Surrogacy Goals: Kandi Burris Changes the Narrative
First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage! You know that nursery rhyme that was engrained in us for ages, but what happens when it becomes the norm and your baby carriage never comes? Feeling outcasted for not having a normal fertility process happens to millions of black women regardless of socioeconomic status, but increases based on race.
What I used to watch to escape the reality of the woes of my life has now turned into a space for introspections, education, and opportunities to shatter myths. I lost my son at 24 weeks gestation (5 months), before then I really didn't know much about fertility aside from you have sex, pray, and produce a baby. Post child loss I have seen an uptick on reality tv of black women sharing their personal stories with fertility, mothering and more. One story where I have learned the most about is Kandi Burris of RHOA and her journey towards becoming a 3rd time mother through surrogacy.
Creating your Family
The carriage comes in all shapes and sizes now days, we no longer have to conform to the cookie-cutter family. There are so many different options to creating the family that you want and the fact that it is a unique journey makes it all the more beautiful. Unfortunately, the African American community has been caught in the cycle of measuring ourselves by reaching the norm even in the form of family. Watching Kandi and Todd share their journey from beginning to end, there's one moment that Todd took the words out of my own mouth:
“Who has a surrogate I’m from Brooklyn” (Todd of RHOA)
He said it and I thought it, only because I never ever heard, saw, read or knew anyone who was African American be or engage with having a surrogate. I was limited by what I had seen, and like Todd, limited opportunities based on my background. We force these normal ideologies on ourselves because of our environments and I am so glad Todd came around and that Kandi had a team of people to guide her through an unknown process.
Different Type of Mommy Guilt
So there's the regular mommy guilt, such as finding spaces to breath after nursing, asking for a break, and so much more. But the guilt that comes from not being the individual to carry the child is a totally different ball game. Kandi shared the guilt of not looking pregnant and struggling to find ways to still be included in the pregnancy process. We can get so caught up in the weeds of the process that we miss the purpose. With Kandi's previous high risk pregnancy, it would not be ideal to carry, thus this intimate process would look different for her. How can you truly engage and join the journey with your surrogate? How do you share with your children? We worry that it will be confusing for kids, but honestly it takes reclaiming the definition of mothering for you and your family!
Bonding with your Surrogate
Watching the relationship with Kandi and her surrogate Shadina was a teachable moment for me and gave me hope for my own fertility journey. Kandi and her surrogate Shadina spoke regularly, allowed the kids to come to appointments, and even followed each other on instagram. It is just like cultivating community and support, similar to the role that the husband plays. I absolutely love this video where Kandi, Dr. Jackie, and Shandina share in a moment of bonding for birth in this video! It is literally surrogacy goals!
Inclusion in the Fertility Process
The fertility journey space has a face that most women of color cannot recognize as their own. Even I never really thought that black women loose children during pregnancy and if it did happen I would be the last one to experience it. Well my personal story proved to be different and as I searched for community most of the images that flooded my timeline (I used hashtags to find pregnancy loss communities) did not look anything like me. There is work to be done in creating diversity and inclusion in the fertility/infertility community, no one wants to be a part of the club but if will be then why not create the space for other women of color to heal and learn. Follow @beautyforashes_con to learn how to heal and breathe in a space curated for us and by us.
Would you consider being a surrogate for a family in need? Why or why not?
Want to learn more about your options for surrogacy check out
#blackchildloss #faithracefertility #beautyforashes #stillbirthsurvior #infantlossawareness #pregnancyandinfantloss #faithquotes #faithblogger #christianblogger #blackgirlswhoblog #stillamother #bychoiceorcircumstance