I’m one of those people who loves being pregnant. I can’t quite capture it in words, but being able to bring a child into this world is the most incredible feeling. With my eldest son, Blake, it was smooth sailing after the first trimester. And even though I had to be on medication for nausea for the full nine months when I was pregnant with his brother, Alex, I loved every minute of it. My two beautiful boys, now 6 and 3, are the most precious part of my life, and I simply can’t imagine my world without them. I wanted the chance to give someone else what my boys have given me.
The idea of being a surrogate has always fascinated me—there is nothing greater than the gift of a child, the gift of a life. Ever since my late teens, I’ve wanted to carry a baby for a couple who couldn’t, but I knew it wasn’t a realistic dream—or, at least, not one I could fulfill until I had my own children. But then last year, my friend sent me a Facebook post uploaded by a couple who described their search for a surrogate. Intrigued, I sent Tom and Pierre a message and, before I knew it, we had plans to meet for brunch.
It felt a little like a blind date—I mean, it’s a bit unusual to meet two men you’ve never met before at a diner to discuss having a child together! But we connected right from the start, and it wasn’t awkward at all. We had all done our research and asked the right questions. At the end of breakfast, I told them I’d need a few days to think about it. But as soon as I saw Tom and Pierre approach me with smiles and open arms, I knew I’d carry their baby.
The legal process went smoothly—we were all on the same wavelength—and the initial medical checkup and psychological testing went well. Getting pregnant, though, took a little more time. There were 12 weeks of fertility appointments—Pierre and Tom never missed a single visit. The week before the transfer, I had to take several different medications to help my body accept the embryo. I also had to inject myself with progesterone—because the egg wasn’t mine, my body wasn’t producing it naturally. But the most challenging part was balancing all this with being a mom. I’m a single mom, I work full-time, and I want to be there for my boys as much as I can.
Once I was pregnant, I didn’t treat it any differently—I made sure I took my prenatal vitamins and ate healthfully. Just like when I was pregnant with my boys, I worried about the baby’s health and whether I’d go into labour early. But it’s emotionally different when you’re carrying a child for another couple: You have to detach yourself right from the start.
When people found out I was pregnant, everyone wanted to know how much I was getting paid. I have to explain that it’s not legal to receive compensation for surrogacy in Canada and that money wasn’t my incentive—this is something you have to go into with an open heart. Seeing Pierre’s look of awe and Tom’s smile when their son was born was all I needed to confirm that I did the right thing. It was beautiful watching them hold their baby, Augustine, for the first time. Besides having children of my own, it was one of the proudest moments of my life.
When we left the hospital, Tom turned to me and said, “Ann, how are you feeling? You don’t have to try to be strong for us. It’s OK.” I looked down at Augustine and started to cry, and Pierre started to cry, too. We all hugged and had our moment, and it gave me a much-needed release. Leaving was difficult because I knew that this chapter of my life was coming to an end. But I also knew I was going back to my own children and could focus on them with undivided attention. My number one job is my children.
It’s hard to believe that I’ve only known Tom and Pierre for a year. They have become my family and are like the older brothers I never had. Everyone talks about the gift I’ve given them, but what people don’t realize is that they have allowed me to follow my dream. They have given me the opportunity of a lifetime, and it’s been absolutely life-changing. I hope to have a strong relationship with Augustine. After all, we have a bond that no one else will have.