Labour of Love is a story beautifully conceived—emotive, engaging and honest—with the rollercoaster of emotions of any pregnancy juxtaposed with the very clinical aspects of a highly regulated ‘industry’ and its invasive administrative processes. Importantly, Shannon’s memoir is not an account of heartache and conflict, but an uplifting story the author describes as “a collective love”—one that involves a handful of people who start out strangers and end up so much more than family. What Shannon has written is a positive story about selflessness in the hope more women will consider surrogacy and more people will understand why.
Told from the point of view of the surrogate, her no holds barred approach documents the journey before, during and after the pregnancy, including the lengths she goes to, mind, body and soul, to prepare and give “her little passenger” the best start in life.
What Shannon couldn’t have prepared herself for were the things she would learn about herself along the way, or the Internet trolls, the naysayers, and the critics keen to plant seeds of doubt, especially when mid-way through the pregnancy came the news that shocked the world and divided opinion—the story of Baby Gammy. Questions and constant scrutiny by the misinformed and curious, added to the responsibility of carrying another couple’s baby (one that wasn’t growing as it should) became overwhelming. Finding strength from unexpected places and painful childhood memories, desperate to show people she was, finally, good enough, Shannon pushes past the negativity of others and her own self-deprecating tendencies to find the courage she needs to selflessly carry and birth a baby that will not be her own. I adore this story.