I want to be pregnant… but I don't want to be a parent #Identity#child-free#pregnancy#sperm donor#surrogacy January 25 | Guest post by Cassie Robertson By: Sean McGrath – CC BY 2.0 Related Post The question that is driving me crazy: "Where is the baby?" I recently got married and there is one question that is driving me crazy: "Where is the baby?" How do you answer this without getting... Read more I'm slightly obsessed with pregnancy — I even scared friends and family by reading What to Expect When You're Expecting when I was 14. I was 20 when my biological clock's alarm started ringing, and no one was surprised when I spent my birthday gift card on The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth. I have a birth plan in place, know that I want to use a birthing center instead of a hospital, and I drink my morning coffee while watching Birth Day. This offbeat reader wants to be pregnant like WHOA. Here's the tricky part: I do NOT want kids. I look at pregnant women with envy; I look at mothers with pity. Don't ask me how I managed to wired this way. I promise, I'm odd in other ways too. So how does a proudly Child-Free woman cope with the desire to get pregnant? It took me a while to find the answer: surrogacy. It's perfect. I get to have my cake and give it away as soon as it cries. But wouldn't you know it, surrogacy isn't as easy as you might think. I was 20 when I first looked into surrogacy. I joined the websites, learned the lingo, and quickly learned that I was ineligible to join any surrogacy agency. First, I am seriously overweight and second, I've never had a child. I do understand why those things are a problem. Being overweight can cause some serious pregnancy complications and, as an untried surrogate, who knows if I even can get pregnant? Plus, everyone swears that I'll change my mind about wanting kids when I feel the baby kick. I smile, shrug, and say "Maybe." (I know other Child-free women can relate to that!) So now, at 23, I've decide to tackle the first of the reasons why I can't be a surrogate. I've changed the way I eat and the way I work out. I have a lot to go still, but my desire to get pregnant is stronger than my desire for ice cream. It's pretty rough knowing that. I wonder, are there other women like me out there? Women who want to change their bodies to put their bodies through hell and then give away the prize? Most people who know about my desire to be a surrogate either think I'm crazy, I'll change my mind as I age, or they just plain don't understand. Trying to explain a biological, emotional decision is nearly impossible. As every reader on this site knows, pregnancy is an incredibly emotional process. I promise you, it is no different for me. I don't want kids, so I take the pill, but then I hope that an accident will occur and I'll get pregnant. I don't WANT to deal with an accidental pregnancy and be forced to choose between adoption and raising a child, but it would take care of that "never had a child" problem, wouldn't it? The less logical side of me is very tempted by that idea. I take pregnancy tests with a mix of thoughts ranging from "This is a waste of money. You're NOT pregnant" to "God, what if it's positive?" to "Please be positive." I don't tell people about these feelings much because I already know that they don't really get it. Can I blame them? Even on this offbeat site I've never read about a wannabe surrogate mother. People will still think I'm crazy when they hear my story, but what does that matter? A friend of mine wants children but can't have them. She's asked me to be her surrogate when we're both ready. She's going to be an amazing mother and isn't that what surrogacy is all about? If I get to fulfill a dream of mine in the process, then that's just a great bonus. Join our community! Reporter Name * Reporter Email * Original text Enter the original text here. Edited text* Enter your suggested copyedit here. Notes You can add a note for the editor here. * Required information. Fix Typo Cassie Robertson When she isn't obsessing over pregnancy, Cassie enjoys working on her yet-to-be published Shakespeare books. She lives with a stubborn cat and more books than she can count. PREVIOUS Dig piñatas? Learn to make a Uteriñata! NEXT How we decorated the nursery without breaking the bank Show/Hide comments [ 114 ] I'm also really interested in pregnancy and birth (and women's health issues in general), and read on and around the topic voraciously, but I hide it, because I think people will think it's odd that a young childless woman with no plans for a baby in the next five years is interested in the pros and cons of an epidural and the physiology of the pelvic floor. I'm considering doing a doula training course so I can learn more. Maybe that would be something you could do too: up-close experience of pregnancy and birth without the baby or the surrogacy issues. Reply I think I'm very much in the same boat as you, but for different reasons. I have never thought of myself as motherly. Never wanted any part of it. I'm 26 now, and have always known that I didn't want children of my own. When I was 19 I had a surprise pregnancy. I was careful, but life happens. Long story short, I chose adoption. I knew I couldn't do it and wanted the best for my little person. Pregnancy was annoying, but not hard. It was very interesting phisiologically. I thought it was really neat how the body moves around and readjusts to accomodate the new addition. Not gonna lie, it really grossed me out and disturbed me on some levels, but eventually I got used to it. I had poking games where she would kick at my belly and I'd poke where her foot was, and so on. As I wasn't planning on raising this child, I was granted a very cool viewpoint on all the information thrown at me. I kept up to date week-by-week on all the pregnancy websites, and since none of the life-planning applied to me, I really zoned in on all of the physical things. To this day I feel my stomach anytime I'm exceptionally worried, because I remember what it was like. I see pregnant women and instantly sympathize, because I was there. Strangely enough I wound up living with my best friend and her two young children for four years after this. I love them as an unrelated aunt, and occasionally have bouts of what we always called "the baby rabies" where I think I might want to do that again and have a child. Then I remember the times the two year old threw yoghurt on my sleeping face, or the five year old refusing to come downstairs because we laughed at a joke she made. Not even going to get into potty training and the first year of the pterodactyl stage of infants. And I'm good. The ongoing relationship with the parents of my biological child is wonderful. I met her this year and it was so surreal. Sure, my heart went out to her, but she was so well-adjusted and cared for that I was proud of her family. Only good things. I actually just submitted an application to a local surrogacy agency today. I feel like it's a waste for me to not have any children due to my own predelection while couples can't conceive but want that family so much. It really is a great feeling. That said, pregnancy is likely the most metal and most interesting health-related phenomena I have ever come across. The entire body adjusts to this. My hips actually dislocated for a while (they eventually settled) during my third trimester. How does the body just do that? It's fascinating. I definitely say becoming a doula would be the most rewarding thing without being pregnant yourself. And I can say that even if we don't think we need help, we do need someone who is willing to be screamed at and also be able to check the child for all of its fingers and toes in the same breath. Reply Wow, I'm really glad that this article was written. Not necessarily because I can relate (I don't enjoy being pregnant, but I want a child so I'm dealing, lol), but more because I am astounded by the selflessness of surrogacy. I really have to commend anyone who is willing to go this route and become a surrogate. To give up your body for 9 months, to deal with the stretch marks and the pain of labour, etc, all for another person is, in my mind, an incredible sacrifice. So, I would just like to thank Offbeat Mama and Cassie for sharing this story, because I really believe that the surrogates side of the story is rarely told. 28 agree Reply When my clock started ticking- I looked into surrogacy and started learning everything I could about pregnancy/birth even though I had no plans to be a mother at that time- and much like you was told I was not a good candidate for surrogacy because I had never been pregnant. I have since found the most amazing husband- who wants a family as much as I do. (It's a good thing he doesn't have a uterus!) I still haven't lost the desire to adopt and to be a surrogate. Most people think I am 'wired funny' for having a desire to do all three- that they would somehow contradict each other- but I don't think they do. My husband is onboard for adoption and surrogacy too. I don't think of it as a 'sacrifice' but as a gift. I wish you the best of luck and hope you are able to accomplish your dreams. You aren't alone at all! I've lost 60lbs- you can do it! 13 agree Reply I feel the same way as Cassie. I do have a daughter but my fiance and I definitely don't want anymore kids, in fact he's even been fixed. But part of me really wants to be pregnant again. I've looked into surrogacy and agencies wont accept me because I live in Indiana, and it's not legal here. Through Indiana parents who use surrogacy have to adopt their own child. I would love to be able to give someone the greatest joy of their life, and I hope the laws change soon. 4 agree Reply I am currently a surrogate (through an agency) and I live in Indiana. Not sure who told you it's illegal here but it's not! The laws are simply very ambiguous, therefore not necessarily favorable for surrogacy and this causes many agencies to turn away people from IN. There are agencies that will take you though. It's also not true that a couple has to adopt their own baby. My IPs will go on the birth certificate from the moment the baby is born. Feel free to contact me if you want to chat more. 2 agree Reply Alica, I'd love it if you wanted to share your surrogacy story with us! I'd love to get more surrogacy content on Offbeat Mama… 1 agrees Reply After my surrobaby is born I would love to write something for OM to show the positive side of a successful surrogacy! I'm not currently allowed to talk about any details publicly per my contract but after the birth I will be an open book. 🙂 6 agree Reply Awesome! I'm looking forward to it. We've had very specific requests from readers for offbeat surrogate stories! 2 agree Have you seen the blog Baking Someone Else's Baby? It's written by a gestational surrogate, and she's about halfway through the pregnancy. It's a really interesting process! Agreed on seeing more surrogacy stories; you only ever seem to hear negative things about how surrogacy is weird, and never about how amazing it can be. 4 agree Reply Hi! I'm the author of Baking Someone Else's Baby! Thanks for the referral (even though I don't even have ads on my surroblog. I'm just happy to get the word out)! To the Powers That Be here at Offbeat Mama, I'd be happy to write something about surrogacy if you're interested. 🙂 It's such an amazing process, and as has been said here, it's not nearly well-known enough and there's a ton of stigma surrounding it. There are so many amazing things to say, I'd love to say them to a wider audience than my blog gets. 5 agree Lets plan something= we have been trying for years and cant get pregnant – several miscarriages. I would love for your to have our child! 1 agrees Reply Hi are you still looking to be a surrogate? Reply become a dula or a pregnancy counselor or something… that might help a little. i do not enjoy being pregnant… it is hell on your body… you gain lots of weight, you become moody, you have insane mood swings where one minute you are crying, the next minute you are happy… you can't sleep, you have to pee every five minutes, you can't fit into regular clothes forever after words and during, labor hurts like mad, you are uncomfortable the whole nine months, you get big stretch marks… and to top it off you can't wait for it to be over… for me, my joints hurt, i get restless leg syndrome super bad, i get carpal tunnel, heart burn the whole nine months, not to mention the awful morning sickness… i am super surprised that you would want that and crave that!! no part of it is fun! and labor HURTS. FOR HOURS. for me, my favorite part is the baby afterword. i put up with the pregnancy so i can kiss a newborn's head. so i can cuddle with a baby while they nurse from my breast. but if that is what you want, more power to you… i hope you become a surrogate for someone some day! you will be giving someone a great gift. 4 agree Reply On the flip side, not every woman experiences the same physical ailments of pregnancy. While I wouldnt say that I love being pregnant, I did enjoy most of it. I never felt more attractive & confident than I did when I was pregnant. The labor experience, as well, runs the gamut. While parts of my labor were incredibly uncomfortable and/or painful, it was also mercifully short. 20 agree Reply There are many different pregnancy stories. I was sick the whole 9 months, but my very good friend only had cravings! She really wants to be a surrogate in the future. Even though I had a hard pregnancy, I think that I felt so much more connected to the world, I felt emotions so deeply. So that was really beautiful : ) I can understand wanting to be apart of the cycle of life ! 5 agree Reply Every pregnancy is different too. 6 agree Reply I agree. I'm almost 22 weeks pregnant and there are things about pregnancy that i loathe but so many more things that i love! I haven't had morning sickness but i've had extreme fatigue, achy bones and joints, an excessive need to pee, and something called costochondritis in my ribs which is very painful… and may actually be my gallbladder, (i go for an ultrasound for my gallbladder in four days). BUT i do feel so much more confident in how my body looks, which i find strange because i've always been so self conscious about my weight, its an amazing feeling knowing that there is a tiny little person growing in there, and i absolutely LOVE feeling him kick and move around! My fiance and i weren't trying to conceive, and i wasn't even sure that i wanted to have children, but now we both feel like this is the best thing to ever happen to us. All the negatives that come along with being pregnant definitely make it worth it! 1 agrees Reply I'm sorry you had such a negative pregnancy experience. I loved being pregnant, but don't really want any more babies until the current bean is old enough to weight in on the sibling issue. I would almost love being a surrogate, except I did not have a successful labor, and I'm sure that would put off most agencies. 5 agree Reply I think her feelings are similar to that of someone who is a mother, wants to be a surrogate and just flat out doesn't want MORE kids. She enjoys the way her life is now, but wants to help someone have a child. I can understand why the rules are the way they are, she may have a terrible pregnancy and regret her choice, or even worse something could go wrong. But hopefully helping her trusting friend when they're ready will be a positive experience and she can have a better idea of if she'd like to do it again. 4 agree Reply I can relate, for the most part. I'm very much eligible to be a surrogate, but I'm not totally sure if it's the right thing for me. I have one child and a second on the way, but I'm really not interested in having more than two. I do kind of enjoy being pregnant though, and I would like to do it again. It's something I generally don't talk about. Simply put, most people don't understand in the least. 1 agrees Reply I absolutely relate to this post. I am fascinated by pregnancy and think it is something I would like to experience, but I have very little interest in being a parent. Since I've been married for over two years, many people misinterpret my interest in babies and pregnancy as an interest in having children. That's sort of annoying. And you're right- this is not a feeling people talk about much. But I think you'll find that you're not alone. I'm sure some child-free women have no interest in pregnancy, but not all of us! 18 agree Reply Wow… I enjoyed reading this, I never really thought about what a surrogate might be thinking or why someone would want to do it. I do appreciate this website for so many different views on motherhood. I have to admit (I'm 8 months pregnant now) that I really really enjoy being pregnant. Sure, there are a few pain in the butt moments, but I have had it easy. I'm a lot more worried about what happens when the baby comes out! Right now it's easy, baby can stay in for now. So I guess I kind of understand the feeling, but I never would have known that prior to getting pregnant. Good luck finding your path to fulfillment! 5 agree Reply While I commend the author for wanting to do something so selfless, I can't say that I necessarily support her desire to be a surrogate before having any children of her own. Without knowing how your body would react to pregnancy, you'd be very hard-pressed to find IPs who would be willing to take a chance with you, and the ones who were willing would likely be very desperate (which rarely ends well). There are so many factors to take into consideration, like whether you'd have complications, how you'd handle the hormones, if you can even stay pregnant. You might HATE being pregnant, and that's not healthy either. I personally feel it is SO important to have at least one pregnancy under your belt as sort of a track record. Here is why: IPs have typically gone through years and huge expenses before *starting* surrogacy. They are probably tapped out and are stretching things to even try through surrogacy. That means they have to go with the absolute most likely best-chance scenario for obtaining pregnancy, maintaining a healthy pregnancy, safe birth for surro and baby, financially predictable as much as possible, stable and smooth journey as possible. Someone who has never been pregnant does NOT meet those criteria. If you get lucky and things go off without a hitch, then you have made someone's life. But if anything goes wrong as a result of not knowing how you will handle being pregnant, it could be potentially devastating. I don't feel it's responsible to take that gamble with someone else's child just because you are obsessed with pregnancy. I'm not saying this to be mean or harsh, I'm just trying to put forth the very real aspects that you need to consider. I wish you the best of luck if you still desire to move forward with surrogacy. As a surrogate myself, I can say it has been the most rewarding experience of my life. 32 agree Reply This is 100% exactly what I was going to say. I would recommend going to private therapy before you consider looking into surrogacy any further. There may be a reason you are obsessed with becoming pregnant that has nothing to do with pregnancy. The fact that you would consider getting pregnant and giving it away for adoption just to be eligible to become a surrogate raises a flag with me. (I say this as a Marriage, Youth, and Family counselor.) 17 agree Reply I have to sya I disagree with you, I have known the writer for years and as finishing my psychology degree as of last year, I can say that I do not see "red flags", if you knew her you would understand. Judgement is somethingno one can pass on others 1 agrees Reply Thank you for your perspectives. As I said, I do understand the reasons why agencies don't take untried surrogates. It IS a hard thing, emotionally and physically, and the people who have undergone pregnancy are the ones best equipped to decide if they can or want to do it again. And while I think counseling is always a good thing, if I was actually willing to get pregnant just to become a surrogate, I would. Just because an idea occurs to me doesn't mean I think it's a good one. Reply You're welcome. You sound like you have a good head on your shoulders and might be a good candidate for surrogacy in the future after you've been through a pregnancy. I also have to say that I think it's wonderful that you've taken steps to become healthier. I hear of so many women who are angry with agencies over the BMI restriction and don't feel their weight should be a factor. Glad to see that you know better! 🙂 2 agree Reply I totally agree. Sounds like she is wanting to fill a void in her life with pregnancy and this may not be the right/healthiest choice. Just my opinion. 5 agree Reply What does IP stand for? (I'm guessing it's not Internet protocol…) 2 agree Reply I believe it's intended parents. I could be wrong about that. 1 agrees Reply Intended parent(s). Reply What an amazing article. All I can say is that I think you're brave, I don't think you're the only one, and I wish you luck. 5 agree Reply I say hooray! to anyone who fully knows and understands their child having and rearing desires. Most don't, which can result in a lot of heartache. You might change your mind one day and it might have nothing to do with being a surrogate. You seem to know yourself well enough to know if you really do. 2 agree Reply Thanks for sharing the perspective; it's not one I've considered before! When I was pregnant with my son, I was grumpy and sore, but in general it wasn't really that hard for me, short of a little sciatica. (And after 20 lbs of weight gain I ended the pregnancy at 290.) Now that my son is almost 2, I really want another baby — and part of that is that I miss the excitement of pregnancy. It's like Christmas every day for nine months! If Christmas made you pee, assaulted you with violent nausea, and kicked you in the cervix occasionally. It's lovely that someday you'll be able to help your friend become a mother; if nothing else, having that pregnancy under your belt can lead to further surrogacy opportunities. Good luck! 😀 It's a lovely, selfless thing that you're preparing to undergo. 2 agree Reply LOVED THIS COMMENT!!! "It's like Christmas every day for nine months! If Christmas made you pee, assaulted you with violent nausea, and kicked you in the cervix occasionally." That is exactly how I feel…well, my kicks are in the ribs, but I know what you mean. Christmas every day! 4 agree Reply Wow, now that's a different perspective. If it weren't for two wonderful women going through the 9 months of carrying a child, I wouldn't be a mommy today! My heart goes out to you! I am wishing for your dreams to come true and that you will bless a family unable to have children become parents. 3 agree Reply I understand how you feel. I was always fascinated by pregnancy and was sure I wanted to be pregnant, even though I wasn't sure how I felt about actually having kids. I considered surrogacy for a gay friend of mine as an option down the road. It wasn't until I was 26 or so that I realized I did want a baby of my own after all. I just hadn't been with guys I could actually imagine having a child with, and once I was with my fiance, all of a sudden, one day my biological clock just switched on and it screamed HAVE HIS BABY!!! He has a daughter and wasn't sure if he wanted another kid, so I trained as a doula to legitimize all my research and reading without freaking him out too much (I had hoped). I would really recommend you take the doula workshops available, I think you would really enjoy them, you learn so much about pregnancy and childbirth. It was fascinating! 4 agree Reply Exactly! I met the man who is absolutely my soulmate in September, and we got married in October. If someone had asked me in August if I wanted kids, I would have laughed at them. I'd been vehemently opposed to the idea for as long as I can remember…but within days of meeting him, that alarm clock went off and I'm afflicted with the constant ache of knowing a tiny little part of our life is missing. The timing is not perfect for us right now, but I really hope soon we'll be able to work on completing that missing piece! 1 agrees Reply I'm also really facinated by pregnancy. But I do want to be a parent too. I hope so much that I will be able to experience pregnancy for myself one day. Just the idea of carrying and growing another human being inside me seems incredible. There's nothing else in the world like it. But if for any reason I am unable to get pregnant, I hope there are other women out there like you who are generous enough to be surrogates. 3 agree Reply YES YES YES!! Thank YOU, Cassie for writing this and OBM for posting it! Hell yes! This is me! I'm not sure i want to be a surrogate necessarily and haven't really looked much into it but i've always been SO into pregnancy and pregnant women but so NOT into the idea of a lifetime commitment following the amazing experiment. I mean no offense at all in calling pregnancy an experiment, in fact that's my fascination with it – my body can do this crazy thing, all on it's own, and produce an incredibly independent result. Insane! I'm blown away by the fact that anyone's body can do this and to top it off that i could have the privilege of seeing my body do this wild thing that not even all bodies are capable. It's such an amazing aspect of biology and humanity that i feel like i would miss out on a really stunning piece of my body's abilities to not take it up on the offer. …. But i'm not so into the product, just the process. Everyone i've told this to, like your audience, at best gives me the "whaa?" face and at worst gives me the "what the fuck?" glare. Thank you for sharing that there are other women who feel this 2 agree Reply but if the product (baby) is half of you, how could you not be into the product (your baby) that is half of you? that is kinda harsh. i can understand become a surrogate for someone else because they can't conceive… but to call a baby a product?? 3 agree Reply She was using a metaphor, not calling a baby a product. 20 agree Reply I also have been fascinated by pregnancy, although did all I could do to prevent it for years. I'm currently in my seventh month and a combination of reading this and some stark introspection has made me realize that while I really, really wanted to be pregnant (and am having a great time of it!), I never gave as much thought to what comes after. The pregnancy thing? I had this huge emotional attachment to the concept before it happened, it was this great journey that I hoped to embark upon some day. Motherhood? I want to be a mother – intellectually, that is – but I'm not as psyched emotionally. In fact, I'm terrified. I think it's the whole "responsible for creating a critically-thinking person" thing that I'm worried about. No matter whether the kid comes out of your uterus or someone else's, that's something that every parent has to deal with. 7 agree Reply it will come. just remember they come out tiny and helpless and all they want is to be held, talked to, fed, changed, a warm bed, clean clothes, and your love. you both grow at the same time… motherhood does not happen over night. you are not suddenly thrust a two year old and told, "here, be a mommy!" you will be fine. your style, ideas, ideals, and your desires will form over time and grow and change with each situation. the glorious thing is you get to figure it out as you go! and even if you make mistakes, you can always fix them the next day. 5 agree Reply Thanks! Tears and tears – go, super-hormones, go! 1 agrees Reply I can relate on a lot of levels. I've always wanted to be pregnant. I'm only 20. I was told at the age of 18 that due to severe scarring of the uterus and fallopian tubes that I would never be able to conceive. It made my clock tick A LOT louder. The more I thought about it though, I knew I wasn't ready to be a mother… but I still wanted all of those feelings that come with pregnancy. I wanted to know what it was like to have a little human growing inside of you. And then one day, my little pee stick turned positive. I cried, I worried, I cried some more…. I'm getting what I wanted (I'm currently 3 and 1/2 months pregnant) But there is that BIG voice in my head screaming at me constantly. "You don't want a kid of your own! you love your sleep! You like your freedom! You aren't ready!" But ready or not, here I go. I got my cake…. but now I have to eat it too. 7 agree Reply Good Luck!!!! : ) 3 agree Reply I went through the same thing. I was told at 18 I wouldn't have kids because of scarring and then a year later found out I was pregnant! I was scared through the whole pregnancy that I wouldn't be able to give up my freedom and focus on being a mom. My son is now two months old though, and I really shouldn't have worried at all 🙂 Having a baby is so amazing it wasn't hard to give up anything at all 🙂 It's a new,awesome adventure! 1 agrees Reply I am incredibly happy that there are other people out there like me! I have one beautiful son, and no desire to have any more of my own…but, from about 2 months after he was born, I've wanted to be a surrogate. I have a problem with being overweight as well, but am in the process of changing that…hopefully by this time next year, I will be eligible. =0) 3 agree Reply You're incredibly brave and honest and INTERESTING! Thank you for putting your story out there! 6 agree Reply This makes perfect sense to me, too. I have a 4.5 year old and have always wanted a kid, but also been HUGELY fascinated/ loved pregnancy… Unfortunately, now I have a history of primary inferitility and secondary miscarriage. So, coupling that with my desire to never take hormonal drugs again, surragacy isn't an option for me, ever. I hope it works out for you! Reply Wow, this is amazing! Although I don't want to be a surrogate, I completely understand why someone would want to do it. Being pregnant is amazing, I've never felt more beautiful [as cliche as that might sound]. Having a child is a huge responsibility and its super expensive! So being able to have the experience of giving life without having the responsibility would probably be the perfect scenero. With saying that, I love my son and I was sick most of it though and had tons of complications so I kind of feel like earn him and I don't after going through all that I could give him up. I really miss sleeping though. Reply Thank you so much for posting this and I look forward to more articles about surrogacy. I absolutely loved being pregnant, but at the moment we are debating whether we will want to have another in a few years. My sister has talked about me carrying for her if she is unable to for health reasons. There's a lot of bubbles bouncing around in my head at the moment and this article was needed! Reply Thank you all so much for all the support! People like y'all are the reason I love this site so much. 3 agree Reply Thanks for sharing your story, as others have said it is very brave of you. Re: the not having already been pregnant thing- I know egg donation and surrogacy are not the same thing, but my experience was that when I and my sister both offered to donate our eggs to a relative, my sister was not considered an option (by the IVF clinic and in line with Australian legislation) due to the fact she did not have kids of her own- I, having had my own child, was considered an appropriate candidate. This was because my sis, never having been pregnant/been a parent, did not know what it was like to be pregnant, give birth and then parent- so apparently she was more likely to forge a bond with the baby (my genes = my baby= weirdness after baby is born)as she did not have the 'parental measuring stick' so to speak. I, on the other hand, was supposedly more able to disconnect the donation of my eggs from the concept of motherhood/parenting etc. I can't say my sister would have felt motherly feelings towards bubs when he was born, she probably wouldn't, but I Can say that donating the eggs for my was so far removed from havign my own son I have zero maernal feelings towards bubs. I wonder, what are the reasons surrogates are to have had kids already- is it all about the physical stuff, ie will the pregnancy be successful, or is it due to other factors like with us? 1 agrees Reply It's mainly for the physical reasons (which are BIG BIG reasons – you have to remember that IPs are paying a LOT of money to have a surrogate and they want the best possible chance of success and lowest possible risk factor), but the psychological aspect plays a role as well. Pregnancy does affect you psychologically, after all. Someone who has never been pregnant doesn't REALLY know whether or not they'd have a hard time with the bond because they've never been there. On the other hand, since I've been pregnant before I know without a doubt that I am NOT going to bond with my surrobabe the same way I did with my own children in utero. 99% of women I talk to about surrogacy who are mothers will say "I could never do that, I could not carry the baby for 9 months and give it up." They can't separate motherhood from pregnancy. And that is why only a select few people are truly cut out to be surrogates. 3 agree Reply They can't separate motherhood from pregnancy. And that is why only a select few people are truly cut out to be surrogates. I just wanted to say that I agree, because I am that woman. Our son was unplanned, and there was brief talk about adoption — but I knew the second I tried to visualize it that I couldn't possibly. I, who gets sentimental about bits of ribbon, could not possibly carry a child to term and walk away. That said, I think the process is fascinating. 4 agree Reply Pregnancy definitely forms a strong bond! I'm very protective of and in love with this baby I'm growing that is not mine. It's not the same as it was with my own children, but there is a bond. I will add though that there are two types of surrogacy, traditional (the carrier uses her own egg) and gestational (the carrier uses the mother's or donor's egg). I am a gestational carrier and the baby is not genetically related to me at all. I too could never fathom giving up my own child. But going into it knowing from the beginning that it's not your baby changes things entirely. 2 agree Reply I am also Australian and have been attempting to donate my eggs on and off for about 10 years now (I am now in early 30s) and and knocked back soley because I have not had children. So there would be no pregnancy, I just want to give someone else to opportunity to someone else to use my eggs that I am not using. I will keep trying, but I don't see any of the IVF companies accepting my eggs anytime soon. Reply How frustrating! Its hard to give in Australia sometimes! Sometimes it seems the regulations don't make sense. When we had our compulsory counselling sessions, we all felt like we were trying to get this balancing act of not seeming too casual about it (which I was to be honest – just felt like I was donating blood, but with a more exiting outcome) or alternatively, not seeming too into the idea for fear of coming across as a possible crazy-egg-donor-mama. Oh the questions we were asked! The most insane part of the regulatory process for me was that I could not donate my eggs without my partner giving consent- I could have an abortion without his consent no problems, but could not donate my eggs without permission! I know of a few couples/single women/same sex couples that have basically worked the system and lied in order to access the ivf/egg donor system in Australia, just to get around the red tape 2 agree Reply And yet, in the same breath they complain there aren't enough donors! A friend of mine is a sperm donor and had to go through the same spouse consent you mentioned. I should add I do think counselling is important just in case there is a knock at the door in 18 years, but I do think that the laws for both egg and sperm donation are pretty mad. 1 agrees Reply I can definitely relate to the author – I am fascinated by pregnancy. Right now I am only 19 and I don't believe that I want children of my own – but I do realize that this viewpoint might change, despite the fact that my reasons for not wanting children are legitimate. As awed and inspired as I am by pregnancy and the fact that my body was engineered to bring a child into the world and sustain it during its first years, I doubt it will ever happen for me. But once my friends start having kids, I'm going to be the best friend a pregnant girl's ever had! 2 agree Reply Pregnant girls need friends, especially friends who aren't all, "Ew, gross, don't talk to me about this stuff." 6 agree Reply You're so not alone, I feel the same way! I absolutely don't want children, but I crave being pregnant (and breastfeeding). I've looked into becoming a doula, becoming an ultrasound tech, becoming a surrogate. Glad to see I'm not alone in feeling like this, either! 2 agree Reply I can totally relate, but I'm the opposite! I really want to be a mother and have children, but I am terrified at the prospect of being pregnant. It's not a control thing, but more of a "there's another human in me and that's fucking freaky. They make horror flicks about this shit." thing. But when I tell people I'd like to adopt, they do the double blink then ask if I know I'm infertile. I tell them that to my knowledge my husband and I are completely capable of conceiving and then I get the dismissal – "Well, then just get pregnant! That's how you get a baby, ya know!" Erm, yeah, except I'm totally freaked out about having little bones in my body that aren't mine! It's really confusing to everyone that adoption isn't considered a "last resort" to me. Which is really sad for people who are adopted – do they get the vibe that they're castoffs? That they only got to have a family because someone was barren, instead of being intentionally and lovingly brought into a family? I agree with the previous poster that said most people don't understand the disconnect between pregnancy and motherhood. 8 agree Reply "That they only got to have a family because someone was barren, instead of being intentionally and lovingly brought into a family?" This was something I brought up in my post about supporting infertile friends. That statements like, "Why don't you JUST adopt" are so dismissive of the process of and emotions around adoption, reducing it to a "last resort," as you call it. In my opinion, adopting should to be a powerful, intentional, and proactive choice — not a default if nothing else works. 5 agree Reply I agree completely. I remember that point being brought up, but I didn't comb through that article as closely since I'm younger and my friends are all in the "if it happens it happens" phase and infertility isn't a concern as of yet. I've actually had people dismiss my adoption plans in horribly demeaning ways, like the time I was told to "just be happy with what God gives [me[" (I bet you anything if we turned out to be pregnancy challenged that the same person would be urging us to try interventions and adopt). As a Christian, I found it horribly offensive, since it's my belief that we are all related in our humanity, not to mention the numerous adoption examples within the Bible itself. Considering how humbling and awe-inspiring the process is, I'm not sure why it's considered so taboo. And furthermore it pisses me off when people act like adoption is only available to the "poor things" (now, don't get me wrong here, infertility is a very sensitive subject and I'm in no way ridiculing or insulting the experiences of others, but I've heard way too many hushed whispers of "They're adopting – she's barren, the poor thing.") and that to choose such a lifestyle is beneath someone who is reproductively "normal." 3 agree Reply "In my opinion, adopting should to be a powerful, intentional, and proactive choice — not a default if nothing else works." I completely agree with this statement. Unfortunately, I feel like "adoption" has turned into a dirty word. Everyone seems to be talking about why they DON'T want to adopt and I'm noticing less and less stories about how amazing it is. 2 agree Reply Very much related: Stephanie is working on getting more adoption stories here on Offbeat Mama! She's got some amazing posts in the works… 3 agree Reply So glad I'm not alone on this!! I am also excited to have a big family, but the idea of being pregnant terrifies me and I have NO attraction to the idea like so many women I know do. My husband is on board with adopting all our kids, but some people just think it's weird. Reply I find that incredibly sad. There are so many children out there who desperately need homes, and people are putting their own genetics above a consideration that they could really help someone as though that is such an odd thing to do. I think something needs to change in our culture so people routinely give this more thought. Reply Ohman. I can't identify with this completely – I reallyreallyreally want kids someday. Not now, totally not now. I'm getting Implanon tomorrow to try to make sure it doesn't happen until I'm as ready as I'll get. Something I've said to people before, though, is that not being able to produce children with my DNA wouldn't be a huge deal to me. Overpopulation is a real problem, and I want to adopt kids, anyway. Unfortunately, I think I'd be pretty heartbroken if I found out that I couldn't experience pregnancy. I, too, have spent a fair bit of time watching from the sidelines, doing research and thinking about what choices I'd make. I *really* want to do that. I wish you all the luck in the world with your path, it certainly does not seem like an easy one to walk. 2 agree Reply complete segway/side-issue- Implanon made me as dry as a chip, and I didn't make the link until I got it taken out. So keep a lookout for signs of the Sahara Desert appraoching your southern hemisphere! 2 agree Reply Wow, this is really interesting. I actually know a lot of women who would love to be pregnant without the actual child rearing attached, so I understand where you are coming from. However, since you love the idea so much, have you ever considered getting your nursing or doctorate degree and perhaps working in the maternity field? That way you can work with pregnant or birthing mothers every day, so even if you can't or aren't prepared to have one of your own, you can experience birth on a different level. 2 agree Reply This is a really fascinating post, thank you for writing it. I know it sounds awful but I've always assumed that surrogates would be people who desperately need the money or a good friend/family member helping someone they love. It never occurred to me that someone would WANT to go through pregnancy just to give the baby up. I've been interested in the mechanics of pregnancy for a while and I'm AMAZED at what our bodies can do, but that wonder never translated into a feeling of wanting to be pregnant for me. Pregnancy to me is a means to an end, and although there are enjoyable moments and I like bonding with my baby in utero, being pregnant is not something I am liking. Being sick, emotional, tired, giving up your favourite foods and drinks, not sleeping and aches and pains are something I would gladly skip if it were possible. I havent experienced labour yet, but I wouldnt say I'm looking forward to that either! Just hand me the baby thanks. That being said, I am so thankful that there are people like you in the world. Without surrogates many couples would not have been blessed with their children. Its been so enlightening to get a glimpse of why surrogates do what they do. 1 agrees Reply You should check out the link that Stephanie put in the Monday Montage about the Twiblings. If you have time to read it all, it's a really wonderful story about surrogacy. After reading it, you have a whole new perspective about the women who choose to be surrogates. Plus it's just a great story! 🙂 http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/02/magazine/02babymaking-t.html?_r=3 2 agree Reply Thanks, OffbeatMama, for constantly making me look at things from a different point of view. 4 agree Reply Thank you so much for writing and sharing. I can completely relate to your story. I started my period at age 15 and by age 16 I was already craving the experience of being pregnant. I had large career ambitions though, and severe wanderlust, and so I faithfully utilized multiple forms of birth control — all the while experiencing the reactions you would have when I would take pregnancy tests and they would end up negative. When I was about 22 I talked to a gay friend of mine about carrying a child for him and his partner, but I was living overseas at the time in a rural part of East Africa and it didn't make logistical sense. Not only that, when I was honest with myself, I started wondering if I could actually give up the child at the end of term. Nevertheless, the STRONG desire to be pregnant continued. Well, I am now 35, been happily married for two years, and am 31 weeks pregnant. We got pregnant last year, but had a missed miscarriage at the end of the first trimester. I must admit, it is an amazing experience and I am enjoying it all, despite the tremendous hip pain and the anticipation of labor pain. That said, I think I built it up to be such a huge thing for so long that there is no way the experience can live up to those nearly twenty years of wondering what it would all be like. But it is amazing. I hope you get to experience it one day, if you continue to want to. 1 agrees Reply I would love to be a surrogate mother, sadly however in Australia its currently illegal to be paid as a surrogate. Reply Wow, I can not tell you enough how much this article hit home for me. I've been on the fence about having a baby for the past year. I keep having this weird urge to get pregnant even though it would be a bad idea at this point. The idea of surrogacy has crossed my mind on several occasions, but I am also overweight and have never been pregnant. Anyway, I'm still on the fence like I said. I wish you the best of luck on being a surrogate for your friend, I think doing this for her is the most beautiful gift. 1 agrees Reply I am so happy to read this! All my life I have always said I wanted to be a mom, but have been taking a good hard look at that idea. I'm realizing I want to be the badass auntie more than I want to be a mom… but I want to get pregnant! I have read so many birthing books and have birth plans and just want to give birth, not necessarily have the being a mom part that comes with it. Reply this is really interesting. i would be interested in knowing why the author wants to be pregnant. wasnt mentioned in the article. i talked to a lady who loved being a sorragate for the attention! which makes sense when people aren't asking you stupid questions they are super nice to you. i also think it's really cool to want the experience of pregnancy. its definately a journey. Reply I wish I had a better answer for why I want to get pregnant than a simple "Because." I want to feel a child growing inside of me. I want the experience of pregnancy and childbirth. I'm guessing it's a biological thing because if I looked at pregnancy from a strictly pro/con list (especially with not wanting to keep the child) I would NOT want to do it. It shouldn't sound good to me, but it does. 2 agree Reply I think it is definitely a biological/evolutionary impulse to want to feel a child growing inside, but maybe you're not feeling the whole parenthood thing because you're simply not there yet. You didn't mention in your post whether you have a partner but I think the whole family aspect is very dependent on being able to envision yourself raising children with your partner. Truth be told, I am trying really, really, really hard not to be condescending but… when I was 23, I knew that I wanted to have kids but I couldn't see myself with anyone, couldn't see myself actually raising those kids. But at the ripe old age of 31, I have a partner that I'm raising two kids with and plan to raise more. I know age is just a number but a lot of emotional development happens between your early 20s and your 30s. (I really went back and forth on whether I wanted to put myself out there and pull the "big sister" card but I really can't stop thinking about this! Damn OBM, so thought-provoking and driving me to distraction with all this stuff I never thought about before…) 1 agrees Reply Interesting point, re: age. I had my son at 22, but I didn't start going really domestic-crazy until things were pretty set-in-stone with my then-boyfriend at the tender age of 20 (it was a rough year when that went down). Before we were together I knew I wanted to get married and have kids someday, but I wasn't overly eager about it. Reply That's such a sweet way to put it! Whenever I tell people I don't want kids, I usually follow it up with, "But I'll probably change my mind when I'm older and have 20!" I expect that my mind/body will change. I just find it fascinating that this is what I think now (and have for a long time). I'm not partnered and I also realize that I'm running out of people my age to date that don't already have kids. The ones I'm interested in who are childless definitely want them. So, we'll see how it goes. Reply I will agree with all the women who found this fascinating. I can completely identify with the feelings this writer is having, even though I have a son, plan to have more children, and would never consider surrogacy. The drive to "be pregnant" is so strong in me (and in a lot of woman I think) Maybe it is biological, maybe is is societal (not to get too intro psychology on you but our society does in a lot of ways exalt pregnant women). I want to be pregnant really bad, but when I think about having a newborn, in our current circumstances, I know it is not what the rational side of my brain really wants. I understand the thrill of holding a pregnancy test and hoping and wishing, despite what your rational brain may think, that it is positive. I think the writer of this has, quite correctly decided to leave her rational brain in charge. I commend that and I hope she gets to experience pregnancy, which despite all its ugliness has a lot of the sublime in it. 2 agree Reply I know how you feel! I desperately want a child but am not financially ready, and so have seriously considered surrogacy. The only problem is that it's illegal where I live and every time I mention wanting to surrogate to anyone they tell me I am crazy! Reply Totally fascinating. I can ID a little, in that I think I'd be great at pregnancy and breastfeeding, but I'm not interested, and not sure if I will be interested, in giving up sleep, eating out, going to concerts, all of those things that take time and money. 😛 (and I'm 34, so theoretically the bio-clock should've been ticking by now?) ;p Reply I somewhat understand how you feel. I do have two children already, so we differ there, but I LOVED both my pregnancies and would do it again in a heartbeat. I loved everything about it. However… I don't want anymore kids. 1 agrees Reply As a 2X Gestational Surrogate, both times with twins, it is VERY important to have given birth before you are a surrogate. I don't know any Agency that will approve a woman to be a surrogate without at least one birth "under her belt". And this is not an unfounded issue . . . some women (like me) seem to not be phased with pregnancy, others have a very difficult time throughout the whole pregnancy . . . and it would be great to know how your body may react ahead of time. With that being said, in IVF multiples are more likely and there are several surros out there that have carried there own with no issues only to find twins a bit harder . . . . I have to say, for me, Pregnancy is awesome and Surrogacy is AMAZING so it's know wonder you're so interested .. . . it's the same feelings that cause women like me (who thought they'd only be a surro once) to do it 2 or 3 times. 2 agree Reply You aren't alone. I've got the same desire – I want to be pregnant, but do NOT want kids… thought I was a weirdo, too! 1 agrees Reply I think it's awesome that you want to be a surrogate!!! I think your desire to carry a baby comes from that great thing genetically encoded into us that says, "Survival of species." I remember learning about it in school, & have written about it in some short stories I've done, but it's really nice to see it (or read about it) in reality! & btw, it's never weird when you are willing to help people who can't have children create a family. It's wicked awesome & we should turn you into a super hero…I mean come on superman might save you from a burning building, but it's not like he would go through 40 weeks of backaches, morning sickness, & swollen ankles just to squeeze something out of his body to make you happy, & help complete your family. I say you go for it & get a cape while your at it! Good luck with you & your friend. 1 agrees Reply I turned 20 earlier this year and I've had a weird envy of pregnant women since I was 17. I want so badly to be pregnant. I want to be boat sized and waddling and just beaming. But I do not want kids. I love my sleep and my sex life and going to the clubs. If I ever decide to have kids it will be when I can happily give my whole life to them and I'm just not ready for that. That doesn't change the way pregnancy scares become three day hormonal riots. I commend my boyfriend for coping with the parts of this I let him see but there are really no women in my life I can talk to about this. It helps to know I'm not the only one who feels this way, I had wondered if there was a name for this, a disorder. But I imagine that others with this issue aren't very forthcoming, like myself. Out of fear of being judged or called depressed, empty unstable or even unfeminine. 2 agree Reply Very interesting! I absolutely did not think anyone else would feel the same as me. I desperately want to be pregnant, feel pregnant and look pregnant. I really DO NOT want to be lumbered with a kid for 16 years (or more!) I've had several scares, and whilst taking pregnancy tests, I've been wishing I was pregnant, but hoping I'm not. It doesn't even make sense to myself. But just knowing that I'm not alone, is comforting. Surrogacy is a very good idea in this situation… but I think I would be attached to my child by then, whether I wanted them in the first place or not. Reply Do you mean 18 years? Or do you raise them until 16? I don't mean this in a patronizing way at all, I am just genuinely curious as to what you mean by this. Reply I am 16. I face this problem every day. I want to be pregnant more than anything. I am not sexually active, in fact, I'm abstinent. I have only told 2 people about this, well, now, 2&a website. My former best friend, and my current boyfriend. I can control my feelings&I know all of the things that come with pregnancy. I can wait to have kids, but I want to be pregnant right now. Reply I truly appreciate those who have an interest in surrogacy. I have the conserve of the emotions of the original poster. We want a child of our own once we feel financially stable to provide for it, however pregnancy is not so enticing for several reasons. First and foremost would be that I suffer from tokophobia (severe fear of pregnancy) which would likely exasperate into my second full nervous breakdown. Also, I am heading for a Phd/DVM that will mean a lifetime of working a lab with teratogenic chemicals and being around large and unpredictable animals, both don't bode well for a growing baby. Also, my mother had 7 late gestation miscarriage before I was born, something that doesn't shine favorably on the fertility of her daughters. To anyone willing to grant the gift though surrogacy has my utmost respect and admiration. Reply I'm so glad you wrote about this. I want kids someday, but for now I'm in that stage of my 20s where being pregnant seems so glamourous–even having a baby. But having a CHILD scares the bejesus out of me. I don't want kids. I want pregnancy. I want babies. Thank you for your honesty! I know a lot of women who choose to be child-free, and others who are in the same boat as you of wishing to pursue a career and lifestyle of surrogacy. The misunderstandings and sheer ignorance they have to face shows enormous strength; I wish you the best of luck in pursuing your goals! Reply I completely understand what you're saying! I have told people since I was 13 that I want to be pregnant and the response was always people trying to talk me out of having a teen pregnancy and me having to explain that I am smart enough to not do that; I just ended up keeping it to myself. I am newly 18 so I still don't intend to do surrogacy quite yet, but I plan on having a couple of children and then afterwards I'll most likely do surrogacy. While I intend to have children in the future, I really do see what you're saying because even now I want to be pregnant SO badly, but I do not want children until I have a very stable job, home, and environment in general. I wish I could be a surrogate now, but that's just not in the cards. I don't have the resources to even be pregnant and there are also the restrictions you've mentioned. Plus, I know very well that I am nowhere near ready emotionally. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I squealed a little when I saw this because I finally found someone who gets it. Thank you so much for this article. Reply Thank you for sharing this. I can really relate. I'm not interested in having/raising children, but a part of me is very interested in experiencing pregnancy and childbirth. I feel that it would allow me to know my body and what I'm capable of as a woman in the most intimate of ways, pain and all. 3 agree Reply It was an interesting article to read, but it did leave me with a question. The writer wants to become a surrogate, but doesn't want "to deal with an accidental pregnancy and be forced to choose between adoption and raising a child". What would be the difference between being a surrogate for a couple or adopting a baby out to a couple she chooses? Either way, the child is hers genetically and she'd be giving it to a loving family she picked. Not judging, just curious… Reply If she is a surrogate, the child is not genetically hers; she would be implanted with an embryo from another couple's egg and sperm. Reply I have mad crazy pregnancy fever and only slightly elevated baby temperature LOL 1 agrees Reply I feel the exact same way and have never told anyone because it sounds crazy. I am always hoping that I can find a gay couple that I could help out Reply I would love to be a parent and raise a child, but I don't especially want to be pregnant and give birth to a child. I do think that the desire to give birth to a child and the desire to raise a child are two different things, and it makes sense to me that a person could have one of those desires and not the other. 1 agrees Reply Parenting and impregnating are similar in their complexities, yet one happens in a flash while the other goes on forever. What I want is the latter–the forever part. Here's the deal: My wife and I want to be a parents. We both have been parents, she biologically, me relationally. We're middle-aged, she's unable to conceive, and I'm still "live." So, we're seeking a youngish female willing to do a traditional surrogacy. Why me as the father? Why not adopt? I trust my genetics and health. Everyone in my family is healthy and a professional. I'm a Ph.D. Behavior Analyst and know how to raise any child well. I work with kids with autism in three school districts, which means I deal with severe behaviors and crippling impairments on a routine basis. Very little phases me. As a result of caring for so many challenged children for so long I've grown very strong and loving arms and a heart looking to give to one child without measure. I so much want a child in my life and can't afford the $50,000+ the agencies want to gestate a baby. So — If you want to get and be pregnant, and you're healthy and would like to give the supreme gift to this loving couple with complete financial and emotional support…give a shout. 1 agrees Reply Just curious, were you able to achieve your goal? Reply This post has really made me feel fantastic!! I'm 21 and from the UK, and have had this uncontrollable urge since I was 15 to be pregnant but not to be a parent! Pregnancy fascinates me and I cannot believe that surrogacy has not been so obvious to me before The last 10 months. I have had some horrifying health problems in the past and dealt with more than a fair share of painful medical conditions and scars galore, and the thought of seeing a "blue line" bellows "YES PLEASE" from my ovaries! I fell pregnant a year ago unbeknownst to me and unfortunately miscarried due to medication – also the cause of my contraceptive downfall. But the idea of carrying a child for someone so unfortunate brings happy tears to my eyes! I embrace every one of my scars as a triumph over death, and during the long hospital stints, I craved to be there again – without being unwell and for the sake of someone else. I'd love to get involved in surrogacy and if anyone knows any UK based programmes please feel free to let me know! 1 agrees Reply I totally hear you on this. While I've never wanted to be a surrogate, I'm nevertheless a childfree person who still has the hormonal urge, so while I anxiously wait it out I find myself wanting to learn EVERYTHING about pregnancy, childbirth, and parenthood. It's a fairly good outlet for these feelings and I find myself better able to understand my friends who have made a different choice than I have. I don't think you're weird for any of this at all, and your decision to be a surrogate is both practical for you and a wonderful gift for another person. 3 agree Reply I also feel the same way. I want to be pregnant, i want to experience the feeling of pregnancy but, i don't want and have never wanted to be a mother. It's a strange feeling… 2 agree Reply Years after the article is published, I find it and I am eternally thankful to know that I am not alone. I think children are wonderful, amazing, completely mind blowing little individuals who are going to be our future everything but I have absolutely -NO- desire to rear offspring of my own, but oh what I am willing to give in order to give a loving family the youngins they deserve. 1 agrees Reply My thing is,im infertile. So is my husband. I would love to help someone (or eventually several someones) like myself since i have mad awesome uterus lining. Hell, i even have bookoos of eggs, but since we are infertile, i dont have a child of my own. I want to carry other peoples babies and maybe one day have enough extra cash and have the favor returned. I really do hate the "must have birthed and be raising a child" requirement. 1 agrees Reply Join the conversation Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. 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