“We want to give you $10,000 to write the best blog in the world,” Daisy said, leaning forward from the back seat of the car and patting my shoulder. “We’ve got a red hot topic for a blog. We want you to have our baby and write about it.”
Ah, that Daisy's a clever one, appealing to my vanity like that. It was an exciting concept to contemplate. But wait, they know I’m easy to wind up. This was a wind up. Right? RIGHT? I started to laugh hysterically. But since Daisy (40) and her husband, Darren (43) were not laughing, I decided to stop.
“Let me get this straight,” I said, “You want my genetic material?”
Despite having a seven year old, Lola, they’ve been trying to get pregnant for several years, doing IVF etc, with no success, and maybe desperate situations call for desperate measures.
“We want your eggs and your womb," Daisy replied. "You know my eggs are duds, but Darren’s sperm isn’t too shabby. We can use that.”
God, it was flattering, that they wanted my genes, warts and all. I didn’t want to ask if they’d put the proposition to all their friends and after being turned down had decided to try me, a person who will do anything, (within reason), for money. Sure, I figured, I could go to jail for being a surrogate for cash, (I believe any payment beyond the cost of medical expenses is illegal), but let’s face it, it was money for nothing. What were a few more stretch marks in the grand scale of things? And Daisy was right, just think of the blog I could write: Confessions of a Surrogate. It would be the most popular blog ever! And pretty soon there’d be a book deal, a Hollywood movie and Julia Roberts banging on my door, clamoring to play me.
Daisy, who is pint sized, with olive skin, black hair and black eyes, said she was upset that the surrogate baby would not look like her, but that she was always telling Darren how much I am ‘the female version’ of him, because we share the same ‘nutty’ British sense of humor and look enough alike (tall, pinkish skin, light brown eyes, grumpy expression), for the kid to have a good chance of resembling him.
Plus, she figured, I was sick of looking after my kids and wouldn’t, once the child was born, get obsessed with it and refuse to hand it over. I thought, yes, I am fed up with my kids sometimes, but if there is one thing I love, it’s babies, and their adorable dimpled knees and cheeks and the way they smell etc. etc. I wondered, frankly, whether I would be able to hand the kid over.
“How were you thinking of fertilizing my eggs?” I said. “Because if I can have sex with someone as hot as Darren, I don’t mind doing the whole thing for free!”
Darren perked up.
“No hanky panky,” said Daisy, as Darren’s face fell. “You’d just go to the fertility doctor for three cycles and they’d shoot Darren’s sperm up inside you.”
That made me feel a bit creepy. I figured there was probably a reason why surrogates are not meant to know the family they’re having the baby for. It was all beginning to feel a bit …. incestuous.
“How come you two have $10,000 going spare anyway? I thought you were stony broke,” I said, referring to the fact that Darren has just started a five year dentistry degree (don’t ask), while Daisy pulls in a few cents as a part time teacher.
“I got an insurance settlement after I had that car crash last year, which messed up my back. After legal fees, we'll be left with about $10,000.”
“So let me get this straight. Darren won’t have a job when this baby’s born, so obviously Daisy, you’ll have to carry on working and I’ll probably have to be its nanny, not to mention breastfeed it.”
Darren looked aghast.
“Hey, I’m only trying to give your child the best start in life,” I said, giggling.
The whole thing was feeling weirder and weirder. My daughter Scarlett and their daughter Lola are best friends. If I had their kid, Lola would be Scarlett’s half sister. Also I would be related to Daisy and Darren for the rest of my life. It was an odd thing to envisage.
“I’ll give it some thought,” I told them. To be honest, I still at this point thought they’d suddenly say, “We were only messing with you. It was all a joke!” But they went on and on about every detail. They’d obviously talked about it for hours, so I thought I’d hear them out.
And yes, there is a lot to think about, like what I’d spend the $10,000 on and what kind of images I’d put on my Surrogate blog. A picture of Darren with a black rectangle across his eyes. Me in various stages of pregnancy. My imagination was up and running.
Ah, how they had got to the very core of me, penetrating my defenses and turning me to mush. What a wonderful thing to do for a friend, I found myself thinking, to have the baby she couldn't have. And so what if I was put in jail for having a surrogate kid….it would make for great blogging fodder.
But to be serious for a second, I do feel sorry for them, I really do, but all things considered, I don’t think I’ll be doing it, even for $30,000 and a set of Louis Vuitton luggage. I don’t think I’d even do it if they threw in a tummy tuck and a breast lift …. because I know I’d want that baby. Maybe not initially, maybe when it was a year old, maybe, who knows when, but I know I’d want it at some point. I’m too fucking emotional to be able to fully detach from a kid that's been in my womb for nine months.
And you know what the worst part of this is, don't you? Even worse than the fact that I'm never going to have the most infamous blog in history? The fact that I will never see Julia Roberts' face up on the silver screen, enacting my life story.
Who am I? Displaced Londoner now living in the States with my two little girlies and long suffering husband. Co-author of hilarious parenting book Cocktails at Naptime www.cocktailsatnaptime.com
My mom's an Austrian, my dad's a Brit, which makes me a Britaustrian, or possibly an Austrish?