Isabella is a mango this week. Well, obviously she really isn't a mango, but she is roughly the weight of one ( 1 pound) according to babycenter.com. Every week, I get an update comparing her to some kind of fruit or vegetable. Then, her mother and I can talk about her "little mango". Isabella is a wiggly, tumbly, bouncy little girl. I love it when I am at work teaching, or sitting in a meeting, and I feel a "bump", "Thump", "BAM" in my belly. I love to know that she is thriving and playing and happy. I am gaining weight like mad this pregnancy. 6 pounds last month, and 5 each month before. That puts me up at least 20 pounds so far- and we are barely past the halfway mark. So, 23 weeks and counting... this pregnancy is going so well that I often forget she is in here- until she wakes up and starts to play :)
Two dogs are currently racing around my house trying to prove their dominance over each other. Whisper is here for the week, so our (very new and very young and very hyperactive) dog Charlie-the-crazy-border-collie has a cohort to wreak havoc on my home with. They both drive me nuts, but they entertain the children, which brings me to...
My three precious monkeys. I don't know if it is pregnancy-induced hormones, or just me, but the kids were with their father the last two weekends, and both weekends, I just wanted to cry. It has always been so easy to have those mom moments where I am screaming in my head, "I need a break!", but now that I have spent so many weekends and summer weeks alone without my children, those moments always come with a grain of salt. I realize now how fleeting my time with my children is. I never know how much longer I will have them, how much longer God's grace will allow me to be so blessed, or how quickly the remaining years of their childhood will fly by.
They are growing up so fast, so smart, so talented, so beautiful. I look at them sometimes and just think, "of all the things I could have done in this life, I chose this." And I look at the chaos of my home, and I listen to them screeching and hollering and squealing, and I smell popcorn that nobody is watching burn in the microwave, and I think about all the places they need to go tomorrow and the things that must be done by week's end, and I realize, "this is exactly what I was meant to do; this is exactly who I was meant to be."
I cannot imagine my life without them. I do not hide from them that Katie was nearly here when I married her father, or that I think getting pregnant at eighteen is a very bad idea. But, I tell them, with all honesty, that I chose to be a mother the day I chose to keep her. I tell them that I did want other things and I did have other plans, but that I wanted to be their mom waaayyy more than I wanted any of those other things. I tell them I had made a deal with Heavenly Father when I was a little girl that if I could only do one thing on this Earth, I wanted to be a mom. And I know with Katie's coming, He was holding me to my end of our deal. And He has held true to His. I have my children. Every day, I see them grow. Every night, I kiss them goodnight. Every moment of my life, I am a mother.
So, when people look at my surrogacy journeys as a sign that I am totally insane, I am flabbergasted. I was given the miracle of being a mom. I was given the gift to be able to carry a child safely into this world. I would choose being a mother- in fact, I did, choose to be a mother- over anything else. So, my question, really, to those women who look at me like I am nuts is, "how could you not?" How could you not want to help another woman know the joy that you get every day?
Really, am I the one who is crazy? Or am I the one with compassion, with courage, with love in my heart?
Most of the people I talk to about surrogacy say, "Oh, I could do that for my sister, or my best friend, but not for a stranger." Well, I happen to believe that God created all of us and we are brothers and sisters. So, you know what, I am doing this for my sister. I am doing this for another child of God, another woman who wants to be a mother just as desperately as I did.
I sit here with a mango-baby in my belly, two dogs running amuck, and three children eating a bedtime snack. It is probably chaos. It is probably too noisy for any of these thoughts I am having to be coherent. But, I am smiling through my tears of gratitude. I am humbled that I have such great blessings. I am humbled by the grace of God that allows me such joy.