Do more than just exist
Thank you so much for taking a moment out of your own busy day to check in with my new endeavor. A little bit about me first, if you don't know. My name is Julie, and I'm a single mom in Minneapolis, MN to two beautiful kids, ages 12 and 14. I run my own photography business, Simply Bliss Photography - hence the blog title of Simply Surrogacy. I'm sure not much about this journey will be "simple," but I do love the symmetry! When I started my business seven years ago, my biggest goal was to capture the simplicity of every day relationships in a way that would memorialize the bliss. The way a young daughter looks up at her dad, the way mom gently strokes her son's hair, the way the kids giggle and wrestle to the ground. Even the way a child pouts when she's just not having it anymore. All fleeting moments, all moments that deserve to be captured and remembered.
That brings me to Mom Life. My own Mom Life! It's as rewarding as anything I've ever done, and yet at the same time, mundane and often on auto-pilot. Drive kids to school. Drive kids home. Drive kids to sports. Drive kids to play-dates. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
Last fall, while feeling like the political and emotional climate of the country was plummeting fast and furiously, I picked up a book with the theme "Do more than just exist." The concept of "making a difference" is something I'm constantly struggling with, because there are so many areas of the world that need help, and yet it feels overwhelming knowing where to start. I started brainstorming gifts I possess that could help others. My whole life has revolved around kids and families, so that's where I started first. I've always wanted to get involved with the foster care system, or foster care reform, but now just didn't feel like the right time with the amount of time and energy I would want to put into that endeavor.
So, while I was brainstorming, a photographer colleague posted the most amazing birth photography session of a couple and their surrogate. It really moved me! Not only the photography, which is the most important and moving art form for me, but also the story behind it. I had contemplated surrogacy over the years, often knowing that I would do it for someone close to me in need in a heart beat, but never thinking much about it beyond my immediate circle. After viewing the photography post, I started looking more into surrogacy. I had a feeling I was too old (I turned 40 in September), but luckily when you don't use your own eggs, the cut off age is actually much higher for many agencies and fertility clinics, and very successful and safe. (My own mom had me at 42! So we have a good track record with fertility.) I researched quite a bit and absolutely fell in love with the idea of helping a couple create the family they had always wanted. I decided very quickly that this was for me, and I wanted to apply! So, in November, I started the application process to become a gestational surrogate and for the first time in a long time, felt like I was living with a purpose beyond myself.