There she was so tiny and perfect in my arms. Little puckering rosebud mouth, tiny little sucking movements as she moved towards my swollen chest. She had the tiniest dark fuzz on her head. That was from my family’s side. We’d yet to see her eyes but I guessed they’d be dark too.
Gently, I rocked her in my arms. The nurse should not have given her to me, but then she didn’t know better. She could never have known this was never meant to happen, this bonding experience unique to mother and child. She was born of me, in my blood, but she couldn’t be mine. We’d agreed. I just had never known how excruciating the sacrifice would be.
It was then that they walked in. Her parents. My sister, that wasn’t born that way, and her wife. They were to be my baby’s parents. I looked up at Sarah with tears in my eyes.
“They gave her to me,” I said, tears welling in my eyes.
Sarah just looked at me, the expression part betrayed and part pitying. She’d been with me when my two babies were born. She knew my mothering instinct was strong and fierce. Hell, I’d almost beaten up a kid twice my size who picked on her when we were kids. I was a mother hen, and proud of it. She knew the torture I was going through.
It was Penny who surprised me. Gently she stepped in beside me and wrapped her arms around me. She didn’t try to take the baby.
Quietly she said, “This must be the luckiest little girl in the world. Not only does she have lots of people who love her without having met her, but she is one of the only little girls in the world with 3 mummies that love her. “
I began to cry, in that silent way, with big fat tears running down my cheeks. I shook with the emotions flooding through me. My sister Sarah, who I loved and who had been through so much, came and held me too.
I remembered the night that they’d asked me to be their surrogate. My kids had been playing quietly on the floor, and I wondered how I could possibly deny them so much joy. I remembered when Sarah was my little brother instead and how much children had loved her. I knew how Penny’s serious, quiet ways would balance out her impetuous nature. And how the government would not allow them a chance to be parents any other way. It was love that had made me say yes. And I could never have known how much joy it would bring us all.
Trembling, I handed her over. As one, they held her, their little family. They never let go of me as they held her. I was crying harder now, but it was the cathartic crying. I knew this little girl would be so loved, and I would always be a part of her life. I had given the most important gift I could ever give – motherhood.