I drafted this post in 2012 and somehow never got around to posting it. This is a really interesting study into middle-class life in the USA. Margaret Mead (the most amazing Anthropologist ever, in my opinion) was the pioneer of this form of cross-cultural kinship study with a focus on identifying the ideologies of motherhood and parenthood. I love the interdisciplinary approach to this study:
How kids develop moral responsibility is an area of focus for the researchers. Dr. Ochs, who began her career in far-off regions of the world studying the concept of “baby talk,” noticed that American children seemed relatively helpless compared with those in other cultures she and colleagues had observed.
You can read more about the study here.
And check out the one of the pioneering ethnographic films on this subject here (did I mention that Mead is amazing?).
All the surro families I have had the pleasure to meet through this research have amazingly calm and content babies. I think it is because these beautiful babies were so wanted for so, so long. Research in the UK from a psychological perspective of parents who have babies through a surrogacy found:
“greater psychological well-being and adaptation to parenthood by mothers and fathers of children born through surrogacy arrangements than by the comparison group of natural-conception parents, with the exception of emotional over involvement, which is discussed below. Both mothers and fathers in surrogacy families reported lower levels of stress associated with parenting than did their counterparts with naturally conceived children, and the mothers also showed lower levels of depression. With respect to parent–child relationships, the findings were again more positive for the surrogacy parents than the natural-conception parents. Mothers and fathers in surrogacy families showed greater warmth and attachment-related behavior toward their infants, and greater enjoyment of parenthood, than did natural-conception parents. The surrogacy fathers were also more satisfied with the parental role” (Golombok et. al. 2004; 408)
My research differs from Golombok et. al. in that I am looking at surrogacy from an anthropological perspective, with different methodologies, and I have been looking specifically at commercial surrogacy arrangements. However, as I stated at the beginning of this post I have found that all the surro babies I know are fantastically content and happy children, so it looks like the findings correlate despite the different paths.