Friday, December 3, 2010

The Best of 2010 LaMothe Book Reviews: Birthing a Mother The Surrogate Body and the Pregnant Self By Dr. Elly Teman

Finally! A book that explores the relationship between surrogates (gestational carriers) and their Intended Mothers. Well written and full of real life examples, Dr. Teman draws on anthropological fieldwork among Jewish Israeli women and shares with her readers what many of us in the Third Party Family Building industry want all surrogates/carriers and their Intended Mothers to know: that being a Gestational Carrier has complex and varied emotions attached, not to the fetus but more likely to the intended mother and that, for the most part, the carrier is disassociated from the baby growing in her womb. Tamar, a surrogate, says it best "And that's why I say, I didn't just give birth to a baby, I gave birth to a mother." Shlomit, an Intended Mother also states, "I always say, my mother gave birth to me the first time, she gave me life. But my surrogate gave me life a second time."

Birthing a Mother is divided into four unique parts: Dividing, Connecting, Separating, and Redefining. The entire work here is brilliant and, as a past Gestational Carrier myself, I can relate to the many stories shared within each part quite easily. A reference of "a child through the mail" caught my attention and I thought about my first Intended Mother who, because of distance, was not a 'partner' in the pregnancy the way that she might have wanted. Perhaps she thought of her twins as mail order until I flew down to her so she could take part in the last few weeks of the pregnancy.

I am sure that Intended Parents will see their thoughts and fears reflected in Birthing a Mother The Surrogate Body and the Pregnant Self and be able to use this information learned to understand their own intimate relationship with their Gestational Carrier.

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