t need to be a big one. Doesn’t need to be a big one. It’s just that token, you know, we can just, that’s an act of friendship.

I’m giving my friends who just had a baby a gift, the same as I would give my other friends who had a baby. I just happened to be the person who carried and birthed that particular baby. Yeah. Yeah, that’s thoughtful and shows that you know them and their love language to give them a small gift too. Okay, so someone asked, yeah, it’s like, I can imagine gifts and tokens can be tricky to navigate in an altruistic surrogacy environment. The way I do it, is it a token of appreciation?

Or is it a material incentive or reward? Very, very easy. I agreed to be a surrogate. I agreed to carry someone’s baby for nine months, and push that baby out of my vagina or have that baby cut surgically out of me for a bunch of flowers, for a new dressing gown, for a pair of shoes, for a seafood dinner, for a weekend away.

I did all of that, you know, carrying a baby for, you know, spend all that time and energy doing the legals and the counseling and the paperwork and doing IVF and carrying a baby and birthing that baby for a weekend away. Does it add up? Does it feel balanced? If it doesn’t feel balanced, it’s a token. It’s a token of appreciation. I agreed to do all that for a new car. It’s starting to balance there.

you know, depending on what type of car it is. Okay. You know, I agreed to do that for a trip to Disneyland for my family, you know, for me and me and my three kids, you know, it’s like, yeah, we’re definitely getting in the range where it’s feeling like compensation. You know, it’s, it’s feeling like, yeah, the things are in balance. So that’s a really, really easy way to do it, to sort of go, it might not have been strictly necessary. It wasn’t.

an appointment, it wasn’t maternity clothing, it wasn’t strictly pregnancy or surrogacy related, but was it just a sweetener? Was it just a treat? Was it just a token? And that’s a really, really easy formula to do it. Does it add up? Would anyone with common sense go, oh yeah, I can see why she did that now. Yeah.

a car or a trip to Disneyland, you know, if you said it to other people, would they go, ah, that’s compensation. But if they say, yeah, a bunch of flowers every week. Oh, yeah. Sign me up. You know, it’s, oh, yeah, I can see what that was about. Yeah. Yeah. Signed up for that. Tokens as well. There’s that joy in giving gifts as well. So I think one of the things that we had before was

receiving them enthusiastically. It’s like if you’re not tokens, but you’re with someone who is tokens and they can they give you a gift. It’s like, appreciate it, like know what it means to them. That’s their way of expressing their support or their appreciation. So the final one is quality time. So quality time, that’s about prioritizing someone in your time. We all have 24 hours in our day and we get to choose how we spend that however we want.

So we’ve all got the same amount of time. So it’s like, who and what do I give my time to? Who and what is my priority? So if we have a surrogate and or her partner who are time, ways of making them feel supported and appreciated through time, if there’s an appointment, let’s say it’s a scam, to not just make that about the business, it’s not just, oh, we have a medical appointment to go to, and that is purposeful.

I’ll meet you there five minutes before we’ll do the appointment. Look, it should be finished by about four to 10. Look, I’m really busy, so I’m going to have to get back to work or, you know, we’ll fly in, you know, we’ll attend the appointment, but then we’re going to get have to get straight back to the back to the airport because we’ve got to get back. We’re just doing the appointment for someone who’s love language is quality time. Then it’s like, oh, yeah, we’ve got to attend the appointment. You know, but it’s like.

I thought that was going to be an opportunity for us to spend some time together as well. You know, I thought that, yeah, I thought that I thought you’d sort of want to spend some time with me at the same as well as getting the appointment, you know, as well as getting the activity done. I thought we could have lunch or maybe we could have a coffee. Yeah, I mean, we could just hang out for a bit. You know, in addition to sort of adding time around those sort of activities, you know, there’s also just spending non-siragasi time.

together, let’s spend some time together, where there’s nothing surrogacy related to do. You know, if I’m a time person, then that’s really, really meaningful for me. You know, it’s like, oh, you’re not turning up to spend time with me because there’s something to do surrogacy related. It’s like, you actually want to spend time with me, you actually want you, I’m actually a priority for you, because there’s so many other things you could do with your time.

But yeah, you’re choosing to give it to me. You’re choosing to spend it, you know, to spend it to me. If we have a surrogate partner who are time, giving them the gift of time, you know, you know, giving them time to, you know, doing doing stuff. Sometimes it can be you can do tasks to give the gift of time. I have so many people who are like, oh, yeah, I used to be time, but then I became a parent and I think I’m more tasks now. Yes. And it’s like you’re still time.

you just want someone to do the tasks for you so you can get some time. You know, it’s like tasks are now the gift of time, you know. So it might be doing tasks so that that couple can have time together. I will just throw in a question that did come up. Do love languages change at all? And if so, how often? Or are we pretty much geared? I think we’re probably, yeah, like I don’t know if there’s been any research in this. We’d have to ask Mr Chapman. We’d have to go and ask Gary.

Yeah, to see, I think they are fairly consistent over time. So yeah, often people will be like, oh, I think mine have changed. But when I actually explore it with them, it’s more that they have adapted to their partner’s love language. Or as you mentioned with having kids, there’s more tasks often that come for many other people, but it could be things are a little bit merged together. Or they might be like, oh no, I’m all of them.

Yeah, that’s because give all of them, you know, it’s like, yeah, you can do them all. And you’ve got people around you who they give to you in their love language and you’ll take anything. It’s like, I don’t care. I’ll take it all. If you had a choice, what would you actually prefer? And also what do you like to give? What do you naturally give?

So if we have an intended parent who was, it was time, you know, a way of, again, where, you know, we’re looking at how can we make them feel included, you know, and respected, you know, in their role as parents. Yeah. So it’s making them a time priority in your day. No, it’s like, I’m just, you know, going to check in with you. I’m going to give you some of my time, you know, to sort of check in on, on, you know, touch base, give you an update on the pregnancy, let you know what’s going on. You know, there might not be anything going on, but it’s like, I’m thinking of you.

Okay, I’m thinking of you and I’m giving you that 10, 15 minutes, you know, in my busy, busy day. Yeah, as you notice on the slide, it’s the same thing. You know, it’s also like spending regular, non-saragasy time together, catch ups, you know, come and meet my friends, you know, come out, you know, just come and spend some time with me. I am not time. Okay. So I always imagine if I was a surrogate and I had, you know, intended parents who were time, it would be like my worst horror, you know, that they were like, oh, we just thought we’d come over and hang out.

be like, I’ll give you a list of jobs. Like I am tasked. I’m like, come and do some work, like bring it on. It’s like, oh my God. It’s like, what do you mean? We just spend time. Like we just, we just hang it out. Are we? Okay. So yeah. You know, if it’s not your love language, it’s, it’s hard to fake it. In surrogacy, you need to put that effort in. Yeah. It’s like, if I was a surrogate and my intended parents were time, I would know that that was

something that I needed to give them to allow them, to feel connected to me, to allow them to hang out with me when I was pregnant, because that was gonna be meaningful for them. So, if you’ve got a quality time person, what are the things which make them feel unappreciated? Changing plans at the last minute, running late. It’s really about wasting or not valuing their time. It’s like, time is important.

making other things or people a higher priority, for how you spend your time. It’s like, I really would like you to come and spend some time with me this weekend. Oh, hang on, I’ll just check my diary. Oh, look, I’ve got a haircut, and it’s like, I was gonna go and visit my neighbor because they’ve just got a new puppy. And look, I really want to sort of chill out a bit. It’s like, can we make it next weekend? The time person is hearing.

I’ve got the whole weekend, but I would rather spend my time on all these other things than you. It’s like, oh, okay, I can see where I come in your priorities. Whereas a task person might be like, oh yeah, haircut, doing that job, yo, getting that done, fixing that. Oh, totally. I totally get that you need to get that stuff done. Let me know when you’ve done it and come on over. Yeah. So, so yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s the emotional meaning.

go in the love languages, which is the significant thing here. All righty, so, sorry, Cassidy, it’s complex. It’s a complex relationship. Everybody who does it says it was so much harder than I thought it was gonna be. Love languages, they are complex, but they are important if you pay attention to them, if you take that time to sort of find out each other’s love languages and then find out the detail, what are things that are meaningful.

know, for each person within that. I gave examples, that is not the conclusive list. It’s like if someone is a time person, you know, how does that play out meaningful, meaningfully for them? You know, if someone is a tasks person, you know, how does that play out meaningfully for them? If someone is a touch person, how does that play out meaningfully for them? You know, what is that love language for them? If you have to, if you’re in a relationship where you don’t share a love language with someone and many of you will

relate to this in your personal relationships, it’s like you have to adapt. It might not be your default. It might not be what comes naturally for you, but you might know that it’s something that your partner needs. The most common one, you know, where that can play out in relationships is like where one person is touched and the other person isn’t. You know, they’re like, I know that they need hugs and kisses and cuddles. I know that they need it. I know that’s important for them.

I could do without it, but it’s their thing. So I give it to them, you know, or I let them cuddle up to me on the lounge. It’s like, I’d rather sit on the TV, watching TV, not being cuddled, but I know it’s important to them. You know, so I give that to them. Same as in any relationship. Check in that you’re getting it right. You know, particularly if it’s, you know, it’s OK. It’s like, this is not my love language. Can I just check in that I’m doing this right? It’s like, oh, I’m doing it wrong. You know, work in progress. So.

And obviously do the love language quiz because it’s online, you know, fantastic that everybody did it before they came along here. So, all righty, we are running so on time. And I know we are nailing this one. Good work. Yeah, so do we have any questions? So there’s one there. So the question is, how do you deal with the complications of these love languages in practice? How would you manage when someone is feeling unseen by the other person, but the other person feels they have been giving everything that they can give?

How do you foster an understanding of a different point of view? If one person feels that they’re giving everything that they can give, but the other person is still not feeling it, how, you then have to have an awkward conversation, really, together. Yeah, yeah. If we look at love languages as sort of communication, we have a communication issue. You know, we have one person who thinks that they have communicated and we’ve got another person going, I didn’t receive it.

you know, I didn’t get it. You know, it’s really the same as in any relationship. You know, we need to sort of sit down and discuss it and listen to what the other person’s saying. Again, I really hope I’m answering this question. You know, short answer, it can happen if there’s a mismatch of love languages, highly likely to happen, you know, because it is the hardest thing is to…

doubt, you know, like, you know, do a lab language, which is not your natural one, because it you’re out of your comfort zone. You know, it takes conscious effort. It doesn’t come intuitively and naturally. So you’re likely to get it wrong. Yeah. And you might think that you’re nailing it, you know, it’s, it’s like, I’m always fascinated in surrogacy, you know, by the different stories I get, let’s say with, with practical stuff, it’s like, I might have one party saying, Oh, yeah,

Heaps of practical, heaps of support. We’re bringing in lots and lots of practical support. And then I listened to the other party and they’re like, they haven’t been doing anything. Let’s say it’s tasks. It’s like, if my love language isn’t task, it’s like for me to do, for me to cook one meal, like that’s huge. It’s like, I’m doing heaps. It’s like one meal of Fortnite, like that was a big task.

for me to do that, whereas the person who might be tasked on the receiving end of that, it’s like, that was nothing. One meal out of 14, that was not a lot. That was a little bit. And my kids didn’t like it. It’s really, it’s too spicy. Yeah. So yeah. So it’s really just, yeah, resolving it the same as any relationship issue. But at least if you have done the love languages

got that framework of love languages, it gives you a framework for the conversation. It’s like someone is dissatisfied. Yeah, there’s a relationship issue here. It’s like, is this a love languages issue? Yeah, I’m not feeling supported by you. I’m not feeling appreciated by you. It’s like, but I’m doing all these things. You know? You know, it’s like I am.

I am turning myself inside out, you know, to make you feel supported and appreciate it. It’s like, can’t you see it? They are difficult conversations to bring up, aren’t they? Um, that’s probably where having these conversations as a team in the planning and having this sort of team culture of checking in with each other means you can check in and bring it back up with each other. It’s like blaming it on the third party, blame it on Katrina, blame it on SAS, blame it on love languages, and you’ve got that framework to go, let’s go back and.

talk about the love language, it’s like we were told to do by Katrina. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Cause it’s like, okay, they’re not feeling supported and appreciated by me, or we’re not feeling included in this pregnancy or respected in our overall pregnancies. It’s like ding, ding, ding. Could this be a love languages thing? Even though I think I’m doing it, I think I’m doing a great job at it because I’m using my love language. But then like I was talking about, there can be that mismatch at the beginning.

I think I’m doing a great job because I’m using my love language, but it’s not quite hitting the mark, you know, for the other people. So even having that framework to sort of go, Oh, this might, this isn’t actually, this is not an insult. You know, this, this is just sort of like a tweak. This doesn’t mean that I haven’t been putting my effort in. This might just mean that I’m putting that amount of energy and effort in the wrong direction, you know? And if I put like 50% of that in the right direction, you know, it, it, it, it, it, it

might get a better result. Your cut will overflow. Yeah. It’s always funny how, yeah, sometimes one can look like the other. If we have a time person who likes giving tokens, it’s often about the time spent thinking about the token, the time spent preparing the token, the time spent shopping for the token, the time spent making the token. Yeah. I actually, yeah, really enjoyed, yeah, the time I

tasks, again, that’s the gift of time. It’s like, yeah, I will, again, I will give you my time, you know, to do a task. I’m actually giving you my time and I’m doing a task in it, you know, but I’m actually giving you the gift of time for yourself, you know, by taking that task off you. Does that make sense, Sarah? You asked that one? Looks like it does. There we go. Yes. Yeah. So anything else?

Yes, one’s come through. If there is distance between the IPs and surrogate, what are some strategies that can be used to support the team? Oh, good question. Good question. Yeah, yeah. So, yeah, so often if there’s sort of distance, if everybody’s talk, you’re winning, okay? Talk, travel the distance. Yeah, yeah. Time can travel the distance because then it’s like, well, yeah, let’s do, let’s have a Zoom. Yeah, let’s have a FaceTime.

Like let’s have a regular patch up. Let’s prioritize spending some time together. Sometimes, yeah, tokens can be used across distance. I wish I could be there to sort of spend time with you. I wish I could be there to do tasks for you. Here, have a token for a massage. Yeah, it’s here. Go and get yourself something nice. Yeah, it’s a substitute for sort of time or tasks.

Even in couples in romantic relationships, you know, if their relationship goes long distance, you know, often they’ll say, you know, we sort of didn’t have that touch, you know, so we sort of, yeah, sort of substituted pork or something like that. Hold each other how much we missed hugging each other or something like that. But it was, you know, it was, so sometimes, yeah, they could be in that same way that tasks can be the gift of time. Sometimes, yeah, things

be there to give this to you, but I’m gonna use this one instead. Or sort of being creative with that. Yeah. Yeah, that’s good. I know of one team that they have a regular FaceTime where they cook dinner together. Particularly, I guess, if the surrogate’s not time, but recognise the need to stay connected, that I’ve got kids, I can’t just sit down and spend an hour with you, but what about we put each other on FaceTime in our own homes at dinner time, and we’re cooking and talking, and then you could sit.

we all eat dinner together. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, sort of the virtual dinner party and stuff, yeah. But it doesn’t, it’s sorry, it doesn’t have to just stop her life to have that happen. They can get on with, and seeing the chaos that is a family life too. Definitely dinner time, yeah, yeah, yeah, bath time. Yeah, yeah, read the kids bedtime story. Just gonna suggest that. Yeah, yeah, yeah, on FaceTime or something like that. It’s like, oh, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. Yeah.

Yeah, like, you know, keep my kids entertained with something. Or it can be, yeah, like sending a gift basket, you know, sending sort of like popcorn and get a movie, here’s some popcorn, you know, it’s like, yeah, like create a family movie night or something like that. Like, let’s give you a night in the family night in or something like that. So COVID created creativity, but sorry to say teams, but just families. I know my mum would sometimes FaceTime the kids and have half an hour with each kid and took them around.

know, the kids just showed her things in their bedroom or outside and I knew I had that hour, you know, she’s like, she’s like, go away, go make your coffee, go. Yeah, yeah, time there. So thinking back to what we all did in COVID and how we kept in touch with friends and family can come into play here for long distance teams too. Yeah, because would she have otherwise given you sort of like babysitting time? Yes, yes. Yeah, yeah. So she was like, okay, I know how important this is for, yeah, the mum to get a break.

Yeah, I’m still going to give that to her instead of going, oh, bad luck, COVID, I couldn’t, I couldn’t babysit anymore. It’s like, I will take them off your hands. That’s what it was. Yeah. Depending on the age of the kids, of course. Yeah, that was really helpful. Yeah. Well, I reckon we’ve probably covered most things here. Shall we wrap it up? Absolutely. Thank you, everyone, for attending. Thanks for your enthusiasm and participation. It’s been fantastic. Thank you for sharing your time with me for this episode.

If you’re finding these episodes helpful, please share them with friends. If you’d like to see the images mentioned, head to our YouTube channel for all of the recordings. If you’re looking for more individualised support, consider joining SAS, Surrogacy Australia’s support service, so you can be connected with a mentor and also with me to help guide you on a journey. You might think of me as your Siri for surrogacy. Until next time, welcome to the village.

Looking to find a surrogate in Australia? Consider joining ⁠SASS⁠.

Looking for an overview of surrogacy? Join us in a free, fortnightly Wednesday night ⁠webinar⁠.

Looking to chat with other IPs and surrogates in a casual setting? Join us for a monthly ⁠Zoom⁠ catch up, one Friday of each month. 

Looking to hear stories from parents through surrogacy and surrogates? Listen to our ⁠podcast⁠ series or watch episodes on our ⁠YouTube⁠ channel. 

Looking for support one-on-one? Register for ⁠SASS⁠ to connect with me – your Siri for Surrogacy, or book in for a private consultation ⁠sass@surrogacyaustralia.org