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Author: Tawni Rae
Publisher: Two Harbors Press, 2014, 140 pages, softcover and e-book versions
Much has been written about adopting a child, about the heartbreak of not being able to have a child and all the methods attempted to have a child.
Most of it is from the prospective parent’s point of view “My Seven Gifts” is written from a surrogate’s point of view as lived multiple times by Tawni Rae. If you’ve ever wondered why someone would want to become a surrogate or what is involved in surrogacy, “My Seven Gifts” tells it as it is.
Rae was told she probably couldn’t have children, a prognosis of her life she could not accept. When she did have a child, she thought about all those who could not. After she saw a television program about surrogacy, she wanted to help those couples out.
Rae, now 45, became a surrogate five times, once with triplets.
“My Seven Gifts” tells of why Rae felt a need to become a surrogate, the time-consuming, painful process of transplantation, the difficulties and joys of carrying someone else’s child, the connection with the intended parents and how Rae’s own feelings about surrogacy and the families she helped, changed.
Surrogacy requires a lot of compassion said Rae.
“You have to want to help the couple more than anything else, to have a family; you have to be a good communicator and keep the lines of communication open with the couple and you have to have persistence, determination and dedication,” said Rae.
The Cameron Park resident said she wrote “My Seven Gifts” to inform people about the many aspects involved in surrogacy.
“My own story involved so many aspects and experiences, both good and not so good, that I wanted to tell it to bring all the different aspects to light, to show the people a behind the scenes view,” she said.
“I am extremely proud of being able to be a surrogate mother to all seven children,” said Rae. “I am very grateful that I am in contact with each couple and that they have always sent me pictures of each of them (children) growing up. Watching a mom hold her baby for the first time, one she thought she would never have, well, there is nothing better to experience.”
For her own three children who experienced surrogacy with her, Rae said it has resulted in a desire to help others.
Oldest daughter, Sheree, incorporates her mother’s wish to help others as a campaign manager for the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society, middle daughter Shantel, works with children, and son, Shane has a particular interest in helping the homeless.
Rae has not only kept in contact with her surrogate families; she had an opportunity to visit with the triplets last summer.
“It was the first time I had seen them since they were babies,” said Rae. “It was such an amazing day and each one of them was so beautiful. When their mom turned to me at lunch with tears in her eyes and said, ‘I am a mom,’ it was worth every minute of it.”
“My Seven Gifts,” can be purchased online at Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble.com, mysevengifts.us and on e-book Websites. Locally, it can be found at Face in a Book in El Dorado Hills and Colton Books in Folsom. Rae will be dong a book signing at Colton Books in Folsom on Saturday, May 10 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m and on June 29 at Face in A Book, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Other book signings and presentations can be found on Facebook at facebook.com/MySevenGifts.