This past Sunday we finally went public with our surrogacy news. While we had already told a lot of our close family and friends as we saw them, we hadn’t made our news “public” yet. I knew that C’s plan was to post something on Facebook around May 12, which was the beginning of Canada’s Infertility Awareness Week. Mother’s Day, May 9, rolled around and I thought that might be a good day to announce. So on Sunday evening I made my announcement. I figured that since it was later in the day I might get a few “likes”, maybe a comment or two. But I was pleasantly surprised with the response I got. C couldn’t wait any longer and announced the next afternoon, and once that happened, the likes, comments, and private messages started to get overwhelming.
I have never been one to take a compliment well. I usually make things really awkward, especially if it’s in person. “Hey Ash, I love that outfit,” will be followed by, “Umm what? Oh it’s not mine. I mean it’s mine, but I didn’t buy it. Um, thanks?” I don’t know what I was expecting with this situation, but it was really no different. I felt so awkward. I heard (read) from a few people that what I was doing was amazing; that I was amazing. I’m flattered by all of the compliments, but I don’t feel amazing.
I know that what we are doing is changing a family’s life (I say we because my H and the rest of my family are just as much a part of this as I am.) When I look at my own children I completely understand the gravity of this, because I can’t imagine my life without the 3 of them. But I am only doing what I feel like I am supposed to be doing. This past fall I read Amy Poehler’s book Yes Please where she says to “decide what your currency is early.” She says that everyone has something great to offer the world, and that we should figure out what that is early on and use it. She was specifically talking about employment, but the advice still stuck with me. In my field of work I help people, but I have always felt like I had more to give. We have 3 kids, 3 degrees worth of student loans, 2 vehicle payments, and a mortgage, so money was never something that I have been able to donate freely, at least not as much as I would like. And again, with 3 kids and a full-time job, my time is mostly taken. What more could I do? What was my currency? Once I had weighed the pros and cons of surrogacy I realized that this was it. This was the way I was going to give. Once I had decided, I could feel the pull to do it in my bones; like if I didn’t, I would be passing up on this one great thing that I was meant to do in my life. I feel that it has been my offering of gratitude to the universe for what I have been given. It is my turn to give back.
I do not, for one second, think that this makes me any more amazing than any of the people who paid me these beautiful compliments. I think we all have our currency; both for what we can offer in our work and in what we can give to the world. Some people were blessed to be born with a silver spoon or have worked hard to earn their money, and can donate as their heart desires. Other people have some spare time and give it away to charity organizations. I have one dear friend who donates blood almost as often as they’ll let her. (I have donated once, and with my low blood pressure felt awful for the following two days. Just not my currency.) Just this week an old co-worker and friend of mine offered to set up a Go Fund Me account to help C&J with their Squishy expenses, and others have donated. These people have found their currency and they use it.
So, anytime you think of myself, Squishy, C&J, or our story, instead of thinking about how amazing it all is, I challenge you instead to think about what your currency is. And if you’re not already using it, what is stopping you? Find something you’re passionate about, and go do something about it. Maybe it’s small acts of kindness scattered here and there, or maybe you’re going to go volunteer at a homeless shelter or even an animal shelter. I truly believe that we all have it in us to give; to make this world a better place. Go do your good.