Dear Supportive Surrogate: Maternity Clothes and Bed Rest

Dear Supportive: I’ve recently matched with a great intended father and we’re going into contract negotiations. My original contract doesn't have a maternity clothing allowance and my lawyer has suggested I think about asking for one. Isn’t this asking too much of my IF? I was pregnant 3 years ago and I think I’m still the same size. –Style and Budget Conscious

Dear S&BC: I understand where you are coming from!  As a surrogate, you may feel like asking for an allowance for maternity clothes can seem like too much. However, I’d like to encourage you to consider how expensive it can be to dress a pregnant body. A typical clothing allowance of $750- $1000 (higher end being for multiples) is very small in comparison to other surrogacy cost. With this allowance, you are able to ensure you have in season clothes, maternity bras, belly bands, maternity underwear and a winter coat to fit your growing belly! Those things do not come cheap and you certainly can’t guarantee you will be pregnant at the same time of year as you were with your own children. Sure, you may have leftover clothes from your past pregnancies, but it is important to remember that you may carry differently and need larger or smaller sizes than what you have on hand. Also, some items, such as bras and underwear definitely can feel overworn after a time or things like elastic can give out. That being said, your self-esteem matters! Dressing well while pregnant is great for an added confidence boost and can be essential for your job. While it may at first seem like “too much,” I’d argue that for a small amount, your intended father can really make a significant value-add to your life with a small allowance for maternity clothing. Best wishes to you!

Dear Supportive: I’m really interested in becoming a surrogate, but I’m worried about what to do with my own small child while going to appointments or especially if I need to be on bed rest. How do other surrogates handle this? –Mom Seeking Answers

Dear Mom: Great question! Most contracts between gestational carriers and intended parents have clauses about how childcare is to be handled, and it is usually negotiable (up to a point). Some contracts will provide reimbursement for childcare based on a certain “not to exceed” amount (like not to exceed $200 in a one week period) or based on an hourly rate. Some contracts even talk about reimbursing family members for extended time watching a child. This is definitely something to talk with intended parents about before starting the process and something to bring up with your attorney when negotiating the contract. If you do end up going on bed rest, some contracts provide for compensation based on your current job (which likely means stay-at-home parents don’t get reimbursed for that time on bed rest). Your job may also cover you for short-term disability in the case of you having to go on bed rest. However it works out in your contract (make sure you feel confident and protected), you definitely need to have a support network around you (spouse, family, friends) who can help in a pinch or who can be your sounding board.

Do you have questions for the Supportive Surrogate? She’d love to hear them!