Guilt. Such a powerful force, especially for a kid who grew up in an Episcopal/Catholic family. The Jews might think they corner the market on this particular emotion, but be assured that we WASPs have our own potent brew of remorse du jour. More persistent than gravity, guilt is like a tsunami of emotions rolling up most everybody in its path.  

But not everyone. Some foks can shrug it off and not let guilt affect them. That’s not me. My well developed ability to react to it was passed down through my genes I’m afraid. It’s both a blessing and a curse for me. Guilt — or the avoidance of it — is what makes me get up at 5 a.m. to make sure the kids’ lunches are packed, dog and cat fed, fire started in the fireplace, coffee brewed, breakfasts on the way — all while Michelle gets in the last of her daily 11 hours of sleep. (just kidding).

Most people experience most of their guilt in a ‘oh, why did I do that’ regret. I express it as a ‘if I don’t do this/that I’m going to feel guilty’ reverse (or is that perverse?) kind of way. It’s a powerful motivator for me. Maybe I get guilt confused with having a sense of duty or purpose, but the result is the same.  I feel lousy if I don’t get thing done. 

It’s also what puts those knots in my stomach when I realize I’ve forgotten to do this, or call that person.

Or to blog. Yeah, really. I feel guilty about taking the time to do my daily keystrokes.

And that’s pretty silly. For one thing, it’s not like I’m sitting around on my ass watching TV in my off hours. This New Year has been chock full of a heavy load of work, helping my kids do massive homework projects, and finding many hours eaten up after being voted onto the board of directors for a local non profit charity.

The other ridiculous part of my Blog-guilt: It’s not like  my audience of 23 people and 411,232 spambots are waiting with baited breath for my next profound offerings.

And yet still I feel that nagging sensation each time I see an open date on the calendar on the GuestWomb dashboard without an entry.

Let’s see if I can do better. Can’t let down all those spambots just itching to crawl all over this site.

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The scariest pregnant picture ever

As promised here at GuestWomb.com, we are staying abreast — and every other body part — of the Tila Tequila surrogacy story.

My favorite (not) website, TMZ.com is now reporting:

Tila Tequila says she’s pregnant and she’s willing to confirm it — for a price.

We’ve learned Tila is shopping an ultrasound around she says proves she’s having a baby.

As for who the father is … God only knows.

UPDATE: Tila tells TMZ, “I hope it’s a boy but I’m not gonna find out ’cause I don’t wanna know. But if it’s a boy the name is Jayden. A girl – it’s Violet.”

She says the baby daddy is “a Swedish man – gorgeous.”

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My regular GuestWomb readers — waving at my Mom and Dad. Hi, Libel lawyer. Howdy Mr. IRS agent  — may have noticed a few gaps between posts. I’ve set a pretty fast pace — 55 posts in 4 months — to launch this blog, and the last couple of weeks have been a needed break.

And it’s a good thing that I’m rested and ready to hit the keyboard. Because there’s a lot going on. It seems this surrogacy thing isn’t exactly the easy, slam dunk, done deal, no sweat, smooth sailing (insert cliche of your choice here) problem-free voyage that I had conjured up in my mind.

There’s a scene in one of Michelle’s favorite movie that comes to mind. It’s called Parenthood (ha…it just occured to me this very minute how ludicrous this is: A Gestional Surrogate’s favorite movie is Parenthood). Actors Steve Martin and Mary Steenbergen are experiencing more than the usual trials and tribulations of family life. Near the end of the movie, Martin’s elderly grandmother goes off on a riff about experiencing life in the allegory of an amusement park.

Grandma: You know, when I was nineteen, Grandpa took me on a roller coaster.
Martinl: Oh?
Grandma: Up, down, up, down. Oh, what a ride!
Martin: What a great story.
Grandma: I always wanted to go again. You know, it was just so interesting to me that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited, and so thrilled all together! Some didn’t like it. They went on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. I like the roller coaster. You get more out of it. 

God I hope this ride doesn’t have those upside down, stomach twisting, loop-de-loops.

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Tila Tequilla, left, pre-Internet. At right, second only to Paris Hilton on this blog’s “Most Utterly Useless Person” chart.

Emphasis on the word “party” of course. Because our newest entrant in the ‘Let’s Have A Baby For Somebody Else’ sweepstakes is none other than internet non-personality, Tila Tequilla.

According to various sources, including her own erratic Twitter Feed, the self-made reality starlet announced that she’s says giving the gift of life for Christmas as a surrogate mother for her brother and his wife.

“That is my xmas present to them. I’m pregnant!!!!” Tequilla wrote.

Of course this could all be another publicity stunt. Because just last summer Tequilla started rumors that she was pregnant in a late night Twitter post — which she quickly retracted, probably because someone told her swigging her namesake drink or doing drugs while with child is a big no-no. She must have forgotten that little detail when she agreed to take on this 9-month job.

Tequilla is best known for creating her own importance through collecting ten zillion friends on the formerly-popular site My Space (You DO remember My Space, don’t you? That was Facebook with training wheels).

Once that schtick ran dry, she hosted her own MTV reality/dating/affront to human intelligence show called “Shot at Love” where her bisexuality was played to the hilt.

Now if only Lindsey and Courtney Love can find it in their hearts to do this unselfish act, surrogacy could finally come out of the closet and find its way onto Entertainment Tonight, the E Channel and the gossip tabloids where it belongs! 

Please stay tuned to GuestWomb.com for every late breaking news flash on Tequilla and her own very special surrogacy journey.

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Less than a week after the New York Times’ article depicting the darker side of surrogacy arrangements, I found this in my Google alert:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VcxbAgrWMc

It’s an honest account of surrogacy that does a better job in presenting what I believe to be the norm of surrogacies, rather than the exceptions noted in that much-commented upon article.

I say “honest’ because Gina Scanlon — a two time surrogacy veteran — talks briefly on the video about two very different relationships she has with her sets of IPs. She’s an ‘aunt’ to one child, and completely cut off from the other and that saddens her.

And yet despite that heartache…and the invasive tests, drugs and all the rest….she talks about her joy in delivering up a true miracle. “It’s the most amazing thing,” she says.

What I’m discovering as I read more blogs and websites dealing this the subject: Surrogacy is no picnic. A happy ending is not guaranteed. But thoses who approach it with a good heart and intentions usually find happiness at the end of nine months.

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We’re now well into Month 4 of Michelle’s life creating project. To give you a glimpse of what’s going on inside her world — literally —  I’ve chosen some more passages from the new book “What To Expect When You’re Expected”, by hilarious funnyman David Javerbaum.

The book is available at every single bookstore in this world and many others, including the internet ,and is a bargain at twice the $15.00 cover price. (That plug should be enough to spare me from the author’s wrath in borrowing his material.)

Here’s what Mr. Javerbaum has to say about what’s happening these next few weeks:

Week 14 — The baby is “really moving now — flexing muscles, wiggling fingers and already demonstrating a broader range of motion than Richard Gere.

Week 15 — “This is when it gets really hard to tell what fruit you’re the same size as. Some say apples, other tangerines. It’s impossible to say for sure as these vital comparisons have become yet another victim of the ongoing “turf war” between obstetricians and the produce distributors…”

Week 16 — “Well, well well…look who’s creating urine! Mazel tov on the excretory system. But word on the street is you’re peeing every 45 minutes. Slow down there, Tinkly — this is a uterus, not a urethra.

Next, our new fav author goes on to discuss Michelle’s next big decision — finding maternity wear. Because…putting it very delicately…she’s beyond the ‘oh wow that was an amazing all-you-can-eat-hot-fudge-sundae-bar-I’ll-diet-tomorrow-and-lose-it, temporary adjustment time period. Thankfully, this amazing book is full of great advice:

“Today’s woman can choose from a variety of stylish and comfortable looks that are at best form-fitting, and at worst not form-mocking. More practically, many of these clothes will adjust as you and Mommy grow bigger, thanks to a well hidden array of straps, bands, buttons, bolts, hinges, clamps, clasps, hasps, knobs, levers, pulleys, ratchets, industrial-strength flanges and steel girded support beams.”

“Of course these clothes will only fit Mommy for a short time. To save money, she might want to consider staying 40 lbs overweight for the rest of her life.”

“Another option is asking to borrow maternity clothes from friends. This she should do without guilt. She will then loan them to some else next year, just as someone loaned them to her friends last year. In fact, it’s an open secret that the same 100,000 maternity dresses have been circulating around the world for the last half century.”

Finally, he wraps up this chapter with some pregnancy factoids from around the world, including:

In Australia, unborn babies are called “bludgeroos’; pregnant women are ‘tammywobbles’.

In Cuba, new fathers, mothers AND babies smoke cigars.

Meanwhile in Israel, fetuses are continually hounded by mothers for ‘never calling’.

In Nambia, all ultrasounds are FedExed to Brangelina.

Girls in the womb in Saudi Arabia are forbidden from “kicking suggestively’.

Panama birth canals are exceedingly long and owned by the government.

And finally, new pregnancies in Vatican City are greeted with a mix of shock and covert pride.

Thanks again to Mr. Javerbaum for allowing me/not noticing that I’m using his rich material.

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Alert GuestWomb.com reader Micah spotted this above-the-fold story in today’s  New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/13/us/13surrogacy.html

Basically, it’s a series of surrogacy horror stories. And the victims are ultimately the children created in these flawed pairings of IP and surrogate.

The articles depicts the stories of three surrogacy arrangements — two that seemed fine at the beginning and then devolved. And another that was just wrong from the word go. I’ll let you read the article yourself and read these very sad stories.

(I take issue with the tone of it, insinuating that babies can be to simply ‘ordered up’ as if they’re an item on a menu. Take a look at the comments from others like us who are living in this world who rip the author.)

There’s a lot of blame to go around in these tales of woe. Begining with vague and inconsistent state laws dealing with surrogacy contracts. The real villains here in my mind are the doctors, lawyers and less-than-qualified surrogacy match makers who fail to adequately do their jobs of vetting each party.

And some blame goes to the intended parents themselves. In their emotion-filled rush to simply have babies at any cost they failed to think things through.

With all the factors in play, it was as if these surrogacies were doomed to fail.

Just like every other action you take this day, there’s a right way to do things, and plenty of wrong ways. I’ve documented before how our IPs have done everything right in preparing and executing this surrogacy, and this story just reinforces it. They chose highly regarded agency — Melissa Brissman — to find us. We were painstakingly vetted in every way so that all parties felt confident in each other. 

It was all about minimizing the risk of this arrangement. Together with our IPs, we took every step to make sure this journey would stay on the path. There is just too much at stake to do anything less. Especially for this new little life!

When I read in the article that only 750 surrogacy arrangements are made in the US every year, and that some of them go tragically wrong as described in the story, it makes me feel very fortunate to know our surrogacy was ‘done right’.

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