Sarah Jessica Parker on the ‘Suspended Animation’ of Surrogacy

04/13/2010 at 03:00 PM ET
Courtesy Vogue

When Sarah Jessica Parker welcomed twin daughters Marion Loretta Elwell and Tabitha Hodge via surrogate last June, time stood still.

“The gestational experience is gone,” she notes in the May cover story for Vogue. “It’s as if everything else disappears for a moment, and the world goes silent and — I can’t explain it except to say that nothing else existed.”

The notion of meeting your children instead of giving birth to them, she continues, is something best described as “suspended animation.”

“I don’t remember anything but the blanket on the bed that they were lying on and my husband’s face and their faces and my son’s,” Parker, 45, recalls.

“It’s literally as if sound is sucked from the room. It’s so different, and equally extraordinary.”

At the same time they decided to pursue surrogacy, Parker says that she and Matthew Broderick also agreed to initiate an adoption, but Loretta and Tabitha were first to arrive.

“[I] tried and tried and tried to get pregnant, but it just was not meant to be, the conventional way,” she shares. “I would give birth as often as I could, if I could.”

Now that they are here, Parker says she’s hoping that the now 9-month-old girls will someday provide good company for their big brother James Wilkie, 7. “I didn’t want him to have to shoulder the burden of us — later in life — by himself,” she explains.

FILED UNDER: Multiples , News , Parenting

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Hea on

I so admire her. As an only child, I can see where she’s coming from when she talks about shouldering a burden. I don’t see my parents as a burden, I love them, but someday disease and age will make things hard to bear alone.

Mrs. R on

How lovely of her to share her experience with the public. Really, and truly – I adore SJP! She ALWAYS sounds so down to earth and realistic in her interviews. She and Matthew sound like incredibly intelligent parents.

lala21 on

I am an “older ” mom and just had another baby for the same reason as she so my son doesn’t have to take care of us all alone. She seems like a nice person which in show business is rare.

Blue on

SJP is a beautiful person inside and out! Can’t wait to get my Vogue in the mail to read this article.

carrington on

I hate that she can never just say normal things. Suspended animation? who talks like that? It just bothers me. I feel the same way about Madonna, I hate to listen to or read anything they say.

Lorus on

Carrington – So you hate that she’s articulate? Nothing wrong with speaking your mind with words that come natural. I think it’s a nice change compared to many celebrities who can barely complete a full sentence.

Erin on

Carrington – not to be harsh, but I think a lot of stuff that passes for “normal talk” these days is actually stuff you’d be embarrassed for your elementary school aged kids to say. Give me more “suspended animation” and less “um”, “like”, “you know” and “right!” any day.

Camilla on

I, for one, thought the “suspended animation” description was brilliant and made the interview more fun to read. I completely disagree with you Carrington.

Erin on

Lee, I had to check back to see if anyone agreed with me on this point. Don’t want to be the language police, but when school papers are littered with “ur” and “IMO” it’s getting to be a little much! Glad to know you’re out there!

Liliana on

By her saying the experience was like suspended animation, I now get a better idea of how truly amazing surrogacy was for her family.

Simply saying it was great doesn’t have the same appeal. In the end, I’d rather be articulate than have a limited, dull vocabulary.

JM on

i don’t see anything wrong with the way she expresses herself. it IS nice to hear someone who is articulate and eloquent and doesn’t just say of an experience “it was nice and good” 🙂

tiny little nitpick from me though, Lee please try to say “some” teenagers think talking like that is cool, not just “teenagers” as a blanket statement. i don’t mean to be rude. it’s just something i remember from being a teenager that always irked me when all teenagers were put into the same box. i know many young people who speak perfectly and it’s unfair to assume that none of them care about articulating themselves properly. just a small thing…

Dee on

Carrington, your comment is a reflection of your limited capacity and not of SJP’s weirdness. The readers of this post knew the genesis of your reaction with your profound use of the word “stuff”. Grab a copy of The New Yorker and a few classic novels then rejoin an adult conversation. Censure aside, I am very happy that SJP discussed a topic that is so relevant to today’s society of more mature mothers and/or women with heightened infertility issues. I am happy she is the mother of the girls she dreamt of parenting for years and as an only child I thank her for the forethought on James’ behalf.

Crystal on

This seems like a wonderful interview and I can’t wait for my copy of Vogue in the mail so I can read the full interview. SJP is truly a role model and a wonderful example of an actress, mom, wife and friend. I hope she continues to pursue adoption. Another baby or older child would be a blessed additon to their fabulous family! 🙂

maya on

Has SJP ever said publically anywhere that the twins are biologically hers? Are the twins hers and did she go through everything to make them her biological children? How come she nevers discusses that, like egg removal, insemination picking a surrogate??

lori on

what is this nonsense about her son “shouldering the burden?” what burden? he will have lots of money to pay someone to changer sjp’s depends diapers and clean her drool if she gets old! there will be no “burden” – what real world will he live in?

Sarah K. on

Lori, there’s more than finances that go into caring for an aging parent. Now, he’ll have two siblings to share not only that experience, but many others as well. What’s with the nasty tone in the comment?

Also, I also don’t see what was wrong with SJP’s vocabulary either. It’s refreshing.

noam on

lori-carrying the burden of caring for a family member is not something money can solve. yes, there will probably be the financial cushion of being able to hire help when that day comes, but there is no one you can hire to help with the emotional toll. i know that when my aunt was dying, my cousins (a brother and sister) kept saying they were so glad they had each other. there was literally no one else in the world who could fully understand where they were coming from. and, should the day come when my parents will be unable to carry on on their own, i am so grateful that my siblings will be there, to lean on, to cry with, etc.
-and carrington, though you may find “suspended animation” to be out of the norm, many people do speak with such thought, especially people who are being interviewed for something that will be reprinted numerous times. additionally, suspended animation is a film term. perhaps thinking of it as a trade phrase, the way, say, a carpenter would incorporate wood terms into a conversation, will soften your attitude.

Ash on

Unfortunately, having more than one child does not guarantee that they will get along or offer any kind of support. My sister and I aren’t very close so someday, I’ll probably have to shoulder the “burden” of caring for my parents already which terrifies me (I already am shouldering it in some respects, although I don’t feel like getting into the details of that).

Also, my father had 7 siblings but when my grandmother got sick and needed someone to care for her, the ONLY ones that stepped up were my parents! NONE of my aunts and uncles offered to help. Now that’s sad and goes to show how there are no guarantees in life.

lover on

@JM, notice the comment said “some teenagers”, not “all teenagers” or just “teenagers”.

i love SJP. she’s so sophisticated and intelligent…two qualities humans desperately lack.

CelebBabyLover on

maya- Probably because it’s none of our business! 🙂 And it sounds like the girls are her biological daughters, since she once said that Marion looks a lot like James Wilkie. 🙂

CelebBabyLover on

And also, if I’m remembering correctly, they concieved James Wilkie through IVF, so they may have had some frozen embroyos left over from that time, and had those placed in the surrogate.

If that was indeed the case, then SJP did not have to go through egg removal and such this time around. 🙂

Jm on

lover, what? not it didn’t. i was talking about lee’s comment. she says “teenagers” not “some teenagers”, what are you reading?

hayley on

i love SJP. she’s so sophisticated and intelligent…two qualities humans desperately lack.

– lover on April 14th, 2010
i agree and some thing tha is clearly lost on some like

‘what is this nonsense about her son “shouldering the burden?” what burden? he will have lots of money to pay someone to changer sjp’s depends diapers and clean her drool if she gets old! there will be no “burden” – what real world will he live in?

– lori on April 13th, 2010
for goodness sake its called compassion , understanding fo those aroud you, we all get old some ofus will get sick and its a huhe burden on our loved ones to watch us in that state, my father is an only child and watching him deal with my grandpas death was truly heartbreaking, he had no brothers or sister thelp draw stength from, where as my mother, who mother passed just 7 weeks ago had 4 brothers and 5 sisters, who helped support her , they banded togther like family should.

your comment disgusted me, in my opinion its was just wrote to cause a stir which would be better suited to a gossip website rather than a baby site.

h on

“nothing else existed”??? what about her son?

GiannaG on

I agree with you, CelebBabyLover. SJP will tell us what we need to know. Anything more than that is none of our business.

I think it is hilarious that someone had a problem with Sarah being too eloquent. Why is it some choose to knock other people for having more knowledge and better speech than they do, instead of just edifying themselves so they can keep up?

Telling also is the fact that some people still think that money solves all problems. I know it will take more than money to deal with my parents’ aging and their eventual death, and I’m certain James Wilkie is already mature enough to know this. I’m sure he’ll realize that emotions are also involved. I guess not everyone’s values are the same.

hayley on

i must apologise for my terrible grammer and spelling in my post, wouldn’t want any one having a pop at me for my lack of apologise commenting ……hehehehehahahaha 😀

Jessicad on

I can’t say it enough, I love her!! I got tears reading this and can’t wait to read the rest.

Jill on

I can relate to SJP. We did IVF to have our first daughter who is 8 and now have a baby girl who is 9 months. They are also 7 years apart. I had our baby girl the same week as SJP’s twins were born. We tried to have a second child for years with three failed IVFs etc. Gave up for several years and then at 40 became pregnant naturally with a baby girl after finding simple supplements for PCOS I never had heard about. They already love each other and I am finding the age difference is good with a more nurturing relationship, avoiding the intense sibling rivarly. SJP mentions the twins will SOMEDAY be good company for her son. Our daughters are already so connected/bonded and just love each other. They provide good company to each other now! Knowing they have each other now and in the future has given me some peace as a parent too. Friends sometimes only get you so far in life.

Tara on

nothing else existed”??? what about her son?

– h on April 14th, 2010

If you read down one paragraph further she says that all she remembers of that moment was her babies faces, her husband’s face and her son’s. Besides which, I don’t think it’s unusual when you’re meeting your child(ren) for the first time to be solely focused on them for that brief moment in time. It’s life-changing and nothing else really does exist at that moment outside of the connection between you.
I love the way SJP talks…when you see her in live interviews she actually pauses a lot before she speaks to think about the question asked and her answer. I think you must be conscious when you’re being interviewed of the fact that your words are being recorded for posterity and appreciate the fact that she’s a thoughtful person who doesn’t just toss out funny answers or flip remarks all the time. It’s a pleasure to listen to an intelligent actress now and again. 😉

Erika on

I agree with JM- as a teenager (and still), I hated the abbreviated language, I couldn’t understand it until recently and never used it on papers even though thats when it was big. I also know adults who use it (drives me crazy).

Anyway, I like SJP, and her kids are adorable. I agree with her reasoning for having a 2nd child, I have an aunt (related by marriage) who was an only child and both of her parents were very ill when she was in her early 20s. It was a lot for her to handle so young, and she always said if she had kids it would definately be more than one and she would rather have no children, then just one who had to carry that burden. She ended up with 3.

ecl on

I don’t mind people who are eloquent at all, but her word choice always seems just a bit off. I don’t think that “animation” was the right word to use here even thought I understand the sentiment that she was trying to express. There are a couple of other interviews with her where I felt the same way. So maybe that’s why that first person doesn’t like the way she speaks.

Rye on

I LOVE how SJP phrases things. She has such a refreshing, quirky take on everything she talks about. I find her very fun and likeable! 🙂

I am not sure if anyone else watched the “Who Do You Think You Are?” that aired recently with her, but she came off as super easy to relate to and VERY nice. I just wanted to hang out with her and be her friend after watching that show!

I also am curious about the egg situation with the surrogacy…but, I can understand the need for privacy for some couples on such a personal issue. I don’t really see much of a resemblance to the girls and James and I think James is ALL Sarah. I think the girls must favor Matthew. My GUT instinct is that they aren’t her biological children, but it really doesn’t matter. She loves them…they are her babies…that is all that matters! 🙂

CelebBabyLover on

Rye- Like I said before, I think they probably used frozen embroyos from when they did IVF to concieve James (and thus, like James, the girls are SJP’s biological children). 🙂

layla on

I love that SJP is so eloquent. She and MB seem like a very down to earth couple. I wish them well.

Jill on

The twins could easily be SJP’s biological children. As I mentioned in my earlier post I had my baby girl at 40 naturally after years of infertility. The common age it seems to have a baby these days is in your late 30s/early 40s. Just look at the celebs. 40 really is the new 30!

Sure it might take a bit longer around 40 to conceive naturally but it is totally possible. The irony is that I was infertile in my 30s from PCOS and then the month I find PCOS supplements I never had heard about I was pregnant at 40 naturally.

It is not until after 45 that fertility really takes a complete nosedive for women. Even then I know women at 46, 47, 48 and 49 who conceived naturally with their own eggs. So there is a real myth out there that women into their 40s cannot become pregnant naturally and they need to have fertility treatments or use donor eggs.

Lisa Scorsone on


That sounds wonderful for you but I am 41 and going through menopause. So while you found a wonder drug, SJP might not have found one. I’m not sure the study that you found those ages but every woman is different.

Beth on

Wonderful cover shot of Ms. Parker. She looks classy and elegant, without wearing something shocking! Amen, and finally! Her beauty shines forth without a distracting outfit. That stylist should get a raise!

molly on

Despite the fact that I have loved her and her SATC franchise so immensely, I have at times found her to be overly articluate in a somewhat snobbish manner. But I have to say, I find her very refreshing in this article. She obviously has gone through something that is very emotionally draining and personal but has been willing to be candid with her infertility struggles to hopefully relate to many women (including myself) that have gone through similar experiences to build a family. And to have someone of her celebrity be so open is very generous of her. It is nice to have intelligent and thoughtful celebrities speak about such human subject matters. And I agree whole-heartedly with SJP- what a gift she and her husband choose to give her son to share life with siblings. Congrats to their fabulous family!

CelebBabyLover on

Lisa Scorscone- All Jill is trying to say, I think, is that we shouldn’t neccesarily be so quick to assume that the babies aren’t her biological children. 🙂

Anyway, from the way the article was written, it sounds like they were not in the delivery room when the babies were born. I feel sad that they had to miss out on that experience. 😦 Then again, maybe not being in the delivery room was in fact THEIR preference. 🙂

Jill on

41 is early to be going through menopause. Most women do not until closer to 50. So it is entirely possible to get pregnant using your own eggs in your early 40’s like SJP.

The Polycystic Ovulation Syndrome (PCOS) solution was not a drug but a natural supplement that I’ve since found out that PCOS women are very deficient in. More women need to know about this to save them from the infertility that I went through in my 30’s. 40 really is the new 30, which I think has a lot of truth to it!