Meet Dan, Daniel, and baby Amaya (a.k.a @thedailydan_). From having to wait three days to meet their new baby, to bringing her up this year during Melbourne’s lockdown, their journey to parenthood has certainly been a wild adventure. Here is their story.
1. When and why did you decide to start @thedailydan_?
I first decided to start @thedailydan_ in 2019. I remember speaking with Daniel (my husband) back then about wanting an outlet to let out all my thoughts in a healthy way.
I wanted to do a blog but didn't like the official blogging platforms available - so I chose to use Instagram in a slightly different way.
Back then, surrogacy wasn't a topic that got discussed openly - there were plenty of people who had gone through the process, but not many who spoke about it. We wanted to be as open and honest as possible about our journey from start to finish, with hopes that even if it helped one person out, then that was all that matters.
2. Tell us a little about your journey with Amaya.
It's been an interesting one, that's for sure!
We were so excited for Amaya to come into our lives - I think traveling halfway around the world in the middle of a global pandemic shows that we'd do just about anything for her!
When Amaya was born, our surrogate had COVID-19 (but asymptomatic). It meant we weren't able to see her until she was three days old. It was tough not being able to hold her the instant Amaya arrived. She was a beautiful little human who was so close but so far away.
For me, fatherhood came naturally from the second we brought her home from the hospital, but it was still challenging being a parent to a newborn in a country away from all friends and family. From shopping for a pram or a baby bath to scheduling doctor appointments, or even visiting the pharmacy. All things that we take for granted come with a new set of challenges when you're in a country that doesn't predominantly speak your language.
Despite the challenges that our journey has held, we feel blessed to have her in our lives. We find the silver lining of being able to spend those precious first few months together, just the 3 of us as a new family.
3. What three tips do you have for those who are considering surrogacy? Anything you wish you knew?
1. Do your research
2. Ask ALL the questions you may have
3. Trust your gut!
Everyone’s path to parenthood is so different - even those who have gone on similar pathways to us.
There are so many options, agencies, countries out there. You need to make sure you speak with multiple agencies and go with the one that makes you feel most comfortable. Yes, everything else is important and should be considered, but you're bringing a human into the world and it needs to be with trust-worthy people who make you feel confident.
In hindsight, I also wish we knew that COVID-19 would happen so we could plan a bit differently (wishful thinking).
Our agency was upfront with us about pretty much everything from the start and we made sure we didn't rush into anything. It took years of planning and months of conversing with our agency before signing a contract, so we were quite prepared and across everything we needed.
4. What’s been your biggest parenting lesson so far? Your most valuable 'ah-ha' moment.
I’d have to say trusting in ourselves.
When you have a baby, everyone wants to give you advice - "do this, don't do that, this isn't recommended, etc. " Don't get me wrong, the majority of it is all given in good intent and out of care and love. The problem is that you lose yourself in the textbook approach of parenting or what others think of you - what you're "meant" to do or where your baby "should" be at with certain things.
If you get caught up, you can end up missing out on all the beautiful experiences of navigating life with a newborn intuitively.
Trust your gut you know your baby the best!!
5. What keeps you both grounded during times of chaos?
I'd be lying if I didn't mention coffee somewhere in here, but that more so keeps me going as opposed to feeling calm and grounded!
Amaya has become our whole world in the best way possible. For us, it would probably have to be a combination of 3 things that keep us grounded:
- Taking some time out for ourselves - both as individuals and as a couple (even if it's just 5 minutes).
- Communicating with each other - we're a team, but neither of us are mind readers. Being open with each other about how we're going or if we're having one of "those" days so we can share the load and support each other.
- Amaya. It sounds cheesy and cliche - but when she smiles at us or just wants to cuddle, it's the best feeling in the world and reminds us how lucky we are every single day.
6. What’s been your favourite moment with Amaya so far?
I think coming home to Australia, being able to start living our life here officially, and finally being able to share Amaya with family & friends who have been so supportive. It was an emotional experience, one of our highlights, as everyone hadn't met her in person before, only via FaceTime. It will always be a memory that we'll treasure forever!
7. How has your JIVE³ Platinum Pram been for you?
It's been incredible - we've tried a few different prams (one from overseas and one that we had bought before Amaya's birth) and the Redsbaby JIVE³ Platinum Pram by far has been a stand-out.
We’re finding that we’re being more active, going out and about pretty much daily with the pram being so lightweight and easy to use.
I can't get over how compact the pram is and how much room I now have in my car (which means more shopping). Daniel is super grateful to finally have a pram that he doesn't kick every time he takes a step, which is a massive plus.
If you want to follow their journey, head to their Instagram @thedailydan_ to connect with them.