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Seven Times Surrogate Mother Plans Eighth Pregnancy

42 year old legal secretary Jill Hawkins is now planning her eighth pregnancy after given birth to her seventh child last year.  On each occasion she has given the baby away.

Jill is a surrogate mother and has given unmentionable joy to 7 women who were unable to have their own child due to medical reasons.

After giving birth last year to a little girl called Isobel, Jill said that the next time she fell pregnant, she would keep the baby, but she also said this after the birth of her fourth, fifth and sixth child!

"This is definitely the last one," said Jill, "This pregnancy has been much harder than all the others. In the past the pregnancies have fitted around my life, but this one has completely dominated it. I'm also getting older now, so, no, there won't be any more surrogate babies." 

Defending Her Change of Mind

Addicted to being pregnant, each one of the babies was Jill’s natural child, using the surrogate fathers sperm, but she has never felt the need to have a baby of her own.

Defending her change of mind on planning to become a surrogate mother again, Jill said "These couples were so grateful for what I was doing for them, and knowing that I could transform their lives by giving them a baby gave me real purpose, confidence and self-esteem. It was the one thing I knew I was good at.

I am not giving up something I want, which people can't understand," she went on to say.  "I am not saying it doesn't hurt - of course it does - and I do feel very emotional about it and I care very deeply about the babies."

Her first child, Lucy, is nearly 16. She was followed by Bertie, Jamie, David, Sam, Alexandra and Isobel and all the children are aware that Jill gave birth to them.  She sees all the children on a regular basis and remains good friends with the parents.

Suffering from Depression

After suffering from depression she admits that her family is worried about the effect another pregnancy will be on her health. "They are worried for me, which is lovely," she said.

Jill’s weight over the years has gone from slim to obese and after taking an overdose of anti-depressants she sought counseling to overcome her depression.  In April 2005 she had a gastric bypass operation at a cost of £7.500 in a last ditch effect to lose weight that had been the bane of her life for so many years.

Since the operation, Jill has lost 7 stone and insists the emotional strain of giving away so many babies is not the cause of her depression.

"The catalyst for me was that suicide attempt. I think I had to reach rock bottom before I really started to confront the issues which I'd tried to ignore for 25 years," says Jill, who decided to become a surrogate after reading a magazine article when she was 27.

"If anything I think the surrogacy actually kept me alive by giving me something to feel good about. But at the same time, perhaps if I hadn't become a surrogate I might have confronted my problems sooner.

"I have been a yo-yo dieter for years and I loathed myself for being fat. I loved being pregnant because you are allowed to be fat when you are carrying a baby. My main motivation for becoming a surrogate was to help childless couples, but if I am honest I was doing it for selfish reasons, too.

"And, bizarrely, I'd lose weight when I was pregnant as I would eat very carefully and exercise because I was responsible for someone else's baby. I never thought of it as mine. After each baby was born, after the inevitable tears and sense of loss, I would feel great about myself and what I'd done to help this couple and try and stay healthy by going to the gym.

"After the fourth baby was born I went right down to 11 stone and I felt fabulous, but the weight would always creep back on. I wasn't stuffing myself on chips or takeaways.

"I was just eating too much and eating between meals. I just couldn't stop and was so desperate I took appetite suppressants - which I never did when I was pregnant - but after a while they stopped working.

"When I went to see a counselor after my suicide attempt, I said to her: 'There is nothing that you can say to make any difference until I lose weight.'

"That for me was the root of my self-loathing and until I did something about that the rest would be pointless.

"After the bypass operation the weight just dropped off and it is the best money I have ever spent. It has completely changed the way I feel about myself and how I relate to other people. I am still on antidepressants, but the self-loathing has gone.

The First Child

"Over the years I have become better at dealing with handing these children over because initially you do feel very empty and upset. Your body has spent nine months nurturing this baby and suddenly it's not there anymore, so emotionally it can be quite traumatic.

"The first time, with Lucy, was the worst because I'd never had a child before. I experienced feelings I'd never had before, overwhelming emotions of wanting to protect this little baby. I didn't know if I would want to change my mind or how I might feel once Lucy was born, whether I would bond with her.

"I never thought of her as my own and I never wanted to keep her, but it was very hard to deal with once she was gone. I went to my parents, who've always been very supportive, and just cried for days.

"My way of dealing with it now is to spend half an hour of private time with the baby before I hand it over to mum. That way I will always have a memory that is mine alone, which I can relive if I need to."

She adds: "I like being pregnant, my body was built for pregnancy and I have the fertility of a rabbit, so it seemed to me a shame not to use that to help people who couldn't have children naturally."

I am not giving up something I want, which people can't understand," she went on to say.  "I am not saying it doesn't hurt - of course it does - and I do feel very emotional about it and I care very deeply about the babies."

Her first child, Lucy, is nearly 16. She was followed by Bertie, Jamie, David, Sam, Alexandra and Isobel and all the children are aware that Jill gave birth to them.  She sees all the children on a regular basis and remains good friends with the parents.

No doubt we will all have our own thoughts and opinions of Jill Hawkins and her babies. There can be no doubt though that Jill for whatever reason has made the word ‘family’ real for 6 couples.