Episode 39 – Merindah – surrogate

Merindah birthed as a surrogate on the Central Coast in November 2020 for a couple who were previously friends through her wife’s work. They had a little girl, Josie, and the two dads live in Sydney.

This episode was recorded in October 2021.

Merindah’s wife Kelly can be heard (with 2 others) on an episode about Partners of Surrogates. Watch it on youtube or listen to it on episode 36.


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). 

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


Thanks for watching!

Welcome back, or if this is your first time, thank you so much for taking the time to listen to Surrogacy Australia’s podcast series with me, your host Anna McKie. My guest on this episode was a co-host on the regular webinar series that I run. Those one-hour webinars are free and will take you through the surrogacy process in Australia. You will hear from a surrogate or parent and there are opportunities to type in your questions and we will try to answer them. You can find upcoming dates on our website at surrogacyaustralia.org

This episode, recorded in July 2022, features Merindah. Merindah birthed as a surrogate on the Central Coast in November 2020 for a couple who were previously friends through her wife’s work. They had a little girl, Josie, and the two dads live in Sydney. Merindah’s wife, Kelly, can be heard, with two others, on an episode about partners of surrogates. You can watch it on YouTube or listen to it on episode 36. I’ll put a link for that in the show notes. Merindah has become a dear surrey sister friend to me.

and we both had struggles with post-birth hormones. Indulge me for a minute as I mention my own reflection piece about my postnatal depression. You can find it on my blog, Surrogacy Safari, and I’ll put a link in the show notes for that too. It’s a written piece and a recorded video. I mentioned Merindah in that reflection as she was one of the village members who helped to pull me out of the dark places I was in. I’ll use this opportunity to thank her again for her kindness and time.

to share messages with me when I needed it most. In this episode, we discuss my Everest analogy, parallels of climbing up and down the mountain as a team before and after birth, the importance of ongoing post-birth counseling, we both used it, and answering lots of typed in questions, including those from IPs, Intended Parents, asking about how to connect with a surrogate, what were some of the tough questions to discuss pre-pregnancy.

and how to balance out feelings of positive and negative feelings towards surrogacy when you have had a hard time post-birth. I hope you enjoy this episode. We’re being joined by Merindah here, and we’re going to go through the photos from her journey and I guess see what life after surrogacy looks like for their team. So tell me, Merindah, who’s in this photo first of all? Hello, thank you Anna. So I’m in the middle in the green shirt. My wife Kelly is on my left, so she’s in the blue top.

John is at the front with the red hair and the red beard. And so Kelly and John used to, they used to work at the same school. Again, more high school teachers. I’m surrounded by you all. And Mark at the back is John’s husband. Beautiful. And so there’s something significant on these t-shirts too. There is. So we called ourselves Team Wombats. So a little play on words. So the-

wombat animal became really kind of, um, it was reoccurring during our surrogacy journey. So yeah, when I was pregnant with Josie, I actually nicknamed her Joey because a baby wombat is a Joey. Um, and this was when we went to that’s Katrina Hale at the front, psychologist who was just amazing and such an anchor of support for me and the whole team. Like highly recommend her. I loved her.

And she, this is at her house and she actually had a wombat like pot plant. And we, we thought it was hilarious. So we took a team photo with it. Beautiful. And do you know of, you know, my six years in the community, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a photo of anybody else with Katrina. I think you’re one of the few teams who have that. So like, you know, to go to a house.

I’ve not, I’ve only usually have my sessions with her over Zoom. So you’ve, yeah, it would have been really nice to be together in person. Was this part of your mandatory counselling, some of the long sessions? Yeah, this was a big group one before we kind of got approved for like, surrogacy. So yeah, this was, it was pretty deep and it was exhausting, but it was really good. We discussed a lot of things that really, I’m glad we talked about, and I’m glad we had Katrina there to kind of navigate those conversations. Yep. Good advice.

For people listening, there’s a recorded webinar that Katrina’s done and she sort of takes you through some of the different stages and to prepare you for that. So, you know, because people are a bit nervous usually, aren’t they, what’s gonna be involved? And is this the doctor at the IVF clinic? Yeah, his name is Dr. Person, which I thought was hilarious. I’m like, oh, he’s the doctor person, so juvenile, but he is at IVF Australia in Sydney. So this was at the York Street office near Winyard. And this was the day of

the embryo transfer that we were successful. So many people involved in the room when you got pregnant. Yeah, so not long after this photo, we all had to put the scrub hats on and the gown, and we got to see Josie on the screen as a little blast assist, and then we actually got to watch her go up into my uterus, which was amazing. Yes, pretty cool. And so did it work first transfer then? Yeah, I was really lucky, really, really lucky. Yeah, and then I think our photos then jumped.

straight to birth hey and what a photo here again so much emotion tell me what you feel and think when you see this photo oh that’s probably probably one of my favorite photos because the woman in that photo with me is Claire and she at the time was the birthing unit manager at my local hospital and she just became such a like an extended part of the team and i was so glad she was there like as i was transitioning i just looked at her and said don’t go anywhere i need

So I had Kelly on one side, Claire on the other side of me in the birthing, like the bath, and John and Mark at the end of the bath with front row seats. And I think they were just like, oh my God. And trying for a water birth was something that was really passionate to you, I think, is that right? I really, really wanted a water birth, yeah. So I was very grateful that I got that. Wonderful.

Um, cause I don’t know if we said, but Merindah and I’ve become good friends over the years and shared some significant parts of our journey together. If you were following along with the dates, we only birthed about five weeks apart from each other. So we rode the few months post birth together and I’m sure we’ll get into that. And then this photo here, I just want to pause before you say anything about it. I want people to look at where everyone’s looking in this photo. So your wife, Kelly, look where she’s looking. Think about where Merindah’s looking. Think about where the dads are looking.

Merindah, your eyes are probably a bit harder to spot. Yeah. I was looking up at John and Mark and I was just looking at them looking at their daughter and I was like, oh my God, like that feeling of, I helped do this, they’re dads now. Yeah. And hearing you talk about it, like takes me back to mine and just, yeah, what a feeling. And the dads are looking at their daughter and then Kelly. Yeah, she was only looking at me. She…

Honestly, post-birth, she wasn’t really worried about Josie and the boys. She knew Josie had the boys to look after her and the nurses in the room to look after her. Kelly was just kind of worried about me at that point, just like she was just watching me like a hawk, very protective and tears in her eyes. She was so proud of me. She couldn’t stop saying it. She just kept saying, I’m so proud of you. I can’t believe you’ve done it. And again, so for you, it’s not us as surrogates we wanna do this, but-

our family come along for the ride, don’t they? So to see your partner really proud of you, it deepens your relationship. Oh, big time, big time. Kelly said like, I’ve just fallen more in love with you. That’s beautiful. Maybe I need to do it again, no. Well, we’ll come back to that. Okay, so hang on. There’s some beautiful moments there. Is there a tear in your eye there? Yes, yes, lots of tears. And, but like really happy tears, just overwhelming.

black emotions. And so I suppose I’ll ask the beginning questions because there’ll be people here tonight who are brand new. Oh you’re a teary. Was that because you were feeling like, oh she’s over there now? Did you feel pulled to Josie at all in that way? How can you describe it? It wasn’t tears of like they weren’t sad tears. It was just kind of the enormity like as you say you worked so long building these relationships.

talking about surrogacy and then the pregnancy, it’s just this massive buildup to this pinnacle moment. And then it’s kind of just everything floods out and floodgates are open and like, man, that oxytocin as well. So. Love for the child and love for the dads and love for your team. It’s not a, I want this baby in my house. I’m just joyful for what we’ve done. Yeah, it was, they were joyful, just really big, big emotions. Like just, oh my God, we’ve done this. Like we.

We have done this, not me. It was like, I kept looking at her and going, she’s here. We did it. And I’m sure everyone listening going, no, you did it. But as a surrogate, you feel like it’s a we because we all had this plan, didn’t we? To bring this up here. And look at that. And do you know today for the first time, I’ve seen this photo so many times, I only noticed that there was a wombat on that blanket for the first time today. I’ve never noticed that. So that was well-placed. You look beautiful in this photo. And you’re beaming. You felt happy, I’d imagine.

I felt so happy and in that photo, I just felt so loved by the boys, because they’re both really tall, by the way. So I just felt really protected and I just felt the love from them and the gratitude. And like you said, that’s the best payment. Yeah, really powerful images here for both IPs and surrogates listening, I’d imagine. And then again, seeing the guys, the smiles on their faces, looking down at the little girl, hey? Yeah.

And then we’ve got this one here with lots of hands. Yeah, so that’s my hands. I actually held her and then John’s hand and then Mark’s hand. So it was like the three of us holding her up. And there was a few other photos with all the grandparents holding her. Yeah, just it takes a village. I know that gets said a lot, but it really does. It really does. I think it’s lovely to have involved you in the post-birth photos too,

So there’s a good conversation point for teams. And then here they are, some time post birth, because they live a long distance away from you, so that they would near you post birth for a little while. They live in Sydney and I’m on the New South Wales Central Coast, so it’s only about an hour and a half, but way too long post birth to be away. So they stayed on the Central Coast, it ended up being close to three weeks, like five minutes from my house, which was amazing. Good, yeah, I think you need that. So…

Sorry, it’s an IPs listening, factor those things in. Was this the day they left? Oh, no. No, there are lots of photos of the day they left and I was looking through some of them today and I was very emotional that day, but actually, and it’s funny. I missed the boys more than I miss Josie. Like I actually thought it would be the other way around, but I just missed. I wasn’t ready for John and Mark to leave. Cause I just.

Yeah, we went through this huge thing together, you know. No, this was one of the visits they came up, they did everything they said they would do post-birth. And that really helped to alleviate my fears of like, oh my God, they’ll cut me out as soon as the baby’s here. Like they just, they made so much effort and they still do, you know, 20 months later to make sure they come and see us and we go see them in Sydney, so. That’s beautiful. Yeah, well, it’s a credit to your team that you’ve done what you said you were going to do.

And then now you, as you said, 20 months later and now living the dream, so to speak. Yeah. Um, let’s, before we get to some questions, just tell me a little bit more about that in terms of, you said you missed the guys. So post-birth, it wasn’t so much the baby you missed. It was the guys and the team. What more can you tell me about that then? I guess to prepare IPs and surrogates for what are those emotions going to look like post-birth, how, I mean, it could be different for everyone, but how was it for you? Oh.

I know you and I can talk about these for five hours. So I’ll do the, like try and do the shorter version. It was the word I often used to describe those, like that fourth trimester was gnarly, like just wild and gnarly. And I could be fine one minute and then ball my eyes out the neck. So I actually was really worried that I was scarring my own kids. I was like, they’re just gonna like, they’re probably wondering what is wrong with my mom. They’re fine, by the way, they’re so fine.

Um, it was just that it was that whole feeling of we had gone through this huge journey together. And can I share the analogy that we’ve talked about you and I? Please do, please. Yes. Okay. So in the depths of those gnarly waves, post-surrogacy, which Anna and I were both in at really similar times, um, we talked a lot together and Anna really helped me to understand it. It’s like team Wombats for me. We’d all planned.

out like an Everest trek. Like we’ve done all the research, we did all the planning, we packed the bags, you know, we started climbing, which is like the pregnancy. We got pregnant, we started climbing the big mountain together. We’re all there, the four of us, all of our families behind us, everyone’s there on the mountain. We get to the top, birth the baby, that’s the pinnacle, we put the flag in the mountain, and then after that, it was just instant life.

Not instant. It just, everyone left the mountain. Pretty much John and Mark got chopped off the mountain because Josie’s blood sugars dropped. She was in shock and she just got whisked away to special care very quickly. So I just saw them leave. I told them to go with her. I said, you need to go with your daughter. I’m fine. And then, you know, Kelly was amazing. Like she’s my most amazing wife and partner. But at some point, like, you know, a couple of weeks later, she had to go back to work and.

like she left the mountain. And then it was just me standing on the mountain and I felt really alone, like, but I had my sorrow sisters and like the boys were always there every time I needed something like a photo or video or FaceTime, they would do that. But it was like, I was wanting to relive every moment all the time. I was like, oh my God, it’s been one week and one hour since I birthed. And like everyone had moved on. Yeah, for me, I birthed on a Thursday night into a Friday morning. So for the first few weeks, it was like,

what were we doing this time last week? Yeah, it’s that sense of you miss them and you miss the enormity of what you’ve done and they’re busy because they’ve got a newborn and they’ve now got interrupted sleep, don’t they? So they’re not pausing to sit there and go, wow, the day we put the flag in, you know, the day of the birth and just reminiscing about all of that. They’re happy to.

when we bring it up, but then you don’t want to bring it up all the time because it’s a complex time, isn’t it? And it’s not like they cared, they still absolutely cared and had my best interests at heart. It was just that, yeah, they had other priorities. They had a screaming baby. Yeah, we had our own kids in our house that had to be looked after and I was kind of this hormonal mess. So Kelly just, you know, was the anchor in our family at that time. Yeah, I found I was quite grumpy with my kids for a few months, just really short-tempered.

Because you’ve got a girl and then twins. Roughly, do you remember how old your kiddos were at the time? So they were, I’m gonna say like five. Piper would have been five and the twins three. No, two, two years old. Yeah. Yeah, something like that. Yeah, so, and then I’ll add in what Katrina Hale, the psychologist often talks about, she talks about head, heart, hormones. And right, and so, and this is the analogy I often give to people, you know, summarizing what she’s done there. Is that?

Your head and your heart know what you’ve done. We planned this baby, this journey together. The baby is where I wanted it to be, in the house with her dads. I know that’s where she is. My heart is happy because I did what I wanted to do. My head logically knows where this baby is, but my body, the hormones, doesn’t get the memo. It doesn’t have the baby that it birthed with it all the time. So it’s having this sense of loss. And this is something I don’t say out loud very often because I don’t think it gets talked about enough. But tonight we’re talking about it. That…

I wonder if the only other group of people in society who could perhaps draw some parallels are women who have had stillbirths because their body birthed a baby and it’s not with them. And what I find really challenging is that, but we’re not that. There’s happiness and joy because the baby’s here that everybody wanted. And so my body was sad, but it felt really hard to be sad.

because everybody else was happy. Grandparents were happy there was a baby here, you know, and I did what I wanted to do, so why am I sad? But your body doesn’t understand that. And then sometimes when you hold the baby, often I didn’t even need to look at the kid. Like perhaps I was breastfeeding Baker or just sitting holding him. And I just wanted to talk to the adults, Matt and Brendan, and talk about things and even just share where they were up to with poos and feeds and all of those sorts of things, right. But it was as though afterwards I’d held the baby, you know, the baby, you know, Baker, but.

my body’s felt this sense of deep peace that it’s like, that’s the baby. Oh, okay. And so then you were okay for a little while. Do you remember some of those sorts of body in opposition to your mind or anything? Yeah, yeah. And it was a bit of a, like, we would mess with my head a little bit. I always thought of it as like, it kind of felt like my body was going through its own grief process. And I had to sort of almost kind of rewire my body to be like, no, it’s okay. Like, this is what we wanted.

Like it’s okay, what are you like reassure? Agree. Yes, it is. My daughter, Emily, at the time, she had quite a heavy doll. Like it had like a quite solid head and whatever. And I would often tuck it in under my t-shirt and be walking around home with this baby held to me like a weighted doll. It’s like, cause my body needed that. So I think grief is the right word. Your body is in grief. And I don’t know if that quite gets talked about enough. So I’m glad we’re talking about you tonight.

I’m going to find the link and share in chat the link to my own reflection epically long 40 minute 40 minute video or 20 minute read. If you can’t copy and paste a link, the blog is called surrogacy Safari, because we say the word journey so much in this world, I decided to call it something different. So it’s my reflection on my postnatal depression that I was officially diagnosed with and needed antidepressants to help me through that. And it’s only now.

21 months later, I’ve nearly finished my wean off those. So here’s the impact of surrogacy, right? Nearly two years later, the impact that has on physical recovery and stuff too. So any more you wanna add about that before we perhaps get onto some questions? It’s just really hard for everyone to navigate. And I would say communication is the biggest thing. So I would often have to say to John and Mark, I know I’m crying right now, but I’m not sad. It’s just, I smelled her and she smelled familiar.

I had to just really kind of coach them through it as best I could as well. They were amazing though. Because yeah, I would hold her and my milk would leak and then I would hold her and I would bleed. And it was just kind of, yeah, just hard to balance all of that, I guess. And like you said, there’s ongoing things. I had high blood pressure and was taking levital old tablets for like three weeks post-birth, which I’ve never had in my life.

potential kidney damage after the birth because I had preeclampsia. Like there was, so then you’re juggling a myriad of feelings like resentment because I’m like bleeding, there’s milk. Like I’m going through all of these. Resentment, yes, I had that too. But then like elation that we achieved what we wanted to achieve. So it’s just, I think just know that there’s so many emotions going on, but I think communication for us is what got us through. And I’ll add, I had continued counselling.

Yes. Get the boys paid for extra sessions post birth. I just said I just need to talk to Katrina. She knows my story. She knows our story and I just need her right now. And she was there for me because I absolutely crashed and needed help saying I had post-natal depression. I head to my GP and go to her and and then I remember at some point maybe I’d had one of my initial sessions past my crash post my crashes and she said I’ll see you in a week Anna. I’m like a week? Are you sure? Is that too soon? She’s like no Anna you’re not well. I’ll see you in a week.

You just needed to be told you’re not well and just have somebody that got it. So I actually had sessions up to 12 months post-birth, but as a team, I guess that’s what I advocate for in SASS. So I wanted to do that too. So I had my final session a week after the first birthday, just sort of debrief. So that’s something to factor in as a team. But that’s, I suppose, part of the payment, isn’t it? Like our mental health has to be well. And if we were their wife, they would be paying for this if it was there. So it’s it’s part of the cost. So so we’ll head on to some of the questions.

and weave in still parts of your story. Now I am conscious that there’s quite a few questions here that might be more suited to an IP webinar. Liz and Paul say that they’re new to the process and their IPs for surrogates. If one of the IPs has chronic, oh, come on. There you go, nurse in the making. That’s my line. I could try, but it’s probably stuffed up leukemia, which is being very well managed. Would that put you off linking with IPs? Now, Merindah, you carried for IPs that you knew so you didn’t have to go out looking, but you’ve got lots of experience with surrogates in this community or of thinking for yourself.

Would something like that put you off? No, not for me. I mean, I guess it’s a very individual thing, but it would just be a discussion that would be certainly come up in the counseling with Katrina or whoever you choose. Yeah, like how to manage that. Because there has been teams that I’ve known of where one of the IPs has been sick, there’s been cancer, there’s been different illnesses, and it’s just putting in contingencies in place if you’re not well at the time or…

know if you’re fatigued or going like I don’t know if there’s medication troubles like just making sure there’s support in place for the surrogate in the event that one of the IPs is out of action or you’re not feeling well. Yep fair point and I think sometimes different surrogates are drawn to different people to help and so sometimes a surrogate might have had her sister go through cancer or her mum passed away from cancer or something and that’s the reason she wants to be a surrogate to specifically help a cancer survivor.

So I’m not saying see it as your trump card by any means, but I’m saying that is you and that’s what you bring to this. So be you, don’t hide anything. Share, that’s a strength that you have to be working through leukemia that you know how to navigate hard times. So it actually makes you a very empathetic person, I would imagine. I hope that helps put you a bit at ease there, Liz, tonight. What are some of the tough things you had to discuss as a team? There’s a couple from that top hundred. Okay, so.

I mean, the really tough ones were what would happen so if I’m pregnant and John and Mark had a car accident and passed away, who does the baby go to? Because I didn’t want another baby. So yeah, we got to talk about that. What happens if at a 12-week scan, the sonographer finds an abnormality? Like…

What are you going to do? Thankfully we were all on the same page with that one. What if Kelly and I split up while I was pregnant? Like all of these things we would hope wouldn’t happen, but like it’s not impossible. So yeah, what would happen? What would support look like? How do we navigate that? Just really kind of, oh, just difficult questions that, yeah. And then I find, I know about you, they’re the big things you discuss at the beginning, cause they’re important.

But then along the way, the things that become hard are things like communication. And in terms of who’s contacting who and how often and when we catch up and little niggly things, I suppose. The worst thing was money for me. I hate talking about money so much that I just, I froze. I just couldn’t do it. I really didn’t enjoy it. So Kelly started a separate Wombats Money Group with just John and Mark and herself. And she was like the facilitator and the boys got me a credit card.

And I was just able to use that. And I didn’t even deep, I just kept receipts and they were amazing. Cause they just knew I really didn’t like it. It was trust there. And every surrogate’s the same. I think that’s why in SASS we modeled ourselves as surrogacy UK and we’ve got this expenses calculator. So it’s this spreadsheet where we anticipate a lot of the costs.

And so when the surrogate goes, oh, have I been spending too much money on maternity clothes? You can almost go back to the spreadsheet and go, well, this is what we all agreed on. I’ve got nowhere near what we thought we’d spend. That’s fine. And you need to almost have that third party, so be it Kelly in a separate group chat or a SaaS or a mentor or somebody to take away that awkwardness. Because you’re an adult woman who runs your own household and can manage a budget. When you suddenly then have to go to two guys, it feels like going to ask your dads for money.

And you’re like, yeah, weird feeling, isn’t it? So there’s another tough thing to talk about. How are you going to talk about money? Because the surrogate is not going to like talking about it because she doesn’t want to ask for money. She knows how expensive this is for you. She doesn’t want to cost an extra penny than it needs to. So the IPs need to be on the front foot a lot of the time there. The other thing for me that was really hard was the breastfeeding. Because I was really adamant before I got pregnant. I was like, I don’t want a breastfeeding baby. But it kind of changed for me when I got pregnant. So.

I don’t know how you weave a caveat in there or just say, look, right now, I don’t think I want a breastfeed, but it could change. And if it does change, what does that look like? Maybe just being flexible as well, because we weren’t. So then it kind of, yeah, just sort of, we weren’t on the same page with it. And it changed, and I didn’t know it was gonna change, but it was just once I was pregnant, I was like, oh, I do wanna give her milk, you know? So. Yes, and that’s hard. And perhaps even having a counseling session in the 30 weeks to check on that,

finding out how everybody feels and understanding why it might be beneficial for the surrogate and the baby to have some. So yes, how are we going to navigate change? Yes, yeah, I would in hindsight like we maybe could have done that bit a bit better. Yeah, I mean, every team’s got some of those things, haven’t they? So yeah, hopefully lots of guidance here for anybody listening. So let’s get through these. So I’m guessing the negative feelings were far outweighed by the joy the experience brought you eventually for me. You know, like when you’re in the negative, it’s intense.

with time, it balances out. So I know that seems like a stupid question because you support people to do it too, both of us, yes. I’m worried the resentment would bring on feelings of regret, fair question. At the time, there’s some bitterness towards it at the time, resentment of, I’m left with the dregs left over and you’ve got a baby. Yes, yeah. And you and I in the middle of the night shared many of those things with each other, but.

I’ve never regretted surrogacy. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life. But yeah, like it does take a while. Like it took our team, I would say, I don’t know, like eight, nine months to sort of start to move away from surrogacy and, you know, by 12 months, it’s in such a good, it was in such a good place and still is now, where it’s just John and Mark with the baby. Like I actually find it hard to look at Josie now and connect her to the baby that was here. Totally agree. Yeah.

And so, yes, I think for both of us too. And I mean, look, oh, you know, this is the webinar I talk about this. I mean, but clearly if anybody reads this post, they’ll know it too. I was in the depths of darkness and, you know, the beginning of some suicidal thoughts and Merindah was a person, you know, Christmas around Christmas time watching slow TV. But like there was a time where I was my husband was out. My kids were in bed. I’ve been drinking and full disclaim here, you know, and I was in the corner of the kitchen in tears and I couldn’t get up off the floor.

And Merindah was one of the people that I was messaging. And she got me up off the floor. You basically said, you’ve got to move your body, Anna. You’ve got to get up, just start with that. And so that was horrible. They were the darkest times. And I remember thinking to the boys, and I wrote a big ugly message just after Christmas saying, I’d give up on me. I want to give up on me. So I’m surprised you haven’t given up on me. I would run away from this mess of a person and the stuff that I’m talking about, but they didn’t. I know I annoyed them.

and because we’ve had some really frank conversations about it. No, I don’t regret it. It was damn hard to do, but there’s a sense of pride. I’ve done, like climbing Everest, I’ve done something really hard that not everybody can do. And yes, my descent down the mountain was an avalanche. I kept rolling down and it was lonely.

I mean, I wasn’t alone, but you know, you’re lonely. And I suppose, you know, for the person saying that we support other people to do it. And that’s why Merindah is sharing a story here tonight. Why I do what I do with SASS, I suppose, because if other people can learn from our experiences and just be prepared for your descent down the mountain, we don’t know what your descent will be like. You may still have an avalanche, but if you do, you’ve talked about it before as a team, or you know that the supports that are around there that you need to build in. I think that’s why we share these stories, yeah? Yeah, I think so.

My advice to IPs would be, like it’s a genuine concern or worry that the resentment would lead to regret, but my advice would be just stick by a surrogate and ride the gnarly waves with her because, and trust the process. Like everyone said to me, you’ll feel better, it will get better. And it’s so hard to believe in those moments, but then you get to the point where Anna and I are, we’re like, oh yeah, it totally does. And you have moments where you’re like…

I could do it again. Yeah. Except my dads don’t want a sibling, yours too? They don’t want a sibling. No. And we would, I would now not do it for anybody else because of the time investment that we put in to get to the team. We don’t have the energy to put that in with different people now to do it well. But yeah, so we’ll support other people and encourage them to do it instead. Yeah. What have you learned about yourself in this journey? Oh.

Big question, Anna, far out. I’m not going to prop you with that one. Um, something that I say to myself all the time, and I think it probably started from surrogacy was I can do hard things. Like I can do hard things and I have survived all of my hardest days. And if I can survive and go through and thrive after surrogacy, like I feel like, I don’t know, I just feel really strong in myself. And when I think about the birth, I just think of surrender. Like I actually learned.

to surrender in that moment. Cause a few things didn’t quite go to plan with health stuff, but I surrendered and it worked out. So in surrendering and trusting in the whole process, like I, my, our whole family has grown and there’s this amazing little girl in the world now with her incredible dads. They put me to shame. They’re so, so amazing. Yeah. So like, I just feel.

I feel really grateful. I feel proud and grateful. And I just like what I learned about myself is that I am strong. Yes. Well done. You’ve done a magnificent thing. You too. And then any, I guess parting advice in terms of was there anything that you’d do different? I think just like I said, maybe building in a bit more flexibility. So I was just so adamant about some things at the start before I was pregnant. So that…

What else? I wouldn’t do the gestational diabetes test, but anyway, that’s another story. I didn’t, sorry, pregnancy, I didn’t, nor in my own second pregnancy. So learning to stand up for things saying I’m not going to do that as long as I’ve got midwife guidance and we’ve got other checks might not do it all. Yeah, and I mean we advocated fiercely with the hospitals because we birthed, and same with you, during COVID 2020, like you know when it was all quite unknown and scary and

wouldn’t change it, it was just something we did, it was advocate fiercely for the team. My birth during COVID, there’s good advice. Yeah, don’t birth during COVID. We thought it was just gonna be us, we were the 2020 girls, and then, you know, that would be our story, now it’s been like three years worth of COVID, you know, people who have done that, eh? Yeah. That’s wonderful, I think that’s some great summaries there, some wonderful lessons, and I can see by the chat, it’s been quite active tonight, that people have really appreciated your insights there. So thank you for sharing that with us.

Oh, no worries. Thanks, Anna. And I loved the, I joined the monthly SASS webinar, didn’t I? Because we do that separate to SASS, so it’s just Surrogacy Australia, so that you don’t have to be a part of SASS to join those. Because I want it to be free and accessible, you know, it’s a community thing. Oh yeah, I was just going to do a plug, like I’m not part of any of it, but I went to the last one and I want to come to the next one because actually I was like, oh my gosh, I do have stuff I can share. So…

I’ll come along to the next one as well if you have any other questions like after you leave tonight and think, oh, I should have asked that. There you go. And that might feel like they’ll know a familiar face then. Yeah! Come and say hi! Cool, good. Thank you so much for joining me. On our YouTube channel, you will find many other episodes as well as the images mentioned in this webinar.

If you’re looking for more resources, check out the show notes for this episode and consider joining us for one of our webinars so you can have your questions answered on the spot. Please subscribe to this podcast if you found it valuable and share it with someone so they too can benefit from this conversation. Until next time, welcome to the Village.

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