By: Kelly Rummelhart
Last week one of my surro-friends posted that The View would have an entire episode dedicated to surrogacy. I was very excited and it started out promising but then took a nosedive. Of course, as a two-time gestational surrogate, I’m a bit biased, but after watching this episode, I’m not sure they did surrogacy any favors. It had me asking myself, again, Where is all the Good PR on Surrogacy?
Let me just cut to the chase. I do plan on blogging about the entire episode later (because there is quite a bit I can tear apart) but for now, I’d love to discuss the 4 minutes and 41 seconds that got me seeing red.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the Intended Mother of the Year, Alexis Stewart.
I swear, every time I watch this segment I get more upset. I also get saddened hoping that she doesn’t have any other surrogates pregnant at the moment, because I can tell you that if I were her surrogate and I heard her talking about me that way, I would be livid. However, I know I would have NEVER matched with Alexis Stewart because it is hard to hide this much narcissism during the matching process.
My first thought was that she was “on something”. She was everywhere, stopping mid sentence to jump to another thought. I could see some watching this a few times and still not truly getting what she was trying to put out there.
For the record, if she was trying to come off as a snotty, egotistical, cold-hearted bitch, she did a marvelous job.
As I was watching it, it was almost comical seeing Joy mess around with her notes, a few of Whoopi’s faces, and everyone on the couch being so very quiet. It made we wonder if they were all thinking, “Whoa, where is she going with this?” or “Perhaps we should have prepared her better?”
I saw it going downhill as Alexis discussed the part about the newly pregnant surrogate being upset that she didn’t inform her, in the beginning, about how she was already expecting a baby (any day) with a different surrogate. I’d be pissed too. Not because, as Alexis said, the surrogate was jealous because she wanted to be the first but because I’m sure it was more about Alexis not being honest with her. This surrogate signed on to help a childless woman have a baby, when in fact, she was already going to be a mother. That surrogate may have not matched with her, if she knew the truth . . . especially if she knew that several surrogates were being used at the same time.
Next came one of my favorite quotes of the segment,
“Uhhh . . . (stumbles over words) . . . By the way, (stumbles over words) the, the surrogate, it’s not about them.”
Nice. Very nice. Yes, we surrogates know the goal is to get a healthy baby into our IPs hands but you know what, for about 9 months or longer (if it doesn’t take right away), it is partially about us. I think it is hard for Alexis to see her gestational carriers as people because she talks about them like they are little cogs in her master plan.
She made it seem like the reason she got matched with the above surrogate was because she didn’t use an attorney. I think she got matched with her because she didn’t fully disclose her plan to her surrogate and when she found out, the surrogate was hurt and pissed. Whether she was matched through an attorney or not, I think several surrogates would feel the same way. You trust us to carry your baby but not to let us know you are using several surrogates at the same time? You know why Alexis didn’t tell her? My guess is because most mentally healthy surros would never sign on for a journey like that.
When they ask her about advice for using an attorney, she goes on about having someone else interview them, etc. Here’s a thought Alexis, how about you use a legitimate surrogacy agency? Oh, that’s right, because NO AGENCY OUT THERE WOULD EVER SIGN ON WITH SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO HIRE MULTIPLE SURROGATES TO (for lack of a better word) COMPETE TO GIVE HER A BABY!!!!
Which leads me to my other favorite quote, “They’re not, (stumbles over words) . . . I know they’re doing something special and wonderful, yes. It’s also a job. So . . .they are not the important person . . . I don’t care . . .”
OH HELL NO!! At that moment I felt bad for anyone whose job it is to grow this woman a baby. If I were “hired” by her, after seeing that interview, I’d be giving my notice. And can I just say I LOVE how quiet it is on the couch still? And by looking at Guiliana Rancic’s face, it looks like she’s already decided if she uses a surrogate, she will NEVER be like this woman!
I don’t see my surrogacy as a job. Sure, I get paid for pain and suffering and my time, but I don’t personally see it as a job. My jobs are running the boutique I own and teaching. Being a surrogate is more of a lifestyle, not job; you cannot clock out when you’re a surrogate. There are no breaks or vacations from carrying a baby . . . but if Alexis wants to call it a job, then I feel sorry for whoever has her as their boss.
I think one of the reasons I got so upset watching this is because my journeys have been so different than what Alexis is babbling about. Never once have my Intended Parents ever treated me like an employee. I was, and continue to be, treated like a friend or family member. My first set of IPs speak very highly of me and have said that they wish my other IPs would speak about me more. I told them that it is a privacy thing but when they do speak of me it’s usually with the words “fabulous”, “amazing”, or “awesome” attached. They sometimes even include my three kids (not by name) and even mention that I’ve been a surrogate before. All of that means the world to me. It reminds me that they are grateful and that I’m important to them. Still.
Alexis mentioned that her private life is not her surrogates’ business. Sure, sure, I get that, but trying to impregnate multiple people at once is their business if they are one of the women trying to “farm” babies for you. My second set of IPs were cautious with their news of having a surrogate but they still “let me in” their lives. I guess they figured if I could keep a secret as big as having their babies, I deserved to learn more about them. I would never match with someone who didn’t want to let me in . . . whether that was Alexis Stewart because her life is “none of my business” or even Elton John and David who have mentioned their surrogate (at first) was anonymous and didn’t know who she was carrying for. I couldn’t do that either, but will leave that for another post.
Until next time, I just hope that when Alexis sees herself on TV she is embarrassed by how she came off and treats any future surrogates with more respect. (Although after that, who in their right mind would sign on with her?) After all, it is partly about them and they are one of the important people in the process.
Here is a clip of the show
Kelly Rummelhart writes about her experiences as a two-time gestational surrogate for gay couples. She calls herself a “Uterine Activist” and will be the first to tell you that her uterus is an ally. Kelly also writes at Just The Stork