Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Dear Carolyn • My husband and I are expecting a baby via gestational carrier. The surrogate is my husband's cousin, who has kids of her own and very generously offered to help us when we learned it would be life-threatening for me to get pregnant.
My friends are throwing me a baby shower next weekend. It's one of few "normal" things I get to do as an expectant mom, even though it's technically a modification of a regular baby shower. (For one thing, there will be cocktails, and I'll get to enjoy them.) The hosts asked me if I would like to invite the surrogate, who lives nearby and would almost definitely come. They suggested they could do something special to include her.
I owe them an email and I am gripped with a sick, guilty feeling. I don't want her there. I feel as though having her there will just throw a spotlight on the fact that she gets to carry my baby and I don't. I am already faced with reminders of this daily, and I didn't want there to be more of them at this shower.
She is doing so much for us, but she also HAS so much — beautiful kids and the ability to give this amazing gift. The hosts are some of my best friends, I can be honest with them. But I feel so bad about all of it. Will I regret it if the surrogate is not invited? Will it make me a bad person? — Sharing the Spotlight
Answer • No, it won't make you a bad person, and it's great that you can be honest with your friends. You are entitled to have your shower for your baby with your friends.
Do be careful, though, about making calculations. She is "doing so much for us," yes, it's a beautiful thing, but, "she also HAS so much"? No, that does not factor in here, there is no mitigator. She is making a huge gift of her body, and that is something worthy of lifelong thanks. You simply do not have to give that thanks through this particular shower. That's it.
It might be helpful for you to imagine how you will feel the day after the shower, when it's too late to change anything. — Anonymous
Answer • Excellent decision-making tool in general, thanks.
Not trying to make the expectant mom feel worse, I swear, but I think not inviting the surrogate is a mistake. This person is family and will presumably be in your life forever. She IS doing something amazing for you and taking on a huge health risk. I can't imagine she wouldn't feel hurt. If you don't invite her, I think she deserves an up-front explanation that it's not about her. — Can't Imagine
Have your own shower! Because the surrogate is family, she'll presumably be at many, many events throughout your lives. But at a baby shower, an actual pregnant person sucks all the air from the room, and it's not wrong to want one day if you're loving and respectful the rest of the time. — Counterpoint