Winter Letters: Struggles, Inflation, and Just for Kicks

The Postpartum of my Story

During the time I was a surrogate mother for my psychotherapist and her husband I found myself not writing, not journaling, and not writing letters and notes to send.

I have journaled most of my life but I found myself unable to write while pregnant and for the first couple of years of my son’s life. I began to write again after attending a dream workshop in California in 1989. More dreams and journal entries followed as I explored the phenomena of my experience and the meaning within.

After I started writing drafts of my memoir in 2004 I started to write letters to Peter. I do not know if he will ever read these letters but it has become an important part of my writing and exploration to share what I can with him through these personal notes. Each letter was originally handwritten and then transferred to a computer file.

The 3 letters that follow speak to the resentment that seemed to build during my pregnancy, my struggles, a body-felt sense of what was happening as the time of delivery approached, and the archetypal inflation that overtook me and carried me into a contract that would send me on a path of disowning Self and ongoing Creativity.

You can also read my:

June 12, 1986 letter to Peter (I Feel Capable)

August 21, 1986 letter to Peter (First Trimester).

Find more Memoir Project excerpts from I Would Have Named Him Peter and ‘Writer’s Notes’ in the publication ‘Writers on Writing’.

December 4, 1986

Dear Baby,

You’ve had a lifeline since late summer. Your umbilical cord. My lifeline is my children. I am certainly doing a lot these days what with work, school, and the kids’ schedules for sports and homework.

Christmas is almost here. I have no idea where the money is going to come from for presents and holiday dinners. I am working with the church group to provide families with dinner and presents for kids of those in need. I am in the position of robbing Peter to pay Paul. This may be the Christmas when I won’t be able to pull it off. I have always been able to give my kids Christmas presents. I don’t feel very good about what is lacking. I feel resentful that I am giving so much away as a surrogate mother at a time when I need to provide for my own children. My priorities are out of whack. My resentment is building. I am struggling with my decision to be a surrogate.

My breasts have been preparing to feed you breast milk. I know that one of the difficult parts of giving you away will be that I won’t be able to breastfeed you.

Love, M.

January 5, 1987

Happy Birth Year!

I can’t say that this is the greatest new year of my life. Your due date is March 6th. Looks like you’ll be another big baby. It feels like a lot of people are against me. They do not understand or like what I am doing as a surrogate. I feel the tension of this disapproval at the hospital and at church. It’s all out in the open now. I am in my third trimester of pregnancy and getting bigger by the minute. I would like to be respected not disliked for my choice in being a surrogate mother.

My over inflated ego made a decision to be a surrogate mother without thinking first about the consequences for myself and my family. Don’t worry — I am going to finish what I started and persevere. Soon you will be with your new parents in your newly painted room. I will continue to be a mom to my three children — your sisters and brother. I am getting ready for your birth and abandonment all at the same time. I am your mom and I will abandon you. You will go home as planned with an adoptive mom who took advantage of me as my psychotherapist and your biological father, a man, I barely know. You will be part of an extended family I know nothing about. You will not know much about me, perhaps nothing if they don’t tell you about me and my part in your birth story. You will have no idea of your maternal family background, medical history, lineage.

Some may say that none of this will ultimately matter to you and your life course. Confidently I can say that there will be some missing pieces.

Love, M.

February 5, 1987

Dear Baby,

Sitting in class at Cal State Long Beach is getting very interesting now that we are close to your delivery. You are breech so your feet are dangling close to your portal to the world. As you kick in your swimming pool your head butts my ribs. I feel jabs that make it difficult to sit for long periods in the hard chairs at school. Everything about your position inside me seems foreign. I’m not sure what you are doing in there but you get my attention. You keep kicking down low towards my back from the inside out, which makes sitting very uncomfortable.

At this point I will be seeing Dr. Mason on a weekly basis. Sue, the nurse practitioner says, Won’t you let me do anything for you? I have been doing everything for myself for a long time. I am pushing ahead because my schedule does not allow me to stop. I’m still in school and a mother of three so life isn’t dull. Pregnancy isn’t slowing me down. After your birth, I will be on an eight weeks leave from work. I won’t be bringing you home. I won’t be pregnant. Then what?

My body is pregnant showing all the signs that you are about to be born. I’m not preparing for your homecoming. (and I’m not prepared for your not coming home.)

Life continues to happen. Nurses on staff are uncomfortable with my pregnancy. They don’t approve. They judge me. They avoid me.

At church all the news revolves around the Pope’s visit to our area and his newest encyclical condemning surrogacy and its immorality. What does the Pope’s letter say about me?

With love, M.


PLEASE NOTE: You can also view:

*a slide show of some of the images from my Memoir Project performance in Ridgefield CT

**a 10-minute dance video, ‘Love’s Way: The Joy & Pain of Surrogacy’, where I share my surrogate story through the lens of the Selchie Myth (Seal Woman)

  • **a 2013 Memoir Project 30-minute performance, Create a Life that Comes from the Heart, part of my Memoir Project series of performances

I am seeking opportunities to bring ‘Memoir Project’ performances to women studies, writing, interdisciplinary studies, and depth psychology programs; libraries, and creativity institutes. I’m eager to continue this series of performances and workshops.

Write with your interest to: maryalice@playequalspeace.com or you can text me at 206/200–4542

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