To the Woman Who Offered Me Her Womb

Everything remembers something. The rock, its fiery bed,
cooling and fissuring into cracked pieces, the rub
of watery fingers along its edge.

The cloud remembers being elephant, camel, giraffe,
remembers being a veil over the face of the sun,
gathering itself together for the fall.

The turtle remembers the sea, sliding over and under
its belly, remembers legs like wings, escaping down
the sand under the beaks of savage birds.

The tree remembers the story of each ring, the years
of drought, the floods, the way things came
walking slowly towards it long ago.

And the skin remembers its scars, and the bone aches
where it was broken. The feet remember the dance,
and the arms remember lifting up the child.

The heart remembers everything it loved and gave away,
everything it lost and found again, and everyone
it loved, the heart cannot forget.

“What the Heart Cannot Forget” by Joyce Sutphen

I remember you: meek, friendly, heart dripping stars. We were friends, but not close friends. We were the kind that said “hey” in the halls and wrote “you’re a sweetheart” and “call me this summer” in that year’s yearbook, but never called.

I hadn’t heard from you in over 20 years when we became friends on social media. And we were “friends” in the way it often dictates: the one where you don’t necessarily talk or share, but have access to another’s life, just in case you really want it.

I’d thought of you off and on, especially when I’d see photos or updates roll past my feed, and then one day you reached out.

I remembered thinking it was likely a message sprinkled with nostalgia and perhaps a bit of regret–the kind that comes from losing touch–but what I found was this:

I am not sure where you are in life but I just wanted to reach out to you with an offer. I have thought a lot about this in the past 2 1/2 years since my family has been complete. I am looking into the process of being a surrogate/ gestational carrier for someone. I have done research on several agencies but I am somewhat reluctant to go through an agency because often times they charge the hopeful family a large amount of money for the service. I am not interested in profiting at all from this, I only want to help out. God has blessed me with smooth, uncomplicated pregnancies and I have never suffered a loss. I carried twins until 36 weeks, 4 days and they had no NICU time. I would be willing to carry multiples again. I have followed your blog and I cannot seem to get you or your struggle and pain out of my head. Having a family was a number one priority for me and I cannot imagine what you have gone through. I am very sorry if this offer is coming at a bad time and I completely understand if you are not interested but I just thought I would offer since I will most likely continue to search for a hopeful family in need of help if you are not interested. I feel like we have one chance in this life to make a difference and help others and this is one way I could help someone.
God Bless.

There was nothing to do but cry.

There have been moments when, in blistering heat, I haven’t been offered a sip of water. There have been moments when, in complete and utter despair, an embrace has been withheld. There have been moments when those I love have asked that I never consider them a bodily ally against infertility and pregnancy loss. That I never consider them surrogates of body or spirit.

And then there’s you, offering nearly a complete stranger your womb. And what is it you ask in return??

Nothing.

My heart still hangs on the moon of that evening, grateful that people like you exist…grateful to know people like you exist. And tiny words like Thank you? They’re insufficient.

I know that.

So what do you say to a woman who offered to place your heart in hers?

What can you say?

What can I say?

I can tell you that I will be honoring you, and all those with like hearts, this Mother’s Day and everyday.

It’s women like you–whether through surrogacy or adoption–who give the gift of motherhood to those who would otherwise remain childless.

It’s women like you who give us hope.

It’s women like you who remind us that a child doesn’t have to pass through us to be born of us.

It’s women like you who embody Grace and prove that we are each other’s keepers.

It’s women like you who allow us a chance to cloak ourselves in midnight and miracles and step onto the magically tragic, heartrendingly surreal, life-altering ride that is parenthood.

It’s women like you.

  One thought on “To the Woman Who Offered Me Her Womb

  1. May 9, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    Such a beautiful and heartfelt post, Dani. Hugs and blessings to you. ❤

    • May 11, 2015 at 7:54 pm

      Thank you, Georgette. It means so much that you stopped by.

  2. May 9, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    It is puzzling how many of us grace total strangers with overflowing generosity but are without compassion, impatient and unforgiving with those closest to us. I’m guilty of that sometimes. There must be something about that layer of separation that makes it easier to give to those we barely know, not that offering your womb to someone is at all easy. In fact, I’m in awe of her. I can’t think of a more precious gift to offer someone. It’s the gift of helping someone imagine a different outcome and regardless of what you choose to do with the offer, it fills me with joy to know you have been given this glimpse into different possibilities. Maybe it shouldn’t be called Mother’s Day but Mother Energy Day so that we can celebrate the creative life energy that resides in all women. Much love to you! xxoo

    • May 9, 2015 at 5:58 pm

      Karen, you nailed it soooo well for me right now.

      Thanks for your clear mind midst your caring heart.

      • May 10, 2015 at 1:13 pm

        Your comment encapusulates all I feel – from loving strangers sometimes more than those we know to calling Mother’s Day something else. My heart and thoughts always go to Dani, and now to women who so generously offer their bodies as vessels for life.

        • May 11, 2015 at 8:01 pm

          Just love this, Sammy.

      • May 11, 2015 at 8:00 pm

    • May 11, 2015 at 7:59 pm

      “Maybe it shouldn’t be called Mother’s Day but Mother Energy Day so that we can celebrate the creative life energy that resides in all women.”

      Oh, I just love this idea, Karen. Inclusion rather than exclusion is at its heart, and that means everything to those of us who reside on the hazy borderland of motherhood.

      Much love to you ❤

  3. May 9, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    What a stunning gift to have even been offered.

    Bless you, my friend, and happy mother’s day ❤

    • May 11, 2015 at 8:03 pm

      I know, Lizzi. I mean there are those who won’t even share dessert and then there’s her like…”really, borrow my womb…it’s no biggie.”

      In. complete. awe.

      • May 12, 2015 at 12:59 am

        Yeah.
        I had a friend who offered. But *I’m* not infertile *screams*
        *sigh* all moot now anyway.

        • May 18, 2015 at 10:43 am

          Oh, Lizzi, I had no idea. Was it recent?

          If you don’t mind my asking, what was your heart’s response??

          • May 18, 2015 at 10:45 am

            Intense and overwhelming anger. I WANT TO BE PREGNANT. And I CAN BE.

            And now, who knows…maybe one day I will be.

          • May 18, 2015 at 10:50 am

            I will be hoping for that, Lizzi. I will.

          • May 18, 2015 at 3:08 pm

            As will I, Lizzi… Alas, we have much in common with anger regarding this matter.

          • May 18, 2015 at 3:36 pm

            Thanks. We shall see what the future brings! Could be anything.

          • May 18, 2015 at 6:34 pm

            It certainly could ❤

  4. May 9, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    That is so absolutely sweet that she offered. ❤ There are still good people in the world. Happy Mother's Day! ❤

    • May 11, 2015 at 8:05 pm

      Amen to that ❤

  5. TheMomCafe.com
    May 9, 2015 at 8:23 pm

    Oh my heart… wow. I am in awe of how God surely finds His Angels to work His miraculous ways here on earth, to bless his precious children who ache and long for His provision. How amazing it is, when we are privileged to receive such incredible gifts! Will you take it? That is what I wonder…

    It seems perfectly on purpose, yes? Oh Dani! Perhaps this IS the answer to prayer! Your words always claw at my heart, ripping it open to the flood of emotions that you feel… and I soak in.

    The gift is offered…

    Oh, friend! It’s yours to embrace…

    • May 11, 2015 at 8:17 pm

      Oh, Chris, the jury is still out on this. If the transfer is successful, she’ll serve as surrogate for another couple shortly. Perhaps, if the offer is still on the table afterward, we’ll consider it again. I would Never want someone to miss out on an opportunity to add another note to the song of their family because of our indecision. Never.

      So for now, we are where we are.

      I’ll keep you posted ❤

  6. May 9, 2015 at 9:14 pm

    That’s beautiful. What can you say? I am in awe. Thank you for sharing.

    • May 11, 2015 at 8:18 pm

      I am, as well, LaKeisha.

  7. Sherry Beren
    May 9, 2015 at 9:56 pm

    There are no words!

    • May 11, 2015 at 8:20 pm

      I know, Sherry.
      I know ❤

  8. May 9, 2015 at 10:18 pm

    You and this beautiful woman are both a testament to the true human spirit. Love to you both.

    • May 11, 2015 at 8:21 pm

      I’m not too sure about me.
      But her??
      Definitely.

  9. May 9, 2015 at 10:24 pm

    Wow. I don’t know where to find the words. Just wow.

    • May 11, 2015 at 8:25 pm

      Agreed. My heart is still in disbelief.

  10. Danielle de Luca
    May 10, 2015 at 3:13 am

    It’s amazing!!!!!

    • May 11, 2015 at 8:27 pm

      Eu sei, Dani, mas tem muito envolvido.
      Quem sabe um dia?? ❤

  11. StephanieJane
    May 10, 2015 at 11:41 am

    So, so heartswelling! ❤ I would imagine that this day has been a difficult one for you every year in the recent past. I thought of you this morning, actually, before I even saw that you had posted. While I haven't gone through the unimaginable heartache that you have experienced, I do find myself disappointed today, and feeling a bit hollow and empty, because all of our "trying" has been unsuccessful so far. But, I thought of you and how much good can come from pain (because your voice, sharing your pain, does so much good). My thoughts of you inspired me to keep my chin up. Whatever transpires from this beautiful offer that you received, it makes my heart happy that someone has shown such love to you, especially today. ❤

    • May 11, 2015 at 8:36 pm

      Thank you, Stephanie Jane. It really is beautiful to see the strands of our humanity sewn from one heart to the next.

      And I’m terribly sorry to hear of your sadness and disappointment over TTC. Whether the positive pregnancy test doesn’t come or does and ends in loss, there is grief. I will be thinking of you both and hoping that you’ll be blessed with parenthood soon.

      With heart,
      Dani

  12. May 10, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    Dani, – this is one of the most beautiful writings and audios I have encountered. Deepest sadness, most generous offering and awareness of all we can do for others if only we want to make it so.

    • May 11, 2015 at 8:40 pm

      I’m thrilled you took the time to listen to the audio, Sammy. This was my first attempt at it, so I was quite nervous it wouldn’t turn out well.

      Blessings to you 🙂

      • May 11, 2015 at 9:12 pm

        Dani, this was so special to hear your voice. I wouldn’t have missed it for anything. And it won’t be the only time I play it!

        • May 18, 2015 at 10:46 am

          Love to you, Sammy dear.

  13. May 10, 2015 at 6:20 pm

    Dani, your transparency and reality with words are a gift that pulls us out of our little cubbies of comfort to touch your pain and your heart, to make us more aware of the tidal waves around us.

    What a gift.

    I, too, thought of you this morning and prayed that somehow your heart would be lifted, not swallowed by the pain of it. I never imagined how that lifting would be. I thank God for that cup of cool water for your soul.

    It was a blessing to hear it with your voice. Thank you, precious one.

    • May 11, 2015 at 8:46 pm

      Thank you for your thoughts and prayers, Jane. I never expected such an offer or how I’d feel afterward. Thankfully, there was markedly less sadness this Mother’s Day and I’m quite sure that knowing such hearts exist was a great part of it.

      Thank you for sharing this space with me.
      And thank you again for your friendship…in all moments.

      With heart,
      Dani

  14. May 11, 2015 at 4:43 pm

    That is one of my absolute favorite poems and to hear you reading it – what an amazing experience. The beauty of this offer is astounding and your open, loving response is even better. I’m standing here on our fault line, taking your words into my heart and saying thank you. xo

    • May 11, 2015 at 9:03 pm

      And you listened to the audio. Yay!! 🙂

  15. May 11, 2015 at 8:54 pm

    It is a beauty, isn’t it, Lisa?!?!? I’ve been waiting to see how I could use it and then THIS happened and it felt like the perfect inhale to fuel the exhale of the post’s content.

    Sometimes things DO come together, just the way they should.

    From our ❤ fault line,
    Dani

  16. May 12, 2015 at 5:07 am

    This brought tears to my eyes. Bless that woman.

    • May 18, 2015 at 10:23 am

      Oh, Catherine, I know. May she be blessed in every way.

  17. hya21
    May 12, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    As usual a beautiful post written beautifully. I enjoy the thoughts of the commenters too.

    • May 18, 2015 at 10:33 am

      Thank you so much for reading, Nadine. It was a blessing to write about such an offer.

      With heart,
      Dani

  18. May 14, 2015 at 11:50 am

    Wow. There are no words. She is an angel on earth, sent to you for a reason. Even if you don’t accept, she still served a purpose in allowing you to feel and believe in the beautiful power of the human spirit. Lastly, your sweet voice is just as I imagined it. 😉 Sending you love and light, Dani.

  19. May 18, 2015 at 10:40 am

    Just love this, Jackie:

    “Even if you don’t accept, she still served a purpose in allowing you to feel and believe in the beautiful power of the human spirit.”

    Thank you for realizing that there are a multitude of layers to such an offer. And that there is a beautiful gift in the complex blessing of it.

    Thank you ❤

    P.S. I'm so glad you listened to the audio 🙂

  20. May 19, 2015 at 11:39 pm

    The enormity of this offer stuns me, warms me, and reminds me that the world really is full of good hearts. What a complicated, poignant moment you’ve shared. Warm hugs to you and to your friend.

    • May 27, 2015 at 12:26 pm

      Doesn’t it, Annie?!?!? I’m still reeling from it. Still.

      Just BEYOND thankful that such hearts are beating throughout the world.

      What hope.
      For all of us.

      With heart,
      Dani

  21. June 9, 2015 at 8:21 pm

    Touching post in so many ways. Your words are just amazing.

  22. June 17, 2015 at 7:11 am

    Hauntingly and redemptively beautiful, Dani. Huge hugs and crocodile tears for you. May your heart always grow as a mother’s…which you are. May your spirit be overwhelmed with beauty and wholeness, and may you be engulfed with many many kindnesses. Tears, hugs, and love, Gracie

  23. June 17, 2015 at 7:12 am

    Ps. The audio needs to go viral. It just does. ❤

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