update: explaining to clients that I’m pregnant with someone else’s babies

It’s “where are you now?” season at Ask a Manager, and I’m running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past. Here are four updates from past letter-writers.

We have so many updates this year that I’m going to be posting six to seven times a day for the next several weeks — so keep checking back throughout the entire day.

Remember the letter-writer wondering how to explain to clients that she was pregnant with someone else’s babies (#2 at the link)? Here’s the update.

So, I was able to avoid most meetings in person. There were only two issues that came out of this and they both actually came later than I expected. I had one client I work very closely with and had to do in-person meetings with a couple of times. I gave them a heads-up because I was incredibly big at that point and with this client it made sense to just explain on a call beforehand. They all said how cool that was and wow so great. I got a couple of questions about my “maternity leave” and how long I’d be out for but that’s it.

I actually ended up in an emergent situation that you, Alison, have written columns about a few times. I was in the hospital because of an emergency with the babies and my boss was, ever so politely, asking if it was at all possible for me to do just one thing while I was there. It was a task only I could do, but it definitely didn’t need to be done ASAP. Still, I kind of felt like I had to because I was in a bit of a holding period in the ER and I had the capability. When my other boss found out about it, I guess they had words and it was made clear to me that it would not happen again and it was inappropriate to ask. I spoke with both of them to tell them what was going on with the pregnancy and that I will be unavailable to work and would be starting my time off now. This was unpaid time off as the parents were to reimburse me for lost wages. So, I offloaded what I could and asked that they only use the words “medical emergency” when explaining to clients why I’m out. Later I got an email that I was cc’d on to another client where Boss #1 had used words like “labor” and “delivers.” So that caused some confusion but I didn’t engage with it. I ended up on another call that week, while hospitalized, at the request of my boss. I think I could have said no, but since it wasn’t my baby I kind of felt like I had no reason to be freaked out. It was definitely more complicated than with my own child and work knowing that compounded that complication.

The second issue actually came from that client that knew I was doing surrogacy and not until months after I’d given birth. We were at a small event for the client and one of the people on that team I work with regularly asked me about my family. I mentioned that things were hectic right now because we were moving, we had recently bought a house. He said, that’s wonderful in this economic climate and I said well surrogacy is difficult but worth it in so many ways. And he actually said he didn’t realize it was a paid thing and that he thought maybe my surrogacy was less cool now because it was paid. I immediately was shocked because his tone got serious and judgemental very quickly. I still have a great relationship with that client and we never talked about it again, but it definitely made me think of the advice I got in the comments. A lot of people were saying, “oh if it’s for someone tell them that” and it wasn’t. I always get that question, “Did you know the parents” and we met via an agency. I know them now and have bonded with the mom as only one can when you’re carrying her babies. But apparently, the only kind of acceptable surrogacy for this client was if it was an unpaid, selfless act of torture for a friend or family member.

In reality, it was a very complicated and difficult pregnancy that ended in an emergency hospitalization, induction, and surgery. I was away from my family, my toddler, and my home in a special hospital far away from everyone, during a global pandemic. So, personally, I’ll never understand those who don’t think surrogates deserve to be paid. I know there are concerns, a lot of them discussed in the comments on the original post, about the exploitation of low-income women, but the agencies I spoke to all have requirements to avoid those situations. I had to meet a number of requirements to be able to be a surrogate in the first place. But I think of it as a job and took a lot of the advice you give on how to deal with employers and contracts in the early days of nailing down my contract with the parents. And to not be paid would be just as unfair as not being paid for my full time job.

I know there are concerns about surrogacy, even if that might surprise you. From a workplace perspective I think the most important lesson I learned is that when your boss knows it’s not your baby, they might not understand that emergency situations are still stressful for you. It’s important, as ever, to set those boundaries.

{ 253 comments… read them below }

  1. Hanukkari*

    Absolutely unbelievable Boss 1 pressured you to work from the hospital TWICE and disclosed medical information about you after you explicitly asked them not to. I am so sorry that happened to you.

    1. Two Chairs, One to Go*

      Yeah that is not okay. It might not have been her baby but it’s her body in the hospital! And she was on unpaid time so how did they compensate her?

      1. Michelle*

        It almost feels like the fact that it wasn’t LW’s baby led the boss to treat her medical emergency as less important than if there was no baby at all! As though the baby is the only one that matters at all, and the only reason LW would have any concerns. Why does the presence of a baby negate the existence of the pregnant woman in so many people’s minds?

        1. Candi*

          In all my reading of history, that’s one I still haven’t figured out. Women have often been treated as walking wombs, especially those of higher rank, but this utter disregard of the mother in favor of the child is damm weird. It seems to crop up more from the 19th century onward, but I’m not sure if it happened more or was recorded more.

    2. HigherEdAdminista*

      I agree. It was not the LW’s baby, but it was still happening to her body! For him to act like it was no big thing then is disgusting.

    3. NotRealAnonForThis*

      Yes, I went straight to spitting fire over this.

      The client being all pearl-clutchy and judgy about her getting paid as a gestational surrogate just added jet fuel to the mix.

      Boss 1 and Judgy-Pants Client both suck

      1. Candi*

        If we could get perfect birth control, people may find governments paying women to have children.

        I’ve been through pregnancy twice, and holy moly I say it’s perfectly fine for OP to be paid!

    4. Trawna*

      I’d have considered documenting Boss#1’s actions with HR. Someone this unable to understand professional boundaries is a potential liability to the firm.

      1. Arts Akimbo*

        Same! Whether they were “her” babies or not, HER health was still at risk, with potential trauma and long-reaching medical consequences possible (as with any pregnancy). The boss is off their rocker.

      2. Candi*

        The boss shared medical information, which, while most likely not illegal, was extremely unethical.

        So, where does boss draw the line about sharing information? Do they understand the difference between illegal and “just” unethical? (Okay, that felt gross to type.) Do they understand the legal line may differ in various situations?

        The guy’s a walking liability.

    5. Momma Bear*

      Even though you “could”, it is horrible that you were ever even asked. It’s still a medical emergency and if boss wouldn’t ask someone to do work after a car wreck, they shouldn’t have asked OP, either. I think sometimes people forget how much of a thing pregnancy is and that there are still challenges and dangers to your health. Boss messed up several different ways.

      I hope the client eventually gets past their biases about the surrogacy because there were payments involved. OP still did a great thing for that family and they did a great thing for her by supporting her while she carried their child. Nothing wrong with that. OP doesn’t sound like she was bullied or coerced into it. It was all on the up and up.

      1. Candi*

        (Agreeing) Pregnancy is a long-term medical condition dedicated to growing a parasite that will help continue the race. (Been there twice.) Maybe if more people understood that, it’d be easier to get it through some lunkheads that pregnancy should absolutely and always be 100% a choice. All the birth control!

        And I don’t see a problem with any woman getting paid to pop out that parasite.

      2. RebelwithMouseyHair*

        Yeah, like pregnancy and birth are no big deal to those who’ll never suffer through either. The guy probably isn’t very sympathetic when his wife has her period either (if he has one of course)

  2. Need More Sunshine*

    I’m so sorry that multiple people thought it was ok to disregard the importance and stress of your medical emergency. Just because the baby was not going home with you does not mean the effect on your body are any different. But I’m happy you and the baby are safe and healthy, and that you were able to purchase a house with your partner!

    All things considered, sounds like everything ended up ok, and I hope the tide keeps turning on surrogacy as an acceptable circumstance, both for parents and surrogates!

  3. awesome3*

    I’m glad you’re ok OP. It breaks my heart that people were minimizing your health emergency and situation. What you went through would be hard for anyone, and work should not have made it harder. I for one am relieved you were able to have paid leave to recover and not have to loose wages for that. I hope you and yours are well. Delivering multiples in a pandemic? You’re amazing.

  4. Part Time Pregnancy?*

    I don’t mind the compensation part. What I did mind was the “job” ads on Craigslist for surrogates back in the day and they were listed as “part-time” which always intrigued me- does the fetus clock out at a certain time and come back later? I would assume pregnancy, regardless of how it is done, is a full time thing. :)

    1. dresscode*

      This isn’t relevant to OP’s story. Can we focus on her situation? It’s complicated enough without the side commentary on the ethics of specific surrogacy situations.

      1. Lunch Eating Mid Manager*

        The OP’s update brought up the ethical debate and her very eloquent points bolster her case. I don’t see a need to scold another commenter for wandering down that lane.

      2. holiday survivor*

        The complaints about too many questions/comments is a diff thread. This one is about surrogacy as a job.

    2. Hippo-nony-potomus*

      People think of full-time jobs as ones that come with benefits: salary, health care, 401k, 401k match, FSA/HSA, dependent care accounts, all that stuff. Additionally, many people think of a full-time job as one of indefinite duration. “Part time” could be read to mean that it comes without benefits and is for a finite duration.

      1. Boof*

        Interesting, the new NYS surrogacy law requires the parents to cover all the surrogate’s medical expenses / have health insurance though a year after, + a substantial life insurance policy!

        1. Candi*

          I’ll definitely take that over arguments I came across in the 1990s that surrogacy shouldn’t be allowed at all. The reasons I remember included calling it “unnatural” (?), how would the kid know who the “real” mother was, children shouldn’t have two mothers (yes, that intersected lesbian couples wanting kids), a man should “cleave unto his wife” and not go chasing after other women, even to have children (I think that nitwit didn’t know how professional surrogate fertilization works) and that God would give children in His time.

          That last one, I really wish there’d been comment sections in those days. Even at 19, I would have torn him apart.

    3. Alice's Rabbit*

      It’s listed as part time because, unless the pregnancy is very rough, you should still be able to hold down a normal job while working as a surrogate. It doesn’t require your full attention 40 hours a week.
      It does require personal inconvenience, as well as medical appointments, not to mention the labor and recovery. There is also the risk of dangerous complications. But it is not a full time job that precludes working another gig.

  5. Terrysg*

    A medical emergency is still a medical emergency, even if it isn’t your child! Pregnancy is ‘noral’ and ‘natural’ until things go wrong, and as a mother of three (with normal pregnancies) I stíl worried every time that things would go wrong.

    Congratulations on getting through this, and good luck with everything.

    1. Can't Sit Still*

      There is this odd disconnect where some people think a person’s uterus is a separate entity from the rest of the person. Like, a uterus and a person can’t exist in the same space at the same time.

      1. holiday survivor*

        Must be why certain religious/political groups think they can make rules about them with impunity.

  6. Cranky lady*

    Thank you so much for the update. I’m supervising someone who is currently a surrogate and this is giving me lots of great insights. (And my boss would share inappropriate medical information so he doesn’t need to know about the surrogacy until it becomes important to know.)

    1. allathian*

      Yeah, sounds like it’s better if he doesn’t know until the baby has been safely born. Sure, the surrogate mom won’t need leave for bonding, but just the physical recovery postpartum can take weeks.

      1. Candi*

        Six weeks for bleeding to stop, and you still feel like an armadillo had a wrestling match with your insides.

        (And I got my tubes tied/cut/burned at six weeks, which adds a porcupine to the wrestling.)

  7. Cait*

    I cannot believe your boos thought it was appropriate to call you multiple times while you were hospitalized. Your other boss was right. It was INCREDIBLY inappropriate for her to do so. Even if you had the time and energy… YOU’RE IN THE HOSPITAL! When I was in labor I had an epidural so technically I was in good enough shape to do some invoices but I didn’t because, well, I was in active labor. The nerve of some people is staggering and I hope HR caught wind of her behavior.
    Also, surrogates should absolutely get paid. And until that male client understands what it’s like to carry multiples to term, be induced, and have surgery to give birth safely, he can keep his mouth shut.

    1. Xena*

      Even on days when I’m sick with something minor enough to not put me completely out, my first pick for entertainment is not usually work. I’ll read a book or something. I can’t imagine the audacity of someone saying, “oh, you’re in the hospital? Well, you’re talking and just on bedrest so I’m sure you can still work”.

      1. Candi*

        In the first article (late 1990s) where I ever learned about bedrest being a thing, the subject got figuratively smacked by their doctor for getting up during bed rest and doing work on their desktop. “It was just 15 minutes!”

        She had the pregnancy confirmed about about two months, but didn’t get to her first prenatal until her fourth month, and told the doctor that she regularly worked 12 hr days (still) and was constantly on the go. The problem that had her seeking the doctor turned out to be she was starting to dilate at four months from the stress, therefore bedrest, NOW. I don’t blame the doctor for irritated.

        The article brought home that if the doctor is putting you on bedrest, there’s usually a darn good reason.

        1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

          Yeah. I’ve seen quite a few articles about there being far fewer premies since the beginning of the pandemic, probably because of WFH and there being nothing to do and nowhere to go and no visits from unsympathetic in-laws during lockdown.

    2. Jay*

      I once received a text message from a co-worker who had started her maternity leave the day before and wasn’t due for a couple of weeks. I responded and said “you’re on leave. Why are you working?” and she said “Well, I’m waiting for the epidural.” I was horrified. None of us expected her to be working – and in fact she wasn’t supposed to because mat leave at our place was disability and if you work when you’re on disability, it screws up the claim.

      Still shaking my head about it 10+ years later.

      1. BubbleTea*

        I admit I did a tiny bit of work while in early labour, because I went into labour five weeks early and wasn’t even close to being ready to hand over my clients (and I get up to a year’s leave so they had to be handed over). My boss kept reminding me that there was no need and they’d figure it out, but it was a useful distraction. I also did laundry and tidied the house. I guess it was a form of nesting!

    3. Darsynia*

      Man this reminds me of when I had a miscarriage in college and informed my very strict professor that I’d be missing class. I was told it wasn’t a good enough excuse even though the list of acceptable excuses was basically ‘hospitalization or death’ and *I was losing a baby!*

      I went anyway, couldn’t afford to miss because of attendance grades. I was already getting an A, too. I guess it’s good he didn’t demand that I smile the whole time??

      ‘My time is more important’ people are so awful.

      1. Candi*

        I bet crap like that is the reason my colleges have an office that accommodation for long-term or major medical issues can be arranged through, instead of relying on the professors.

        I’m so sorry for you and your child.

  8. Petty Patty*

    The client that now thinks less of her for getting paid to be a surrogate is making me feel VERY VERY ANGRY. Flames on the side of my face angry. I would love to give him a piece of my mind.

    1. Ginger Baker*

      SAME. LW: I for one am THRILLED that your surrogacy (and uhhhh literal labor) enabled you to buy a house. That’s a win for both sides if I ever saw one.

    2. Batgirl*

      I know. I just love these people who think that female labour (no pun intended) = free labour. Us ladies only do things for emotional fulfillment and pin money dontcha know.

      1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

        Yeah, my father’s reaction to some less than gentle treatment by overworked, harried nurses was to say “they should work for free, that way we’d only have nurses who did it as their vocation, instead of these women who only do it for the money”. No Dad, that way you’d have hardly any nurses at all. Did you know that not all nurses marry rich doctors? Did you know that nurses and their children need to eat?

    3. Analytical Tree Hugger*


      Argghhh, as a cis man, may I apologize for anyone with a penis who assumes that people with a uterus should carry a fetus for free? Or maybe that should just be “anyone”, regardless of genitals; the lack of a uterus just makes the awful and stupid judgment even worse.

      And, while I am at it, I also apologize for people who (wrongly and incorrectly) think they get to decide what to do with *SOMEONE ELSE’S’* uterus.

      Not sarcasm, these are both genuine apologies.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Apologizing is great (thanks!), but the best thing you can do is call this out in those anyones when you see it. Unfortunately in cishet penis circles, folks with uteruses are not listened to.

        1. Analytical Tree Hugger*

          Good point, thanks! I need to keep working on my “Lean into the awkward to dismantle the unhealthful parts of society” skills.

          That reminds me that I’ve been meaning to post a related question in a Friday open thread.

          1. Candi*

            Look to Patrick Steward and his stopping domestic violence advocacy for an example. He gets yelled at all the darn time for his position, but that’s not slowing him down a bit.

            They get really mad when he points out that DV is a men’s problem, not “just” a women’s problem.

        2. Database Developer Dude*

          In cishet penis circles, those cishet penises that are NOT melanin challenged are also sometimes not listened to.

      2. Jean (just Jean)*

        Yes! Speak your truth to the folks in power until they have to share power with the folks who were previously disempowered.

      1. Anonny*

        In many countries they aren’t – or they’re payed travel expenses and/or a small fee (I think the biggest non-US fee was around the equivalent of $35?). But to be fair, sperm donation is a much shorter, less invasive procedure.

        1. Botanist*

          You are reminding me of one of my favorite memes- it says something like “to become a mother, I went through nine months of pregnancy and fourteen hours of labor. To become a father, my husband had an orgasm.” Currently 35 weeks pregnant, it did make me snort laugh. And does a good job explaining why sperm donation might be compensated at a much lower rate.

          1. Krabby*

            Lol, that is awesome, I am sending that to my husband. I’m 40 weeks today and I feel like pregnancy is just one long string of discomfort.

            1. allathian*

              Congrats! Fingers crossed for a safe delivery soon. (My son was born at 41+5 weeks, and I had an induction booked for 42 weeks, when I hit 40, I was hoping for labor to start every single day.)

    4. JSPA*

      I’ll play devil’s advocate just a little, as follows.

      Surrogacy without pay is a practically unbelievable level of selfless heroism.

      Surrogacy with pay is still heroic. And still selfless (in that there is no amount of money that really can compensate for someone else’s baby rearranging your innards and your hormones and your entire life!).

      But I’m cool with the idea that someone who’s doing it unpaid is on the highest of pedestals, right up there with living organ donors. And that it’s OK to have a slightly lower pedestal, when it’s a paid gig.

      Plus, doing it for pay–and given that there’s always someone willing to pay–the issue of timing comes up, exactly as it does anytime you take a short-term second job whose timing conflicts with your existing job. You’re not taking the second job “at” a particular client. But you are, in fact, not prioritizing timing with the client, in your main job, over your second job. That’s not a horrible thing–but it’s something that a client could reasonably react to. (And I’m not surprised that they flubbed the phrasing, as it’s not something most of us have a pre-canned, socially-acceptable script for.)

      1. Not Today, Friends*

        It absolutely does not call for a reply at all. Or for any of it to be said out loud. That client’s behavior was appalling.

      2. A Simple Narwhal*

        I agree that surrogacy is totally selfless, no matter the compensation! There is zero amount of money that could entice me to be a surrogate – it involves so much sacrifice and hardship that I would only consider going through for my own gain (aka having my own child), and even then I’m still hesitant about it! It truly is a selfless act to do all that for someone else, even if someone is paying you.

        1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

          As someone who loved being pregnant and had really easy pregnancies and birth only complicated by needless medical intervention first time round, I’d love to do it… but I wouldn’t be able to hand over the baby at the end of it, so …

      3. Jh*

        I actually almost fully agree with jspa (as a female who has two kids and hated both pregnancies fully), except that I still think the client acted atrociously. It’s very different to have feelings about surrogacy than it is to express such a weird judgment outloud! Client needs to learn some social skills.

        1. Hippo-nony-potomus*

          Exactly. Not every opinion needs to be expressed out loud, and when it comes to anything relating to childbearing, about 90% of opinions are best kept to one’s self. People aren’t going to change their family planning based on the thoughtless b.s. that flies out of someone’s mouth, but they will be plenty hurt and embarrassed by it.

        2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          This part is the key here “ It’s very different to have feelings about surrogacy than it is to express such a weird judgment outloud! Client needs to learn some social skills.”

          Just because a thought occurs to you does not mean that it needs to be vocalized. It is a social skill far too few people learn.

        3. JSPA*

          Oh, we agree that what came out was atrocious.

          I’m only pushing back against, “how dare they feel differently in any way,” and “why didn’t they know to shut up before they said anything.”

          Learning not to do that sort of thinking out loud is important. Full stop.

          But some of us are trained to it from childhood (or naturally circumspect). Others of us are born and raised as blurters, and spend decades retooling: learning scripts, suffering esprit de l’escalier in reverse, and otherwise paying in social capital to buy a social clue.

          I’d have zero sympathy for an ongoing attitude, to be clear. But one-time blurts around unusual experiences, followed by silence because it’s awkward to bring it up to apologize–I’ve been that person. Ovaries / uteri are not magical protection from being that person.

        1. Ailurophile*

          I’m going save “the devil has enough advocates” for the next time someone at work tries to play “devil’s advocate” to avoid doing something inclusive, equitable, or kind.

      4. Mockingdragon*

        yeah there’s still no reason ever to say that to someone who was just casually mentioning their surrogacy.

        1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

          I could kind of see it coming off the wrong way to the client. She just casually mentioned the surrogacy as the way she’d funded the house – in opposition to the salary she’s being paid by the company, for which the client is paying how much?!? for their services…

          1. Mockingdragon*

            I mean…in that case their surprise and disdain would be pointed at the company for not paying her enough? Not at her for not being selfless??? enough not to accept payment?

            1. Candi*

              My extremely cynical side sees that as an expression of patriarchy. Getting mad at the company is getting mad at other men while refusing to see that their poor planning (covering OP’s job) resulted in your inconvenience, while getting mad at the OP is getting mad at a woman who “made your life difficult” for “selfish, monetary reasons”.

              I need to take some anti-nausea pills now.

      5. Aquawoman*

        There’s a real “women should be selfless because women are so good at being selfless (because they’ve been forced to be selfless for millennia!)” vibe to that dude’s comments. He didn’t just retract admiration for a selfless act (and how would it be ok to SAY that anyway?!), he judged her for getting paid for providing a service. This is why women and POC are paid less.

        I also find that people who are put on pedestals tend to get shafted in all the ways that matter. Like, we adore our “troops” so much that we can only give them better parking spots, not actual health care for their service-related injuries. We adore teachers so much that we give them mugs with inspiring mottoes but not the professional pay they deserve. Moms are awesome, so let’s send them flowers instead pf voting for decent childcare and parental leave policies.

        1. Gail Davidson-Durst*

          Yup, you put my thoughts into words! The relative pedestals might kinda-sorta make sense when considered without context, but in reality this happened against a cultural backdrop that considers women’s bodies and work to be public property, to be used for the good of others. And expects women to play that role with a big ol’ smile at all times.

        2. Dark Macadamia*

          +1 “A pedestal is as much a prison as any small, confined space.”

          The idea of ranking people based on selflessness, with someone who is fairly compensated (as they should be) being “lower” than someone who isn’t, is pretty horrifying under any circumstances, but when it’s specifically about how selfless they are with their UTERUS? Yikes.

        3. Hippo-nony-potomus*

          Sorry to derail this. I’ve run the math on teachers’ salaries and the numbers always come up quite well. Starting with numbers, the average public school teacher in America earns $63,645 per year, plus benefits.

          They never get rich off of it, but the value of their pensions, benefits, and job security puts them in line or above with basically every other degreed professional outside of medicine, law, and business – and even then, they make a lot more than prosecutors or public defenders. Given that they don’t have the insane debt loads of those fields, and start work at 23, the salaries compare quite well with all but the most successful professionals.

          The right-hand side of the bell curve is not anything teachers will ever really achieve, but the median full-time American earns $835 per week. Consider that a private-sector job comes with limited vacation (15 days combined vacation/sick leave is quite common), a 5% match on a 401k (compared to 80% of the average of the top 3 years of your salary plus COL adjustments), and risks of layoffs, salary cuts, downsizing, etc….

          1. JB (not in Houston)*

            “average” salary. Well, aside from the fact that teacher’s almost always have to pay for their own supplies, I don’t know any starting teachers–and I’ve known quite a few–who started at that salary in a region where that would be good pay. And it’s probably true that that amount is higher than a lot of public defenders, it’s certainly not higher or even comparable to prosecutors in my area. And benefits and job security? That’s probably true in some states with good teacher unions. But it is decidedly not true where I live.

            1. Hippo-nony-potomus*

              Put numbers to it, JB. The average teachers’ salary is likely quite close to their median salary, as there aren’t teachers earning $500,000 a year to distort the high end. The “average” American salary, however, is distorted by the 5% of households earning in excess of $200,000 a year, which is why I used the median. If you are looking at starting salaries, then you have to pull BLS data to find out what 23-year-olds make – you can’t compare a starting teacher with someone who has been working for 25 years.

              If you want to break it down by state, you’re more than welcome to.

              How much do teachers spend in supplies every year? The number I see is in the three-figure range – about $450 that is not reimbursed every year. You’re more than welcome to figure in how much you need to earn to pay for that ($450 is post-tax dollars), but it’s hardly going to affect the $835/week versus $63k a year analysis.

              How much does it cost to become a licensed teacher versus a prosecutor? Factor in time for education, cost of education, cost of licensing exams, cost of exam preparation, failure rates of exams, etc.

              What are the costs of losing a job? How often does that happen to teachers versus other professionals? What is the cost of not having great health insurance? What is the cost of your company giving you all of a few thousand dollars a year towards retirement, rather than the pension benefits of a teacher?

              They aren’t underpaid; they just are never going to earn a big salary.

              1. Double A*

                I’m 13 years into my teaching career and my salary is $52,000 in California and our health insurance for a family of four is about $400/month. We have decent retirement benefits and job security. The perk of summers off and school breaks is not to be underestimated (yeah some teachers work through the summer but that is honestly a choice. Although I have to say with summers getting hotter I’m starting to chafe a bit against never being able to take extended time off at a different time). I have a Masters in teaching, which cost me $35k in 2010. And I’m really good at what I do.

                Now, there are some choices I made that mean I’m making a bit less (about 10k) than I could at this point, and I didn’t really need a Masters (though my program was excellent and is a huge reason I’m a very good teacher). I’m fairly content with my salary and benefits though the older I get the more I feel under valued.

                Salary also varies widely depending on where and what you teach. I mostly agree with you that the salary is adequate, but it’s middling. There may come a point where I look into more lucrative opportunities.

                1. Double A*

                  I’ll also say, the learning curve to becoming a teacher is STEEP and the first year is absolute hell and the next few years are hard too. That’s also when you’re worst paid and working the most and when people are the most likely to burn out.

                  The other thing with teaching is that no one else will protect your work life balance. Some schools make work life balance impossible, but every school will suck you dry if you let it. You’ve got to learn how to set those boundaries. As you move on in your career, you develop strategies to manage the work load and it becomes easier to do, but absolutely no one will help you do it but you. And as people who like to help and put others first, it can be a hard skill to develop. I had a nervous breakdown before I was able to do it.

              2. Why did I go to library school?*

                I’m not really sure what you’re hoping to accomplish with this derailment other than make it look like you have something against public school teachers….?

              3. Rainy*

                So one thing I’d like to point out is that they average teacher salaries along with administrator salaries, and the administrators are usually making a lot more money.

            2. Rainy*

              Right? I read that comment and thought “tell me you don’t actually know any teachers without, y’know, *telling* me you don’t know any teachers”.

          2. Batgirl*

            You have to factor in that teachers usually supply their own classrooms and tend to work most of their evenings and their holidays because the job requires prepping at home. Also, the fact that just being around children (many children), means being “on”, kind of like being on stage, in a sort of exhausting way that you never get in an adult space where you can work in fits and starts, and take care of your needs like going to the bathroom or getting a drink. That’s before I get into the stress involved in dealing with a student’s future chances and often trying to rescue them from the effects of a sub par home life. It isn’t possible to pay teachers enough, but it’s certainly possible to degrade it below other high pressure professions. But to be fair to your sums, my main complaint isn’t the compensation, it’s the amount of kids/responsibility heaped on each individual as though their time is limitless (and free).

            1. Humble Schoolmarm*

              Thank you! My compensation is quite reasonable, but it’s all the other things that make it very stressful and demanding. I tend to get the hysterical giggles when reading other folks talk about only needing to work 40% of the day.

          3. Lenora Rose*

            You’re ignoring: Mandatory and extensive overtime, little sick leave during the school year (When needed), plenty of risk of layoffs and downsizing (Yes, we hear about places where a union blocks a teacher firing, but school programs and classes and staff get cut all the time. Many newer and lower paid teachers work on a one or two year contract, so while not fired, they might not have it renewed…), the whole thing where they often spend HEAPS of their own money on supplies, they probably do have student debt even if it isn’t to the degree of legal professionals…

            Also, sorry, but $64,000 a year as an average (NOT starting) salary looks low to me. I live in a place where the average salary (as of 2018) is $75,000, and is considered pretty good, and even here, the starting salary is around $40,000, which isn’t great for a 5 year degree.

            1. Batgirl*

              We just hired a teacher into what was a permanent role as an hourly paid agency worker with a workload beyond what she’s allowed to claim for. They want to fire her easily if they need to downscale. Not that that stopped them in the last restructure. They’ve given her the toughest classes, because of course they have.

          4. Where’s the Orchestra?*

            Former teacher here: what is this pension you mention in paragraph two? I never had the option of one in any of the three states I taught in. I also never had a salary that exceeded 35K yearly. I look at those “National Average Salaries” and always groan, because the blue states that pay their teachers closer to a good living wage make those in the red states that don’t pay well jealous.

          5. Candi*

            Your scenario requires best cases in everything: Low to medium cost of living, average or higher wages, a good union or union chapter, and a decent administration. That’s rare in the US.

            You know that teachers are only salaried because the government said so? By the legal descriptions of jobs, teaching should be hourly.

            Do the math on what a teacher would earn if they were paid a living wage on an hourly basis. Then factor in they often work 10-14 hour days and weekends, which means they would be getting tons of overtime if they would be paid properly. I don’t know a single teacher, private, public, charter, who works anything resembling a 40 hour week.

            Being salaried means it’s easy to hide how poorly they’re paid for the time they actually work. And why they constantly burn out.

            Another thing: Just because a wage has good numbers doesn’t mean it’s a good wage for the area the teacher lives in. Teacher salaries are often barely at or even below living wage for areas they live in.

            If that district(s) have a bad union, forget it. The union in this area has been in bed with the administration for years and chips away at teacher benefits with every contract negotiation. Unless you started over 20 years ago, you don’t get a pension. When my younger kid graduated, teacher health benefits were almost half of when they started -and they went to schools in the same district for their entire career.

            You want to know something the union here negotiated at some point prior to 2015? A policy that if a teacher wants to keep their health benefits, they can’t go on 100% absent medical leave; they have to appear in the classroom at least once a week. Which, in turn, prevents the school from just getting a long-term sub to cover the class, since that’s not allowed unless the teacher can’t come into the classroom.

            A teacher involved taught my son; she had a very aggressive form of cancer and was receiving heavy duty chemo. She was barely mentally there during the days she was in class, but she had to keep coming or lose her benefits. The other days were filled by a series of short-term subs. Work got lost or wasn’t even assigned. Every student had to repeat the course except the two who moved.

            You’d think that after such a worst-case scenario the union would concede that’s a horrible policy. The teachers certainly asked them to change it.

            The union said no, the policy was going to stay. And every teacher who’d originally complained shut up and refused to discuss the subject further within a week.

        4. Batgirl*

          Exactly. Pedestals suck. Don’t pay in gratitude and hero worship because you want x group of people in society to continue to do y thing for peanuts and social approval. They’re not doing it so some random guy they meet in the course of business will award a slightly higher podium place to them.

        5. Candi*

          Pedestals are harmful. They idealize and abstract, causing people to focus on the stereotype and ignore the people underneath.

          Pedestals even harm the white (Christian, straight) male, who benefits most from the current western system of things. They themselves are subject to an idealized abstract that insists they conform and live up to an image they never consented to uphold and were given no choice in deciding on. But in being forced to, they become part of the system and part of the problem, perpetuating the toxic culture through another cycle.

          It’ll be better for everyone -every race, every class, every gender, every country- if the current culture just stops it with the idealized stereotyping and starts to see people for who they are.

      6. Dark Macadamia*

        Um, no, it is never reasonable to comment on how inconvenient someone else’s pregnancy is for your business, regardless of the circumstances surrounding the pregnancy. Yes, surrogacy is kind of a side gig, but would you tell someone carrying their own child that they should have “prioritized timing” for the client?

        1. Candi*

          I actually think there have been comments on this site about people whose bosses or clients complained that a worker’s pregnancy was very inconvenient for them. Don’t know about letters.

          1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

            There was a letter from a manager who had heard her employee had timed her pregnancies to be off at the busy time of year for their workplace.

    5. Mockingdragon*

      No shit. Wow. He said the quiet part loud, didn’t he. Even if you think that kind of thing, which you shouldn’t, you don’t fucking say that to someone’s faaaaace.

    6. Caroline Bowman*

      My question is… why WOULDN’T someone be compensated? I mean… they will absolutely 100% be out of work for even a couple of weeks, excluding the various necessary appointments and other inevitable pregnancy stuff that happens, so it would have to be worth their while, surely?

      I realise ”expenses” and ”compensation” are different, but one is putting one’s body through… a lot and taking a serious risk, so I’d have thought some form of fair and transparent payment would be absolutely standard. Yes, I do see the issues with low-income people being essentially made to do it, but assuming it’s done in-country and with a person who is absolutely medically fit and informed, then surely everyone actually wins?

      1. Beany*

        This depends on what kind of benefits the main employer offers. If the main employers offered a few weeks of paid maternity leave — and I know that’s a big IF in the US — then getting compensated for the time off work by the parents-to-be would be double-dipping — you’re effectively being paid twice for the same time.

        That assumes that the surrogacy contract specifically links part of the payment to time out of work due to labor + recovery. I have no idea if it does.

      2. It's complicated*

        So, having worked in reproductive health for a decade in a country where it’s illegal to pay surrogates but legal to reimburse expenses and to give gifts under a certain amount (so, in essence, many are in fact paid for surrogacy), I have definitely seen, many times, people having pregnancies that put their mental and physical health at risk because they have few other options for feeding their own kids at home. They all worked with agencies that “screened” them and decided they were absolutely medically fit and informed. I have told someone at discharge from care that I recommend she never get pregnant again for her health and safety and had her back in my office six months later doing another surrogacy because of dire economic necessity.

        That being said, there are lots of forms of dangerous work we don’t make illegal. You’re allowed to go work on an oil rig to feed your kids. You’re allowed to work in a mine. You’re allowed to be a fire fighter. So I would argue that paid surrogacy is illegal at least in part because we have a bunch of weird cultural beliefs about the validity of work that is performed with the reproductive system rather than, say, the arms, and we also have some capital b Beliefs about the meaning of pregnancy within society. So in the aggregate I tend to think that, like most industries, what’s really needed is careful regulation.

        1. JSPA*

          Yes; you can put your body parts on the line in risky jobs, including risky jobs taken out of sheer economic desperation. But you cannot get paid for surrogacy. Nor for organ donation.

          I of course agree that we don’t want to end up with people being strong-armed into donating a body part. Or into being surrogates.

          But you can legally work a job that, by the time you take early retirement, will leave you unable to stand up straight, or without functional use of your hands. Signing up for the military because you have no other job prospects–not just legal, but in many places, practically the default option. Heck, a certain large company can wash out hundreds of previously healthy young people who are left with lifelong crush injuries and chronic ergonomic injuries and circulatory problems and urinary tract problems, and still be treated like the best buying option by all sort of respectable websites and website owners (including this one)–because that’s apparently just how the world works, now.

          Would making it legal to pay people a truly life-changing amount of money (and for the sake of argument, let’s add, ongoing access to free healthcare) to donate a kidney or a lobe of their liver (or to be a surrogate) really, really be that much more heinous?

          Is it so much worse to pay for blood donations than for plasma, for that matter, especially now that hanging out in a roomful of strangers is a Covid risk?

          I’m not convinced.

          1. EchoGirl*

            re:blood donations, I think the reason they stopped paying for those was that a significant number of people were trying to evade safety standards that do exist — specifically the minimum time interval — in order to get paid more, so I can understand why they’d decide to just cut the whole thing off at the pass, at least until they can come up with more reliable safeguards. That said, that concern doesn’t really apply with organs since there’s a much more finite component to organ donation than blood donation.

            1. Candi*

              In the movie “Senseless”, the star sells multiple blood donations to make more money for his family while he goes to college. (As well as working multiple jobs.)

              It dove me nuts since, from my very first donation at 16, a few years _before_ the movie came out, they always pricked my finger before allowing me to donate blood, and wouldn’t let me if my iron was too low. One donation would do that.

              I couldn’t help thinking how medically irresponsible the clinic was being not pricking his finger and testing the blood.

            2. Sequoia*

              Okay, so I’m late here, but I work at a blood bank, so I can say definitively; the reason blood donors in the US can’t be paid for their donations is to prevent people from lying about risk factors that would mean they would be deferred and they wouldn’t get the money. That actually used to happen 50-60 years ago. Drug addicts looking to fund their next hit would “donate” blood, lie about using needles, and then blood tainted with hepatitis or other diseases would get transfused to patients, spreading the disease. Yes, we have better testing now, but we can’t test for everything, and donors being honest is the first line of defense for keeping the blood supply safe.

              Plasma “donations” are different, because they’re not for direct transfusion, and are pretty heavily processed before making it into a patient, thus drastically reducing the chance of disease transmission.

              To bring this back on topic, I see surrogacy as being similar to living organ donors, or those donating bone marrow. Payment beyond covering medical expenses would open the door to exploitation of disadvantaged people, for whom pregnancy might be detrimental. On the other hand, I do believe in paying people for their work, even when that work isn’t traditional. So, I don’t know. No easy answers, I guess.

          2. allathian*

            I’m in a country where surrogacy is illegal. This doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen even in-country. It’s just that it’s hidden, and when the baby is born, it’s treated like a voluntary adoption. It’s not possible to sign a binding surrogacy contract, and using the surrogate mom’s ova is more common than not (harvesting + IVF would be an additional complication).

            Meaning that the surrogate mom can back out at any time and claim the baby as hers, and the parents who want the baby have no legal recourse.

          3. Candi*

            “you cannot get paid for surrogacy”

            Why not? They’re producing something, at great medical risk, that someone wants enough to pay for. It’s not at all like organ donation, where most of them don’t regenerate but are one and done deals.

            It definitely needs to be regulated, particularly since human life is involved, but many other things that involve human life are already regulated, including medicine itself.

      3. RebelwithMouseyHair*

        Like, covering all medical bills and loss of salary should be the absolute minimum, and will be in proportion to the difficulties encountered during the pregnancy, but there definitely should be something more because basically your life will revolve around it for most of a year – holiday destinations will depend on how far you’ve got and whether you have to rest, whether the doctor advises not to travel too far – and it can tire you out. And it has a knock-on effect on your sex life, and therefore your love life, and simply being tired will have an effect on how you parent your own kids… all stuff that means you should be richly rewarded for your generosity.

  9. Dark Macadamia*

    Wow, Boss 1 is awful. And that client too, as if being compensated for your labor (lol) makes it less valuable – surrogacy is a weird job but I wouldn’t be surprised if that attitude reflects issues with him as an employer too. Glad you’re doing well, what a wonderful thing you did!

  10. Alia*

    What an impossible spot to be put in – trying to be professional while a client tells you that they value your selfless gesture (which truly has nothing to do with them) less because you had the temerity to want to be paid. Alison hit the nail on the head in the original post – “they will hopefully have the sense to keep that to themselves in a business context” – and it’s a total disappointment that that wasn’t the case.

    1. Bean Counter Extraordinaire*

      If I tilt my head and squint, I can maybe see where the client thinks “selfless” = “self gets no benefit”. Like it’d only be selfless if she did it for free and gained nothing (possibly extra selfless if she suffered?), but since she’s being paid, it’s a mutually beneficial business arrangement.

      1. Candi*

        I bet if you said police and firefighters should work for free, client would give a list of reasons why they need to be paid.

  11. Lilypads*

    You used the labor of your body to help two families. The parents who now have children and your own that has a new house. Surrogacy, like egg donation, should be paid. Even if you are doing it for a loved one your medical coats and any missed wages should be covered. It does not diminish the gift you have given to be compensated for it.

  12. Observer*

    Boss #1 sounds like a first class idiot. I don’t care WHOSE baby you were carrying – you were in the ER! You were in the hospital! What was he thinking?! Or rather why was he not thinking?! Especially the second time, after Boss #2 pointed out that the request in the ER was inappropriate!

    I know, a lot of exclamation points. But I’m just having a hard time wrapping my head around this. It’s not your kid, but it’s your body. *YOU* were the one who landed in the hospital. *YOU* were the one having surgery. These are all things that affect you regardless of having a baby at the end of it or not.

    And, yeah, I probably wouldn’t share that you got paid for the surrogacy. Not because I think it’s immoral, but because who needs to deal with the judgement of people.

  13. Mm*

    I had a child via surrogacy (as in a surrogate carried my baby because I can’t). There is definitely nothing less selfless because it is paid. I find people who think surrogates should do it for free (for strangers especially?!?!) either don’t understand what pregnancy involves or have some weird hang up about women making money via a method men can’t.

    Seperately, I think some people in the comments have this vision of a pretty sketchy situation, but laws around surrogacy in the US are actually pretty good and work to protect surrogate and intenteded parents.

    1. Need More Sunshine*

      “….some weird hang up about women making money via a method men can’t.” Ding ding ding! We have a winner!

      1. Ally McBeal*

        Yep. “Sorry your one-time sperm donation isn’t as valuable as 40 weeks of full-time gestation” ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

        1. allathian*

          Yeah, and even harvesting ova is a pretty complex procedure compared to sperm donation. Hormone treatments are no joke.

    2. a tester, not a developer*

      Especially since the US doesn’t have medical care and paid leave after giving birth like other countries.

    3. Heron*

      Some American surrogates do find themselves in awkward or uncomfortable arrangements. The laws in some states leave something to be desired. But that doesn’t mean surrogacy itself is questionable. When set up well, it’s usually a win-win.

    4. It Me*

      I had a child thanks to an egg donor (I was able to carry (well, for about 35 weeks but that’s another story) but my eggs were not viable) and having gone through the IVF process myself twice before deciding to use a donor egg, I would not feel at all comfortable asking someone to do that without compensation. In my state, you can’t pay for the eggs, but you can compensate the donor for their time and as anyone who as gone through IVF can attest, it’s not easy work.

      We gave a lot of thought to the ethics around it all, and ultimately decided that the primary problem (other than the truly exploitative situations discussed elsewhere) is that these options are available to anyone who wants to become a parent. I think comprehensive reproductive justice needs to address everything from access to birth control, terminating an unwanted pregnancy, IVF, or being able to partner with a donor or a surrogate. Babies for everyone who wants them, and no babies for anyone who doesn’t!

      1. Candi*

        Yep. All the birth control for everyone! Just make sure it’s safe for the person using it.

        BC solves the abortion problem -no conception, no abortion- and the problem of abortion being a (set of) medical procedures in its own right, which people should also not have to undergo because BC wasn’t available.

        So no abortion, no pregnancy except for those who want it, and everyone’s happy except the meddlesome control freaks who think they should be running things. Those guys can get stuffed.

        1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

          Abortion is for when the contraception doesn’t work, because no method is 100% effective.

        2. Kasia*

          There is still a need for abortion even with perfect birth control (which doesn’t exist).

          Most late term abortions in the US happen because the parents learn that the baby has abnormalities either incompatible with life or incompatible with a quality of life that a parent would choose for their child. Unfortunately, there is no way to learn about this pre-pregnancy, and they sometimes can’t be diagnosed until the anatomical structures have fully formed, which is normally after 18 weeks of pregnancy.

          Some women choose perinatal hospice in this situation, but others choose abortion. Banning late term abortion is forcing someone to carry their much wanted and loved but essentially dead baby inside their body for 5 months.

    5. londonedit*

      Where I live it’s illegal to pay a surrogate for being a surrogate – you’re allowed to pay them ‘reasonable expenses’, which can feasibly be bumped up a bit (I looked it up and in the UK surrogates will typically get around £10,000 for things like loss of earnings, buying maternity clothes or travel). The laws are also odd because surrogacy agreements actually carry no legal weight and the person who gives birth to the child is deemed to be its legal parent even if there’s another arrangement agreed, and you have to get a court order to change the legal parent(s) of the child. So views about it here are probably different from in the US, because there’s a different culture around it.

      1. Bagpuss*

        The laws around who is the legal parent mesh with laws around adoption – you also can’t agree to give a child up for adoption before they are born or for the first 6 weeks of their life, (well, obviously you can, but the agreement isn’t binding and a court can’t treat it as legal consent or make an adoption order until after that time)

        If the baby was conceived using the fathers sperm then he would have legal rights if the surrogate changed her mind, and while legally the same isn’t true for the mother even if her egg was used, I think it is is likely in those circumstances that a court would take that into account in considering any request for permission to apply for orders about the child .

        But equally, as LondonEdit says , parents can cover their surrogates expenses and the surrogate would still (if employed) be entitled to maternity leave and other legal protections .

        People don’t get paid for sperm, egg or blood donation here, either .

        I definitely agree that, paid or not, it’s a very generous and selfless thing to do!

        1. lafcolleen*

          This is not universally true (six weeks before you can give up a baby for adoption).

          In Illinois an irrevocable consent to adoption can be signed after 72 hours from the birth. Once it is signed, it can only be challenged on the basis of fraud or duress by the person taking consent. Feeling coerced by someone else (i.e., a young person feeling pressured by their own parents) is not a basis to challenge the consent.

          Again in Illinois, a father can sign a consent prior to the birth of a child. He has a 72 hour window after the birth to rescind the consent.

          also in Illinois, a gestional surragacy contract properly executed does establish legal paternity in the intended parent(s) prior to birth.

          also in Illinois, a minor can consent to an adoption on their own.

          A fair bit of adoption law here is driven by fears of birth parents re-emerging and trying to undo the adoptions, so Illinois law makes the consent process really detailed and specific and it moves quickly.

        2. Haha Lala*

          People absolutely can get paid for being egg donors in the USA.
          There were ads all around my college asking for donors, noting that they would pay $5k or $10k or some amount that was ridiculously large to college students. It’s a much more involved process than blood or sperm donations, so it makes sense to me that donors would expect to be compensated.

          1. who me?*

            based on other comments, i suspect the legal contract you’d sign would say you’re being compensated for time spent, not for the eggs themselves.

    6. Caroline Bowman*

      Great insight, totally agree. I think surrogacy and being a surrogate is automatically giving a blessing and a gift that is literally priceless, whether one is paid millions or not. It involves risk, inconvenience, possible long term future health consequences… and thus should be fairly compensated.
      If all concerned are acting in good faith, AS WITH ANYTHING, then good for them.

      It’s still a gift.

      1. Candi*

        I can think of one consequence.

        Surrogate and husband (assuming hetero couple) are both Rh-. They don’t have to worry about a Rh+ child.

        But one or both genetic parents of the child are Rh+.

        That means surrogate has to get the shot to prevent + antibodies unless they plan on never having another child. And that thing is not fun.

        1. Alice's Rabbit*

          Surrogacy agencies avoid that situation if at all possible. It’s a fairly easy one to avoid, in fact, unless your surrogate is a friend or family member volunteering their efforts. A paid stranger would have to be medically compatible with the couple in question, and blood typing is easy. So no, that’s not usually a risk a surrogate would ever deal with.
          However, any pregnancy can go pear shaped in a thousand different ways, so it’s still risky. And those brave women who provide this service are heroes, and definitely deserve compensation.

    7. Cat Lady*

      Yeah, the idea that surrogates shouldn’t be paid is very weird to me. Besides the reasons you listed, I think people also get mad about this because of how pregnant people get put on a weird pedestal. The pregnant person is supposed to be this selfless martyr who loves the fetus unconditionally, has largely positive feelings about being pregnant and asks for nothing in return. And since most pregnant people are women (and are always assumed to be women, which is a whole other thing), these attitudes are often fueled by sexist ideas about how mothers are “supposed to be.” Pregnant people are venerated, as long as they toe the line.

      So anytime a pregnant person doesn’t fit this exact mold for any reason, people get thrown by it. Getting paid to have a baby, not considering yourself the mother of a child you birthed or having ambivalent feelings about giving birth at all tend to offend some people’s sensibilities. They indicate that you have your own interests that might take precedent over being somebody’s mom, and some people cannot stand that idea.

      1. Krabby*

        Yes to all of this!

        My sister in law has been a surrogate twice for ppl she didn’t know (met through an agency). She doesn’t have children of her own and doesn’t want children of her own. She decided to be a surrogate solely because she really wanted to experience pregnancy without the hassle of the baby at the end (plus she thought it was a nice thing to be able to do for someone). Some of the responses she got from friends and family, especially the first time she did it, were appalling.

      2. Candi*

        “who loves the fetus unconditionally”


        (gasps for breath)

        I’ve noticed that it’s people with perfect pregnancies, or who haven’t been pregnant, who tend to say crap like that.

        When you’re about the sixth month, so heavy enough it’s affecting you but not far enough along the kid is sufficiently cramped, and they’re on their fourth hour of inter-uterine water gymnastics, and you have to sleep cause you’re working the next day, you aren’t loving that kid all that much. (That was the younger one.)

        1. Alice's Rabbit*

          It’s a good thing my last pregnancy was during the pandemic, because I was ready to punch the next person to tell me “Sleep while you can!”
          I didn’t get a full night’s sleep for the last 3 months of pregnancy. Between baby’s 3 am dance party and non-stop Braxton-Hicks, sleep was impossible.
          But once baby was born, Daddy could take a shift cuddling, changing diapers, and making bottles. Grandma could take the kid for a couple hours so I could shower and nap.
          So yeah, I felt much more charitable toward the kid when the pregnancy itself was over, and not because “cute baby!” No, it was because everything looks better after a good night’s sleep.

  14. BJP*

    OP, I hope you have recovered and that you and the babies and your family are all doing well. Thank you for helping a family’s dreams of having children come true! Surrogates and gestational carriers absolutely deserve to be paid. States that ban paid GC and allow only altruistic surrogates, or who have laws that force biological parents to “adopt” their own children are really harming folks who want to build their families but can’t just pop out a “free sex baby.”

  15. Meghan*

    Ah, yes, I’ll put my body through hell for nine months that ends with a massive medical procedure FOR FREE. YES.
    People that surrogate are amazing, but also deserved to be paid for their time.

    1. Connie-Lynne*

      Don’t forget that gestation and birth can have life-long impacts on a person’s body. But really, people should sign up to do that for free because … oh right, they should be paid!

  16. Cori Smelker*

    Congratulations on handling a tough situation in the best way possible. As a 7-time gestational carrier myself, I know firsthand the stress that goes with carrying babies for someone else, maintaining a job and caring for your own family. Altruistic surrogacy, while commendable, is not feasible for so many reasons, and those of us who have carried for other couples know all too well the toll the pregnancies take on our bodies.

    Kudos to you for helping a couple create/complete their family.

  17. Michelle Smith*

    I’m really horrified by how one of your bosses treated you. So what it wasn’t your children? THEY WERE LITERALLY INSIDE YOUR BODY. YOU WERE IN THE HOSPITAL. How is that not just as serious as any other medical emergency?????? I’m just stunned. I’m so sorry you were treated so disrespectfully. I hope that if this ever comes up in the future, you ignore the emails and calls.

    1. Heron*

      I doubt she’ll want to be a surrogate again, after this experience. But she can be a fierce advocate for anyone facing health challenges or going through surrogacy in the future!

    2. Observer*

      I’d be surprised if there is a “next time”. If the OP had to have surgery (ie a c0section) her risk for a next pregnancy is much higher, even absent other risk factors. Which makes it quite likely that a good agency of the sort described by the OP will not want to contract with her again.

      1. Candi*

        And some doctors have this thing where if someone’s had a c-section, they’ll insist on doing one for every pregnancy thereafter. Because apparently no one’s bothered to find out if it’s actually a good idea, it’s just assumed that if the uterus has been cut open, it’s too much of a risk (or something) to allow future canal births.

        (I didn’t understand the explanation of why some doctors do that, and it was a doula and patient advocate explaining it. It just made that little logic to my mind, especially the ‘no one has actually checked if this is true’ part.)

        1. Alice's Rabbit*

          Oh, studies have been done! It’s not true. VBACs (vaginally birth after cesarean) are much safer in the majority of cases. If you’ve had multiple cesareans, your risk of uterine rupture is higher, so after 2 surgeries a VBAC is iffy, after 3 I don’t know any doctor willing to try it.
          You just need to make sure the uterus is full healed between pregnancies, especially if you are trying for a VBAC. 9 months is the minimum to wait, 12 to 18 months is ideal.

  18. Heron*

    Exhibit A for why we need more women in charge. I’m kidless, but I would never take a woman’s difficult pregnancy/delivery lightly!

    Thank goodness some men don’t, either. But so many of them have been taught to soldier through anything, and expect everyone else to do the same. It’s unfair and unrealistic.

    1. Observer*

      I don’t think this is about gender. Nor about “soldiering through”.

      I suspect that they just didn’t see this as a “real” pregnancy since it wasn’t the the OP’s child(ren) at stake. The OP herself mentions this.

      1. Heron*

        I believe gender played into it, though the “not my babies” was the bigger piece of the puzzle. You could be completely correct, though. Thanks for the feedback.

  19. drpuma*

    Thank you, thank you for what you did for this family. Yes it is 100% work and you deserved every penny you got. At the same time I believe opening up new possibilities for anyone is a gift. You gave this family possibilities that they didn’t have before. Thank you for that.

  20. Red5*

    For some reason, people have this really weird idea that pregnancy and birth are low risk just because we’ve been doing it for millennia. However, maternal mortality is a serious risk, especially in the US, which has one of the highest maternal mortality rates of developed countries. (I assume the OP is in the US since she referenced no paid maternal leave.) OP’s boss was out of line, especially asking her to do work a second time after being scolded. And, the idea that a woman should risk her health and life to provide a baby for someone else for free is just a misogynistic extension of the idea that women’s labor has less value than men’s.

    1. Observer*

      It doesn’t even really matter how low risk pregnancy and childbirth is GENERALLY. Because the OP was actually in the ER the first time, and the hospital the second time Boss #1 acted like a jerk. It’s like saying “riding a bike is a low risk activity so if an accident on a bike lands you in the ER I’m going to act as though nothing is really the matter.” The fact that someone is in the ER is enough reason to leave them alone, regardless of WHY they are in the ER. Same for a hospital stay.

    2. learnedthehardway*

      “the idea that a woman should risk her health and life to provide a baby for someone else for free is just a misogynistic extension of the idea that women’s labor has less value than men’s.”

      That bears repeating multiple times, and full volume!!

      1. Jean (just Jean)*

        That bears repeating multiple times, and full volume!!
        Another great expression would be, “Say it again/louder for the folks in the back.”

    3. Budgie Buddy*

      Maybe cynical but rather than the popular conception being that pregnancy is “low risk,” I think it’s more along the lines of “acceptable risk.” :P

      Otherwise known as “High rates of maternal mortality? No one bats an eye. But abort one ectopic pregnancy and everyone loses their minds.”

      1. Candi*

        Human nature is weird. If we do something over and over and over and no or minimal bad happens, then, no matter what the statistical and actual dangers are, the human mind starts to regard it as not that dangerous.

        Until something blows up. Or we wipe out a species. Or violence is shoved in our faces.

        That’s when we realize, hey, this thing that we were reportedly warned was dangerous? It’s dangerous.

  21. Heron*

    Alison: I’m a lefty, and I read your columns on my phone. I wish the “Reply” links in the comments were centered, rather than on the left! I keep on hitting them by accident while I scroll down through the comments with my left hand. It’s a mild inconvenience, but still a little annoying. Could you change this without too much difficulty? Thank you for all that you do.

    1. Heron*

      Sorry–submitted as a site problem report instead. No reply expected here. (The “submit a problem” form would be easier to use if it weren’t three-in-one, though! It took me a bit to realize there were three separate “submit” buttons.)

    2. LouLou*

      I do this too, and I’m not even left handed! Eating with my right hand + scrolling on AAM with my left hand = constantly clicking the wrong thing. Love the site, but the mobile experience isn’t always great. I’m so excited for the redesign!

  22. KB*

    I think you are absolutely amazing for being able to do this! I’m happy you’re okay now! Some people will never understand what you went through and that’s okay – it’s not on you to have to explain to them just to get their approval. You’re awesome and you know you’re awesome!

  23. 4x Surrogate*

    The mistake that was made here was discussing personal finances with a client. When LW opened the conversation toward her personal finances, she basically invited the client to respond. Regardless of his opinion of compensated surrogacy, it feel very inappropriate to me that she would give him such personal details of her life.

    1. LouLou*

      It doesn’t sound like she gave especially personal details, and it also sounds like the client brought up the financial aspects himself.

    2. Bowsers*

      I see it this way too. I mean, the client was absolutely rude and in the wrong to be judgmental, don’t get me wrong, but perhaps because he lacks perspective on what it actually takes to bring a child to term, he sees it as curious as to why she would take a “second job” when as her client, he feels entitled to her full time work? I know AAM has had questions in the past about the ethics of taking on a second job that may have an impact on one’s first full time job, and maybe that is where his judgment came from? Although, surrogacy from my perspective seems different than taking another full time gig in the business world.

      1. Boof*

        To me this is the only vague quandary about surrogacy – especially if it is paid (and it should be, but then it’s sort of more obviously a side-gig)
        me at least I’m really not at all working my best while pregnant. There’s ~2+ months of severe fatigue, and then again near the end, mounting fatigue + distractability – on top of whatever time off is needed for birth (and if surrogacy is paid, then the company shouldn’t pay for parental leave probably? Kind of double dipping there?) I mean the situation’s so infrequent I’m not sure it’s worth making a whole policy around, pregnancy is difficult enough it’s hard to see someone being a repeated surrogate while working full time, etc. But to me that’s the only professionally tricky part of paid surrogacy – it’s kind of a second part time job that’s inevitably going to impact your full time job.

        1. Tiffany Aching*

          With this logic, any pregnant person is doing a full-time job growing a fetus on top of their regular paid full-time job. The pregnancy itself isn’t different just because you’re carrying someone else’s genetic material.

      2. Poppy*

        I can’t help but see it this way too. Yes, surrogacy is a full-time job (I don’t think you can be paid for it in my country, possibly to avoid this kind of conflict of interest among many other reasons). That’s why client may be concerned to know that OP is working two full-time jobs.

        Men have no right to tell women they should do that job on men’s terms though. If that’s contradictory, I’m sorry, I’m running at about 10% here.

    3. WellRed*

      That felt weird to me too. He mentioned the economy, she responded with how she could swing it. Surrogacy or family inheritance, I wouldn’t have divulged but I’m private about money.

    4. Batgirl*

      I have just bought a house, and I know I’ve mentioned it at work. I really don’t consider that to be divulging personal finances outside of areas where house buying is wildly unaffordable, no matter how long you’ve been working. I realize she added that the surrogacy helped with that, but of course her house was paid for by work! Either hers, or her partner’s; probably both. He wasn’t commenting on how she paid for her house or how she managed her finances, he was sneering that her womb is supposed to be some sort of money free sanctum if she wants to hit the highest ideals of womanly selflessness.

    5. Candi*

      The comment invited the client to discuss finances.

      It did not invite the client to make moral judgements on how the OP chose to use their uterus.

  24. Boof*

    Those who think surrogacy shouldn’t be paid feels like the most extreme example of “women’s efforts aren’t valuable / don’t deserve monetary compensation” D:< Because I guess we should just loooooove having babies so much? Never mind how taxing, hard, and risky it is? Yuck.
    Unfortunately paid surrogacy isn't legal in all states though I'm glad my state recently legalized it with appropriate caveats/compensation!

      1. Candi*

        Right, like the dowry and the bride-price weren’t putting prices on the value of a woman’s womb?

        A few cultures have even had arrangements that went: “Don’t have an heir? Can’t afford a bride? Marry one of our girls and divorce her once the kid’s born/weaned! Low costs, guaranteed offspring!” And the marriage/divorce combo occurs later in history; sometimes it was just a contract to have the kid, and it was acknowledged as a legitimate offspring of the father.

  25. Jen*

    I think capitalism and sexism get really wonky when they interact with any act of caring. This feels like a much larger and more egregious example of the type of thinking that suggests that nurses and teachers are great if they’re burnt out, selfless “superheroes”. And also thinks that teachers and nurses are selfish whiners if they want to be treated as professionals in professional workplaces. You did a great thing, OP, and you didn’t relinquish your right to medical privacy, medical leave, or compensation, just because that thing was caring labor done by a woman.

  26. n.m.*

    I can hardly imagine what kind of warped thinking is going on inside Boss #1 and Weirdo Client. Their behavior towards OP is so inappropriate.

  27. Elizabeth West*

    That last point is especially important. OP, you were still having an emergency! Boss needs a smack in the face with a clue-by-four. So does Judgmental Client, in my opinion. Even a traditional pregnancy means entering a long and physically dangerous time that also requires significant expenditures whether you keep the baby or not. At the very least, you should have those expenses paid.

    Personally, I draw the line at surrogacy; it would send my anxiety into the exosphere to sit on the sidelines during someone else’s pregnancy. If I couldn’t do it myself, I would just adopt a kid who was already here. But it was a selfless act no matter what Client says.

    1. Carol*

      This. It’s still a selfless act, even if payment is involved, because pregnancy is an absolute slog, you literally risk your life every time you get pregnant and deliver, and each pregnancy has the potential for long-term or permanent complications or physical impacts. It’s not just the “figure” thing that always gets joked about–like, that’s the least of your concerns–you can acquire lifelong medical conditions in pregnancy or birth. I never considered surrogacy (and think like anything it has the potential for exploitation) but admire those who do it.

  28. mmp*

    I’m pregnant right now with only one baby and can fully say surrogates deserve to be paid! Even for women that enjoy being pregnant it is hard on your body. And a twin (or more) pregnancy just causes more complications/way more frequent doctor checkups.
    OP you are an amazing selfless person who did and amazing thing for that family regardless of accepting a paycheck

  29. Soft ‘n Fluffy PJs*

    OP, GOOD ON YOU!! First, let me say that surrogacy is a more than full time job! While it is a wonderful thing to do for someone(s) else, of course you would be paid! Firefighters are paid to save human lives even though they would do it for free-why should creating a human life be any different? (The actual type/amount of currency tbd between the surrogate and the family and is no one else’s business.) For at least 10-12 months running, with about 9 of those months 24/7 (that is more than a “full time job”), plus the 24/7 healing after the birth plus the prep of contracting, researching companies, the treatments to get pregnant, ALL of that. Compensation should absolutely be a given! And there is the serious risk to your life plus the complications you experienced-which were compounded by COVID. So I reiterate —Of course you should be paid! I’m glad you were able to maintain a working relationship with that client, but he’s an ass. As for Manager #1? WTF?!! You were in the hospital. The thing could wait. She clearly demonstrated a lack of good judgement there if she could not understand the difference between an urgent-the-company-will-fail-if-it-isn’t-done now-action (in which case, bad management to not have a trained backup person —as Alison so often points out) and a key action where something needs to get done, but a brief delay won’t affect the business. And then to comment on your surrogacy after being explicitly asked not to? Again, poor judgment on her part. And finally-umm, since they knew you were pregnant, again poor judgment to not take advantage of months of advance notice and get some key cross training done! I call that a “DUH!” Maybe in the future let Boss#2 be your “this is really an emergency filter” & block contact from Boss#1 during vacations and personal/family emergencies? —Right now I have two bosses, one is not good about respecting my time off unless it is actually a medical emergency/I’m sick. The other only bothers me for real emergencies-calls on my time off are legit urgent while texts are key things but can be ignored until my next day at work or when it’s convenient for me. It’s taken years to feel ok with the boundary of only taking Boss#2’s calls (small business-we-are-family), but I have gotten there. —If it’s really urgent I know both of them will be actively working to fix the problem, so Boss #2 will get looped in and make a discreet call-has only happened twice in four years and Boss#1 still thinks #2 just got lucky in her timing of reaching me ;-). Again, glad client is professional, but he’s an ass. Boss #1 has questionable judgement and please let Boss#2 run interference for you -even loop her in if #1 is pressuring you! Future reports of Boss#1 Will appreciate it if she learns better judgement!

  30. bopper*

    To client: “Yeah, you have to wonder why people need to be paid to be a surrogate since they may not be getting paid enough salary at their job.”

  31. Database Developer Dude*

    Childbirth is hard enough. If you’re doing it for someone else, you ABSOLUTELY deserve to be paid. Anyone saying otherwise needs to have several seats.

  32. HotSauce*

    I would honestly not have been very happy about being contacted while in the hospital regardless of the reason I was there. It’s no one’s business but your own and I wish more employers would respect people’s privacy during medical leave.

    My husband recently had surgery and I was very irritated to walk into his hospital room the next morning to find him on the phone with his boss. I took the phone from him and said, I’m sorry, Husband just had his throat cut open and his thyroid removed and is having difficulty speaking, he’ll be back to work on DD/MM and should be able to answer your questions then. He wasn’t too happy, but good lord, I am so sick of his employer acting like he should be available 24/7. He worked 14 hour days the entire month leading up to the surgery, and made sure they were in a good place. He’s a shipping manager for Pete’s sake, it’s not a life or death situation, figure it out!

    1. Vanilla Bean*

      I understand your frustration but you should talk to your husband about it rather than interfere directly by taking away the phone. His relationship with his employer is his to manage.

      1. Observer*

        There is a time and a place for everything, even getting involved in a spouse’s work situation. When someone is in a hospital bed post surgery, it is just fine to step in and advocate for them!

        1. Simply the best*

          Taking a phone out of my hand, giving medical information to my boss, and hanging up a conversation I was in the middle of is not advocating for me. It’s wildly overstepping.

          1. Observer*

            If that’s the way you feel, I hope your spouse / SO / whoever is close enough to you to be there in that moment respects that and doesn’t advocate for you in any strong manner.

            But under those circumstances, what HotSauce describes is simple advocacy. To not step in at all, and just talk to him about it later is avoiding advocacy and essentially blaming someone immediately after surgery for not being able to stand up to a rude, pushy and over-stepping boss.

  33. ndawn90*

    My sister did a surrogate pregnancy last year (the baby is actually turning 1 this month). We were fortunate to be able to not only meet the dad’s, but they ended up spending the holidays with my family, which was a really amazing experience. I can see how much my sister bonded with them over this complex and beautiful experience of bringing a new, and very much wanted, life into the world.

    However – and I actually just recently found this out – apparently when my sister’s employer found out that her pregnancy was a surrogacy, they basically just decided that she didn’t actually need maternity leave. Without talking to her or even thinking things through, they just preemptively determined that because she wasn’t keeping the baby, she didn’t need to take the time to actually physically recover from giving birth at all.

    She ended up quitting that position and took on a new role with a competitor, so in the transition she was thankfully able to take the time to recover.

    1. NotRealAnonForThis*

      I feel like this (“didn’t need to take the time to actually physically recover from giving birth at all”) is the summary of the issue of maternity leave and how new mothers are treated. Its as if everyone has lost track of what it entails and how much time the body needs to actually HEAL itself from a relatively huge event.

      I’m glad that your sister had the opportunity to take on a new role with hopefully a more decent company. I’m really glad that she was able to use the transition time to take what time she needed to heal. And I hope that she let the fools in the former company have it in an exit interview.

    2. A Feast of Fools*

      This sounds like something my old company would do. Or, at least my department head within the [global] company.

      He asked what my holiday plans were. I told him that I’d had a positive cancer screening and would need to have a biopsy done early in the following year and so I was rolling over my days instead of taking them during the end of year holidays.

      His response was, “If it comes back positive and you think you’ll be out of work for more than a day, please write up a plan for mitigating the effects your absence will have on the team.”

      I wasn’t a manager. I was a 3rd-tier staff person (two levels up from entry) and just one individual contributor among dozens.

      He never once expressed any sympathy or asked how I was doing. Just, “Don’t let your medical thing impact our productivity.”

      I probably would have been managed out if I’d become a surrogate.

    3. Jean (just Jean)*

      Whoa Nelly! What happens if, after an employee undergoes pregnancy and gives birth, the baby dies (heaven forbid)–unusual, but not impossible?! Would this employer decide that “she didn’t actually need maternity leave” in that situation?
      TL;DR: That employer was a horror show. So glad your sister left.

      1. allathian*

        Ugh, how awful.
        We have long maternity/parental leave (up to the 3rd birthday of a child, and yes, sequential leaves are common). If a pregnant person has a miscarriage in week 22 or later, or the baby is stillborn, they’re entitled to 3 months of maternity leave to recover physically from the ordeal, and the non-birth parent is entitled to 3 weeks of paternity/bereavement leave.

    4. Just an autistic redhead*

      Lol what the! “Well, since the baby isn’t actually yours, that means once it leaves you, it is automatically in the real parents’ inventory and you don’t have anything going on anymore, right?”
      Maybe their logic could carry, if she’d said her in-game character was a surrogate giving birth instead of, you know, her one actual physical self! Quest NPC’s aren’t going to insta-heal you here.
      I don’t suppose her employers were 5-year-olds, were they?
      Though it might have worked better with the client from the letter if they had been thinking of it that way, because then they’d’ve understood that it’s perfectly normal to get a quest reward… /s
      Anyway, congratulations to OP and associated families, and to ndawn90’s sister and associated families… May y’all have an increasingly high ratio of reasonable people in your futures. ^_^

      1. Candi*

        “it’s perfectly normal to get a quest reward”

        I love this so much. Pregnancy is a heck of a “quest”, packed with many of the things a quest can entail and taking a darn long time, especially with all the little side quests that can pop up.

        So yes, it’s a lovely idea to get a reward after all that.

    5. Candi*

      It’s too late for your sister to use this, but one description of childbirth I read goes, “Pushing an object the size of a watermelon out of a hole the size of a lemon.” And that’s without the ~6 weeks of bleeding.

      I’m glad she’s out of there.

  34. IndyDem*

    I really wish that “my body, my choice” was normalized for everyone. It’s none of my business what you do with it!

    And the boss and the medical emergency! I know people are idiots, but we hear this so often in AAM. A patient’s mental state definitely has an effect on their ability to heal, so leave them alone.

    One point that I’ve been thinking about (and please don’t flame on me, I’m thinking out loud here) is about side-gigs. We’ve had multiple letters where we hear about people’s side gigs getting in the way of their main job, and the problems that result. Shouldn’t a paid surrogacy be considered a side-gig, then?

    1. Candi*

      Maybe, but first employers (and maybe lawmakers) would have to consider that a woman popping a parasite out is equivalent to paid labor, and not some miracle that happens because women are naturally fluffy and nurturing and wholesome and all and I totally want to put people who think that on the planet Superman and Goku destroyed in the first Death Battle. (Superman fixed it at the beginning of the second.)

      1. Carol*

        Well, I also really truly think there are people who conceive of pregnancy as “extended weight gain and loss” and have no more specificity in their minds than that. Absolutely no understanding of the short and long term toll it takes on the body and no idea of the risks encountered during and after. The amount of chatter that still goes around about how pregnant women shouldn’t expect “special treatment” like being given a seat on public transit is really gross. Like accommodating pregnancy is “pampering.”

  35. Anon for now*

    I absolutely think surrogates should be paid. They’re providing a valuable service in a way that literally involves labor. And it sounds like the OP also did it quite ethically, with the parents to be compensating her for unpaid time off.

    I admit I think it’s more complicated if it’s paid maternity leave from the job, if the surrogate thinks of being a surrogate as a job. Then it’s using a medical benefit to perform another job, which seems ethically different. But that doesn’t apply in this case.

    1. Candi*

      If employers would recognize surrogacy as a type of job, then they could put in policies about getting paid twice in such a circumstance. Like if the parents are paying for the lost wages, then the surrogate has to take unpaid leave.

    2. Carol*

      The maternity leave is to recover from the medical condition of pregnancy and the medical event of birth, not to perform another job.

  36. CFM*

    As a currently pregnant person, I am APPALLED that anyone thinks it should be unpaid. This is a full time job, and literally the most physically uncomfortable one I’ve ever had. The ONLY reason I’m doing this is bc I get a baby at the end. Doing it for someone else’s baby, even paid, is a HUGE and generous contribution.

  37. AnonManager*

    100% to this as a fellow currently pregnant person. It is HARD. I can’t believe that some people can’t see the immense value paid surrogates provide to people who can’t have children and don’t have someone in their inner circle willing/able to do it. I’ve had several friends who have used a paid surrogate to grow their families and even if the arrangement benefits both there’s no denying that it’s a pretty big sacrifice to share your very self for 9 months and undergo all the temporary and permanent changes to your body to help someone else have a kid. Respect.

  38. Elizabeth*

    As someone who is currently 8 months pregnant, wow. Good for you for giving the gift of carrying someone’s else’s child for them! That is a huge gift (even if you are paid, as you should be!)

  39. Strong Independent Acid Snake*

    Pregnant with number 2 here- surrogates should absolutely be paid. There was a news article a few months ago that said pregnant people are essentially endurance athletes because even the most boring, uncomplicated pregnancy is going to have a dramatic impact on your body.

    OP- to be pregnant with multiples is even more demanding- it is ridiculous to expect anyone to be willing to take on that responsibility for other peoples children for free. I am glad you got paid a fair price for your surrogacy and am happy to hear you, the babies and all the families are doing well.

    1. Candi*

      I hope you have a boring pregnancy, a healthy baby, and #1 doesn’t run you ragged. (I had two 22 months apart.)

  40. Lizy*

    Oh for the love of cheap ass rolls…

    Kudos to you for being a surrogate. The idea that ANYONE has an opinion about anyone else’s reproductive choices and options is redonkulous.

  41. Ash*

    Surrogacy is just like sex work: your body, your choice, and you can get paid for using your body for this purpose if you wish.

    1. Rocky*

      Hmm, I can say confidently that pregnancy is a LOT harder on one’s body than sex work is. In my country only altruistic surrogacy is allowed (I think the ‘reasonable costs’ compensation tops out at $30k), but yes I totally think people should get paid whatever the market can stand for carrying a child. Let alone multiples! I’ve had a multiple pregnancy and a single one and the difference is vast.

      1. Ash*

        First, I wasn’t saying that one was easier or harder than the other. I was saying that it comes down to bodily autonomy and one’s right to earn a wage off of the products of their labor. Second, unless you have yourself been a sex worker as well as a pregnant person, I wouldn’t state with any confidence how much harder on one’s body one is than the other.

  42. anonymous73*

    People are judgmental about almost anything these days, especially when they have little to no knowledge on the subject. I’m not one who shares personal info with people at work unless I’m very close to them, but a pregnancy is definitely not something you can hide. And then you have everyone up in you business. I’m glad things worked out – sorry you had a clueless boss who thought it was appropriate to bother you while you were in the hospital because regardless of the situation, that’s never okay.

  43. Erin*

    How is a pregnancy emergency less of a pregnancy emergency if the pregnant person is not the intended parent?! Just how?!

    And all of the nosy/judgy comments from clients? What the h-e-double-hockey-sticks?!

    While I feel like it would be impossible to avoid sharing that you are doing a surrogacy for other parents, and it’s a really cool & unique thing to know about a co-worker, the fact that it opened you up to some really crappy treatment from management & clients is really awful. I’m sorry you were treated so poorly.

Comments are closed.