Television presenter Sally Obermeder has described the intense emotional connection she felt with the surrogate mother who gave birth to her child.
In a moving Sunday Night interview, Sally recalled the remarkable bond she felt with Rachel, her surrogate, during the birth of baby Elyssa Rose.
“Everything was compounded because Rachel and I are having these emotions at the same time,” Sally said.
“She’s crying and I’m crying and she’s laughing and I’m laughing.”
Before their latest arrival, the Channel 7 presenter and her husband Marcus were already proud parents of Annabelle, who was conceived with the help of IVF.
After Annabelle’s birth Sally began intensive chemotherapy for breast cancer. She beat the cancer but learned she wouldn’t be able to safely have another child.
Sally told Sunday Night reporter Rahni Sadler that she wasn’t sure what to expect when she first decided to use a surrogate.
“I really was thinking, ‘oh I’m going to feel awkward when she’s pregnant and I’m not and I’ve missed out’, but I actually haven’t,” she said.
“I thought it wasn’t going to happen at all and it’s happening so I’m kind of at the point where I don’t care how it’s happening - it’s just happening and I’m thrilled.”
She said she found it hard to believe the generosity of a woman, who two years ago was a stranger.
Sally and Rachel now share an extraordinary bond over the new life they created together.
Immediately after baby Elyssa was born, Sally took her daughter in her arms for her first cuddle and skin-on-skin bonding.
Rachel has three daughters of her own and understands that surrogacy is not for everyone.
“It does bring up a lot of questions. ‘How are you about to give the baby away’ is the big one,” she said.
“And truly, it’s not my baby. I’m just babysitting for ten months.”
Saying goodbye to Rachel and her family was especially hard for Sally, after the two-year journey they had been through together.
“I was howling on the street corner saying ‘I don’t want to leave!’ Even though it is not ever goodbye and I have spoken to her a million times since I have been back, the creation of this baby was such a dual effort,” Sally said.
“Their whole family did it, their whole family gave us that baby. So to say goodbye to her was tough, it was really tough. We both just sobbed like children on the street corner.
The bond that has developed between the two families will be life long. Sally and Rachel’s family regularly catch up on Skype.
“The world really needs more people like her, she’s amazing," Sally said.