SURROGATE MOTHER, Beth Andrews (center), surrounded by her children (from left), Jacob Andrews, Kassidy Andrews and Jimmy Andrews during her pregnancy.
By Tonya Michalec Staff Writer
Nowadays mothers have it harder than ever compared to those in the years gone by. There is the home, the kids, the job and more to juggle, day in and day out.
And sometimes the mother is doing this all on her own, as is single-mother Beth Andrews, of Wilmington. But, it's the "and more" that is really astonishing for this super mom. Andrews was also a surrogate mother this past year, on top of the run of the mill duties that every mom balances.
Andrews carried and gave birth to a child for a couple who could not, for medical reasons, do so on their own. She gave the ultimate gift - a new life - to those who felt it was unattainable.
About three years ago Andrews came to the decision, after years of debate, that she would like to learn more about being a gestational surrogate.
"I always thought about doing it. I love kids and always knew that I was going to be a mom," Andrews said. "Being a surrogate mother was something that was always in the back of my mind, as far back as I can remember."
Her research led her to Family Source Consultants, LLC, a Joliet firm established in 2006, that specializes in the facilitation of egg donation and surrogacy. With the personal experiences of surrogacy from the company's directors and co-owners, Staci Swiderski and Zara Griswold, Andrews knew she had found her guides for this process.
Both Swiderski and Griswold had been down this road themselves, but from the other end. Swiderski was an egg donor as well as the mother of a child born through surrogacy. Griswold knows the business on a personal level as well, with surrogacy giving her not one, but two children at once, a set of twins.
"Zara and I met through online support groups while we were involved in the course of surrogacy." Swiderski said. "Surrogacy was all that we could talk about, we couldn't get enough of it. We both had extremely positive experiences that we realized we could use to help others and it, the company, just snow-balled from there."
The number one task of the company is to make sure that the surrogate carrier and the intended parents are an ideal fit. Matching their personalities, wants and desires for the pregnancy and aftermath is imperative for everyone involved.
"The couple is so loving and deserving. And that's why I love this agency, because they did a wonderful job matching us," Andrews says of her experience.
Before agreeing to be a surrogate, Andrews considered her own three children and how they felt about this life-altering choice, which would indeed affect them all. Surprisingly enough, that was the easiest part of the decision. From day one, Jimmy, 16; Jacob, 15 and Kassidy, 14, were on board with Mom and her decision to help.
"I have three amazing children. If I could teach my kids anything in life, it is exactly what I did. Me teaching my kids that I can help someone and give, I think that that is the main goal that I got out of this situation. That's why we're here, to help each other," Andrews said as tears of pride ran down both cheeks.
Andrews would agree to surrogacy again.
"It was such a very positive experience overall, all the way around, for all of us," she said.
For information about the details and criteria involved with being an egg donor or a surrogate carrier, contact Family Source Consultants, LLC by phone at 815-725-7474 or on their web site www.familysourcesurrogacy.com