Yesterday was not my first time attending a Big City Moms event, but it was my absolute favorite time. I have attended in the past as a new mom, as a friend accompanying a new mom, and also as Surrogate Mother bringing along one of the Intended Fathers I was carrying for. But yesterday was the very first time that I attended as a vendor. With my fabulous coworkers in tow, our surrogacy team from The Surrogacy Program made their debut on the mom-event circuit this week, and it was everything we could have hoped for and more.

Hundreds upon hundreds of Los Angeles moms come to this  Big City Moms event each year to explore the top parenting brands, try out new products, and hone their parenting knowledge by attending fascinating seminars with a panel of experts. They are there because they are parents, or about to become parents, but what is left unsaid is the journey to get there.  So many people are blessed with the natural ability to have children, but the road isn’t always a smooth one.

Many of those parents have experienced pregnancy loss, complications, fertility treatments, and some have had the aid of third party reproduction options like egg donation and surrogacy.  The journey to parenthood is unique to each and every one of us, but this heartwarming event is a great equalizer. Surrounded by happy moms, dads, baby bumps, and babies everyone gathers to celebrate what it means to be a parent.  This event is so much bigger than a room of vendors and visitors having a fantastic time, it is synonymous with the human experience of parenting.  We don’t become parents on our own, it is not a solo project. Parenting takes a village, and this is one such positive community.

As the first Surrogacy Program to attend this particular event, we didn’t know quite what to expect. We recognize that procreating is a very personal process, and we were so excited to get to share about one special option for infertile parents to connect with compassionate women to help them build their families. Our appearance  at Big City Moms was made a bit more unique by the fact that I attended it about halfway through my 3rd surrogate pregnancy. So there I was – a real life surrogate mother in person- ready to field any question that might arise and excited to give away some spectacular gifts in our raffle. The reaction that we got completely blew us away! Not only were welcomed into this village, I personally encountered so much love and support on my own path as a Surrogate Mother. People overwhelmingly expressed that they thought Surrogate Mothers were angels, and we couldn’t agree more!

I spoke with several moms who shared that they had considered becoming Surrogate Mothers before, but had no idea what the process entailed or how to get started. We were deeply touched by their desire to help others, as the simple act of having compassion regardless of actions speaks volumes about the beauty of human kindness. I talked with women about their own pregnancy experiences, the ones who loved being pregnant, and the ones who were unabashedly willing to admit that pregnancy is not always easy or glamorous contrary to the gorgeous celebrity bump photos that plaster magazine covers.

I can relate to both, as pregnancy is NOT always easy, but it so worth the reward.  These women are heroes, they bravely face morning sickness, stretch marks, fatigue, labor, delivery and more and because of them the world goes on. There were a few personal stories that I heard that night that I will always carry with me. One such story involved a mom who was there with her family, and she shared with me that one of her teenage daughters has a medical condition that means she will likely need a surrogate mother to have her own biological children someday.  This mom wanted us to share with her daughter about the surrogacy process, and we were honored to provide information and insight into how surrogacy can be a beautiful human experience that brings families together for a great purpose. Most people don’t go into adulthood knowing they will need the help of a surrogate mother someday, but for those who do, to be able to provide comfort and reassurance that they will still have a beautiful shared pregnancy experience, and bond with their child is one of the greatest honors of our line of work.  Hope is a basic human need, and compassion is what makes it tangible.

So this was first of what we hope will be many events to come for The Surrogacy Program, with a long running history as the most loving program for Surrogate Mothers and Intended Parents since our inception in 1991, we are excited to get out into the parenting community to provide comfort, awareness, and options. We are grateful to Big City Moms for welcoming us as part of their parenting village.  The choice to become a parent is one of the biggest decisions made in a person’s lifetime, sometimes it happens by chance and other times it takes concerted efforts, know that you’re never alone on this path. Moms, Dads, Intended Parents, and Surrogate Mothers alike all walk this path, we just take different detours along the way to reach our destinations.  Regardless of your unique path, we wish you joy along the route and the ultimate reward at the end of your journey.

A special thanks to Sarah Wells for the ultra-chic Claire Pump Bag, the ultimate breastfeeding accessory for moms on the go, which was raffled off to a very lucky mom.  You can view the entire Sarah Wells product line here. Also, thanks to The Dairy Fairy for their contribution of a gift card for a Rose Hands-Free Pumping Bra to another ecstatic mom. Her gorgeous line of pumping bras can be viewed here. And last but not least to LuLaRoe Linda Hamilton for her contribution of an ultra-soft pair of leggings which will be well-loved by the new mama who won them. You can shop with LuLaRoe Linda Hamilton here.  We were thrilled to share some of our favorite brands  with new moms at this event.