Surrogate Brianna Buck Profiled in Chaotic Commute

Submitted to Surrogacy Stories

You've met @BriannaBuck in our community before - we love this profile of her in Chaotic Commute!

Name: Brianna Buck (Bri)
Pronouns: THANK YOU FOR ASKING!! She/her
Instagram handle(s): @theladybuck
Kid(s) name/age: Hudson (4) & Josie (3)
Official work title and company: Senior Account Executive @ MKTG Inc./ASL Interpreter/Gestational Carrier @ConceiveAbilities
Where you live: Charlotte, NC 
Tell us more about your work: Oh man… where to start. My day job in Experiential Marketing was kind of a culmination of all the jobs I had in college. I worked in bars as a bartender and manager but always dabbled in event planning. I did sales for a liquor distributor for a while and then got this job as the Market Manager for MKTG in North Carolina. I have been running the events and samplings for 8 years now. It’s an amazing position because I have always worked from home and it has given me the flexibility to do all the other things that I love.
I also work sporadically as an ASL interpreter in the local schools. I got my certification as an ASL Interpreter when my first child was less than one year old so going to school full time while also working full time and being pregnant was a bit of a challenge but it is for sure the job that fills my heart the most and the field I hope to go into once the kids are a bit older and I can focus more on me!
I am 4 months postpartum as a gestational carrier if you can call that a “job.” It was my first and only surrogacy journey and I completed this life changing experience with an amazing company called ConceiveAbilities; it’s something that I am so passionate about!
I had super a super easy time getting pregnant and very text book pregnancies. I got pregnant with my second child when my first was 3 months (no, it was not on purpose) so we completed our family in record time. 
We had always wanted 2 kids and we knew we were done but I felt like I could for sure do another pregnancy. 
At this time I came to know so many women struggling with infertility. I had no idea as it’s not something anyone had ever shared with me but the more I learned the more I was drawn to the idea of being a gestational carrier (GC.) 
When I first told my husband, we agreed that I would think on it for a year and if I still wanted to do it at that point he would be open to it. 
So I did what any good researcher does and I googled “Surrogacy Agencies.” It’s hard because surrogacy is still not a hugely public thing. 
I didn’t know any surrogates so I didn’t really know where to start on my search. But I found Conceivabilities on that Google search and shot them an email. They immediately responded and set up a time to speak with me. I emailed a couple other agencies but Conceivabilities just seemed the most responsive and knowledgeable. During my initial interview I felt very comfortable. They answered all my questions and walked me through the process step by step. I told them I wanted to wait for a while before being matched so they told me I could do all my medical paperwork and such in the mean time. It worked out great. When I was finally ready to start the process all my medical stuff was cleared and I had the green light to move forward. I know it’s not everyone’s experience and journeys all vary but mine was smooth and stress free. 
Once we got through all the paperwork and medical appointments (which Conceivabilities made so easy) and we got matched I was SO EXCITED. 
Our first time chatting with the potential Intended Parents (IPs) was like the most bizarre, intimate and nerve wrecking first date but it was wonderful. The agency could not have picked a better match for us and both families agreed to the match within 24 hours. We went through medical work up and embryo transfer right in the middle of Covid which could have been stressful but the Conceivabilities team was there with me every step of the way. The team does a great job of recognizing the milestones of surrogacy. Socks for your transfer day, number of week stickers during pregnancy and the sweetest gift post delivery. They made the process easy and streamlined and though I am only a one time GC I have heard many horror stories. I couldn’t have been happier with the agency that I stumbled upon and I think that played a huge part in my success as a surrogate.

What has been your biggest challenge as a working mom? Your biggest reward?
My biggest challenge as a working mom has been to be a working mom! It’s all hard… the mental load of work and kids and marriage and self care and then to throw on top of it being pregnant which feels like putting your brain into a smoothie blender. It’s exhausting all day everyday but the biggest reward is also being a working mom. I feel accomplished everyday. There are small victories in every single day and I try to focus on those rather than the things that fell through the cracks. Just add it to the list for tomorrow!

Are you currently pregnant or on maternity leave? How are you feeling about going back? What are you most looking forward to or worried about?
I just came back from “maternity leave” from my surrogacy pregnancy. I was ready to come back to work as I was with the previous 2 pregnancies, but the first few weeks are always an adjustment.

Where do you think working mom guilt comes from and how can women overcome it?
Mom guilt comes from EVERYWHERE! I saw a quote once that resonated with me so much and I think of it often. Women are expected to work like they don’t have children and raise their children like they don’t have a job. It is so true but thankfully I feel like it is slowly changing. I feel like my company has been more supportive of me as a working mother and that is probably why I am still with them 8 years later. But the pressure to do it all and do it all well comes from years of social training. I am not quite sure how to overcome it… please, let me know if you figure it out!

What advice would you give to other working moms when it comes to balancing a career, family, and self-care?
I think it’s always really important to remember that you cannot pull from an empty well. I have this nagging voice in the back of my head that makes me feel like it is selfish and indulgent to take time for myself but I combat that voice with this quote. I can’t be a good mom or wife or co-worker if I am running on empty so it is in everyone’s best interest for me to take care of myself. But the priorities of everyday change so much and I try my best to be PRESENT for whatever task I am doing at the time. To give my full attention to work when the kids are at school and then give my full attention to my kids once they are home. It’s hard when the lines all blur but I try to be mindful of that.

What advice would you give to a new mom about to return to work after maternity leave?
The advice I would give to a new mom when returning to work is something that I have learned since moving to the South and that is “grace.” Give yourself all the grace. To me that means give yourself the space to cry in the car when you drop your baby off for the first time. Forgive yourself for not caring as much about work as you feel like you should or used to. Give yourself the space to leave your baby at daycare when you have a day off so you can go get a mani pedi or just walk around Target. Grace and patience with yourself as you learn this new life.  

What advice would you give to a mama-to-be about what to expect during the newborn stage/maternity leave? (or any other stage: teen years, college, etc?)
The only advice I can give about children is that it’s always changing. Just when you think you have reached your breaking point or even figured out whatever stage you are in… it will change. Nothing is constant except maybe the feeling of never knowing what the heck is going on. 

What would be your time-saving tip for your fellow working moms?
My time saving tip is to embrace the mornings. My partner and I have always been late risers but over the past year or so we both get up before the kids and I go work out and he works and it has been wonderful for our head space. It gives us both a chance to wake up before the gremlins arise. 

Tell us something special about your parenting journey and how does that inform your parenting philosophy:
Something special about my parenting journey is that I have "Irish twins". They are less than a year apart and it has been a real journey! My first child was 3 months old when I found out I was pregnant with my second so it was just a whirlwind. We dove into parenting headfirst and for a while it just felt like we were drowning in it but now it’s starting to feel like we might all make it. Seeing the bond that they have just makes my heart swell and I am so thankful that they have each other. 
Another special parenting journey was being a surrogate. Growing a baby for another family completely changed me and my family. I love that my children see surrogacy as a norm and that they know there are so many ways to bring a baby into a family.
And lastly, my first child is gender fluid (though I am not sure that I love that term for it.) Hudson, who is now 4.5 years old, is a boy who loves to wear dresses and all things Frozen and wants long hair down to the floor. He has expressed that he will be a girl when he grows up but for right now he seems to be content being a boy who expresses as a girl. Watching and learning from him has made me a better person. A more empathetic and open person. I could never understand what he feels but I try my hardest to listen and learn as he tells me who he is. I have learned to question boxes that we put ourselves and our children in everyday and I truly believe it has made me a better mom, wife, friend… everything.

Is there anything special you want to share about your labor/delivery/bringing your child into your family?
My most impactful delivery was with my surrogate pregnancy. There was so much build up to that single moment. So many hopes and dreams and fears and shots and contracts and appointments and LOVE that culminated in that sweet little child’s birth. Seeing the intended parents look at their baby for the first time was truly one of the most special moments in my life. What drew me to surrogacy was the hope of building a beautiful and loving family and I got to do that. I had an amazing opportunity to give life to someone’s dream and that will forever be a source of pride for me. Everyone always asked me if I felt that I would be emotional or sad when the baby was born but the only tears I cried were happy tears when I saw them hold their baby for the first time. It was incredible and magical and exactly what I had dreamed it would be.

What’s something funny your kid(s) did/said recently?
Hudson told me this morning that “snitches get bitches” so that was interesting… not sure where that came from. And Josie found a box of medical gloves and now insists on wearing her “blubs” whenever she is eating or brushing her teeth. We shall see how long this lasts…

What’s your ideal working situation (work from home, remote work, hybrid, etc)?
I have always worked from home so it was not as big of a transition for me but now that my partner is home 100% of the time, that has been a new challenge for us. I realize now how much I liked having my alone time at home. We have had to create intentional time for us since we are so used to just being around each other now. Time when we really look at each other and talk.

Who knows you the best?
The person who knows me best is probably my best friend. I call her every week day as soon as I drop the kids off at daycare and we chat for usually 15 to 30 minutes. I have come to treasure those chats. It’s just a check in but it is so nice to have a sounding board, a crazy check or a pat on the back when I need it. She just always seems to know what I need to hear and I am always thankful for that.

What’s your favorite quote?
My favorite quote is, “Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day that says “I will try again tomorrow.”” I remind myself of this all the time. Courage is perseverance. It’s knowing that just because you didn’t get it right one time, doesn’t mean you cannot try again tomorrow and succeed.