Working Mom: A profile of an unconventional rebel
Q & A with Gabrielle Ngumezi
Gabrielle Ngumezi is a twenty-seven year old Bay Area native and she has had quite a journey becoming a wife and mother. After 6 years of marriage and giving birth to her first child, she and her husband recently decided to give the gift of life to an infertile family. Unbeknown to her religious extended family members, Gabrielle became a gestational surrogate mother to a same-sex couple from Europe and gave birth on June 22, 2014. I spoke with Gabrielle about making those tough decisions to become a surrogate with the disapproval of close family members and some friends.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
A: I’m a leasing consultant. I’ve been doing that for about a year. I hopped around quite a bit trying to decide what I want to do. I’ve been a stay at home mom for about a year and a half once my daughter was born. Prior to that, I worked in a group home with emotionally disturbed girls.
Q: What kind of things have you learned juggling the role of being a mother and a wife?
A: Family’s first. My family trumps any and everything. They are a top priority. I have learned that you have to become responsible. I can no longer get bored at a job and quit because I’m tired of my job, I hate my boss, or because I did not like the company of the people I work with. “You have to keep going no matter what. You have to stay strong for your family, especially for your children because they see everything you do.”
Q: We recently learned that you became a surrogate mother—Can you tell us a little bit more about that?
A: I became a surrogate a year ago. I’ve always wanted to adopt a child, provide temporary foster care, or help a family who couldn’t have a child of their own. There are two main types of surrogacy, traditional and gestational. Becoming a donor was never an option because it’s too close to home. I chose to become a gestational surrogate where “I am just the carrier, it’s just my uterus. It’s not my egg it’s not my husband’s sperm. So it’s not our child.” I began that journey hopping to carry only one child and later found out that I was pregnant with twins. The twins are were born this past summer, and they are happy healthy babies; the family is from Europe and that’s where they are now.
Q: Do you have emotional connection to the twins?
A: No I don’t. I don’t look at it like I gave up my children. I gave the children back to their parents. I was the incubator. I was the oven— I baked these babies for their parents. There was never a thought or feeling like, “ Oh, I want theses babies” it was a beautiful miracle that I helped to create.
Q: How did you make the decision to be a surrogate?
A: I was just doing the research on foster care and adopting. When I worked in the group home I was close to taking in one of the girls for temporary foster care. I was going to keep her for about six to nine months. While her mother got her things together. My husband was all for it. During my research— because I had to get license to become a foster parent, I came across surrogacy and I fell in love with the idea of being a blessing to someone else.
Q: What was the biggest issue with your in-laws?
A: It was a combination of being Christian and their biblical beliefs. Some cultures feel shamed, “How do I explain my daughter in-law being pregnant with someone else’s child?” and I understand that. My mother was ok with it initially, until I disclosed that it was for a same-sex couple. That’s when the bible verses and the damnation came. I’ve always been a free spirit in a sense. I don’t judge. I don’t think that two men and two women can’t have the same quality of love for a child. My mom and my family know me once my mind is made up, this is what I’m gong to do. I’m sorry you don’t agree, but hopefully you come around and they did. My in-laws on the other hand, didn’t know I was pregnant when I was pregnant. We told them what we were planning to do. They expressed their disapproval and we left it at that. After I had the Twins, weeks later they found out and at that point, it was very liberating.
Q: Would you be a surrogate again?
A: I would be a surrogate again if it weren’t for that family aspect. Things are slowly coming together on my side of the family, but a little faster than my in-laws. In their eyes, my actions were defiant against cultural and traditional values, which plays a huge part in their “idea” of what it is to be a mother and a wife. Giving up my body for nine months for someone else is not something that is acceptable to everyone. But I would defiantly do it again if given the opportunity. It was a great experience. No matter what people may think, live your life to the fullest.
For more details on Gabrielle’s surrogacy journey check our YouTube channel
By: Angelisa Ross
Editor & Social Media Manager, Workingmomin20s
Videography by: Antone Harrison