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  • Writer's pictureChris Templeton

Conceptual Options - Same-sex Episcopal Priest on the Journey of Parenting

Find out what it's like for a gay Episcopal priest to be a parent. What always amazes me the most is how little difference, if any, there is in raising children, gay or straight. I hope you find this interview to be enlightening.


Chris Templeton 0:01

I am. I'm honored to be here with somebody that I hold to be really, really important in this community. And that is Father Jeff Martin Hawk with the Episcopal Church of St. Paul's Cathedral. Welcome. And thank you very much for being here.

Rev. Fr Jeff Martinhauk 0:23

Thank you. It's an honor to be here.

Chris Templeton 0:26

Jeff, tell everybody a little bit about yourself your background?

Rev. Fr Jeff Martinhauk 0:31

Well, like you said, I'm an Episcopal priest, I serve here at the cathedral in San Diego, where I'm responsible for most of the inward facing aspects of pastoral ministry. I grew up in Texas, and in a very sort of Bible thumping area of the world, and now live in Southern California, which is a very different kind of place to be and love it here. And, and I think that's it for now.

Chris Templeton 1:04

Talk a little bit about being in the church, and what it's like in terms of the LGBT community, because you're obviously familiar with that community, in your church and in San Diego is a huge area for that population. Talk a little bit about what it's like working in the church, because I know, you've had to deal with all kinds of issues in regards to the LGBT LGBT community. We're seeing it in certain religions, denominations that are in the process of splitting over gay marriage. Talk a little bit about where you land on that, and kind of how you've come to where you have with regards to the LGBTQ community.

Rev. Fr Jeff Martinhauk 1:51

Yeah, well, the Episcopal Church has, for a long time been an inclusive, welcoming, affirming place for LGBT people. And I think that's very important. Not only because love and welcoming all people is a hallmark of the faith that I think we've inherited in this tradition. But also, I think, because of the particular wounds that are left in the religious abuse that comes from the discrimination that LGBT people face. Having these kind of refuges to, to help heal those wounds can be a very important part of that process. when when when we're hurt by religion, and told we're not worthy, and told we're not enough told were broken or inherently flawed in some way just because of who we are. Using religious language and having religious language to help undo that, and in a more holistic way, can be a very helpful thing for many people. And so I think that's what we try to do here at the cathedral and in the Episcopal Church is to tell the story of God that says, We are created in God's image all of us, LGBTQ people included, and that look, how we how we are and all of our human diversity as humanity is, is divinely loved. And that can be a very healing presence, particularly for those who have been told repeatedly that they are unlovable.

Chris Templeton 3:39

I, it breaks my heart, to hear and to think about those perceptions from such a large portion of the population, regardless of their religious affiliation. How do you help somebody who is really very, very fundamentalist in terms of their views of marriage or of the gay population? How do you help somebody who is firmly entrenched in that corner, to find a place in their heart for the gay community and for things like gay marriage?

Rev. Fr Jeff Martinhauk 4:22

Well, I think people that are firmly entrenched have to make up their own mind I there's nothing that I can do myself to change a mind. I leave that in God's hands but the thing that I can do is create a relationship. And by being in relationship with someone, some of my family, my extended family have very different views than I do, on on my on, on on many things that I hold very dear to me. And by being patient, with them, they can see that difference is not something To be shunned, I hope that by loving through difference, by being able to talk calmly and rationally about different views that I have from them, that then minds can be changed a little bit. And even when minds aren't changed, that divisions are, you know, we're not so divided. And those divisions can come a little bit closer, which I think is part of what then allows minds to change at some point. So hope that answers

Chris Templeton 5:34

I feel like a big piece of that answer is really that when you're in relationship with somebody that you don't understand, and may really have hard feelings for prior that for some reason, being in relationship and understanding somebody who's different than I am, as a, as in as far as generating. Let me start that again, I'm sorry. It feels to me like a big piece of your answer is that for people who see me as different, and don't understand me that when I start to be able to have that relationship with them, to be able to converse in them realize that so much of who I am is so much of who you are, that that that fear tends to melt, doesn't it?

Rev. Fr Jeff Martinhauk 6:35

That's right, I think the more we get to know each other, the more we talk across our differences, the more we realize that we are all in this together. And we have a shared humanity. That that is beautiful, and and that builds empathy. And that builds our ability to see through things where we don't see things quite the same

Chris Templeton 6:59

way. It reminds me of two things. Number one, you said a second ago about our shared humanity. And I feel I guess one of the things that I really struggle with is for people that have such a difficult time with understanding others is it goes back to the concept of there's there's two sayings, one that I don't like and one that I really like, and and that is teach tolerance, which is kind of one step closer, and then there's celebrating diversity. And one of the things that I find in terms of celebrating diversity, is this sense that Oh, my gosh, there's such a wonderful world out here. When we stop being fearful of it. Do you find that kind of where you're at in terms of what you do and dealing with people with all kinds of different perspectives?

Rev. Fr Jeff Martinhauk 7:52

Yeah, I think absolutely part of the beauty of this creation. The way I experience it is that it is it's diverse. And part of my faith journey is being open to the way other people experience things. If I believe that I've got all the answers, then I don't have anywhere to go. And so the only way for me to continue to grow and to find new ways of experiencing others and experiencing life is to be open to the fact that somebody else has a different perspective than I do. And whether I agree with it or not just being open to those different experiences helps me to be interconnected in a different way. And so I think diversity has a lot to teach us.

Chris Templeton 8:46

I completely agree. Talk a little bit about your understanding of sorry, we're gonna move to surrogacy. Talk a little bit about your understanding of surrogacy and what you've seen either personally or in your church as it regards surrogacy.

Rev. Fr Jeff Martinhauk 9:12

Just we'll edit this out but you still want this like reveal moment in a minute.

Chris Templeton 9:16

I think. Hold on, I'm lost for a second.

No, I think I think you can I think you can. I think you can reveal that now. So let me let's just reframe it. You know, Jeff, one of the things that that is obviously the the focus of this video is surrogacy and you know a lot about it. I think you've had personal experiences and probably seen it through both your community and in within the church. Talk a little bit about your understanding of surrogacy and your experiences with it.

Rev. Fr Jeff Martinhauk 10:01

Well, I myself have kids through surrogacy I'm a gay man. And so I have an I serve in a gay community where surrogacy is becoming an option to help gay LGBT families have families have to create families of choice in new ways. So. So it's becoming increasingly a conversation point in ways that it didn't like my oldest child is 20 years old now. And so my youngest is 18. So over the past 20 years, it has been really wonderful to watch the way in which LGBT families have begun to thrive in new ways. And so those conversations have moved, I think, from a place 20 years ago, when, when we started our family from is this even possible? And what will it mean, if we do this, too? Should we start a family? Just a commonplace question that has been a question around in families for generations? Is it time for us to start a family? And so watching that evolution is really been life giving and hopeful? I think particularly in the LGBTQ community,

Chris Templeton 11:31

I and I look at it as a straight guy and think, Oh, my God, I'm so thrilled that the street community is embracing the gay community as much as they are. And really, like you pointed out so eloquently is, if I can get if we get to a place where as a gay couple, you're saying t shirt, is it time to have a family versus, you know, could we even do this? Man? Oh, man, have we come a long way, haven't we?

Rev. Fr Jeff Martinhauk 12:00

That's the truth. I mean, it is just a different world in such a short period of time. And I'm so grateful for that. And all the people who come together to help that happen.

Chris Templeton 12:12

Talk about this, the real shift. And really, it's, I mean, what you did 20 years ago was almost unheard of. I certainly wasn't a common thing, having two children by surrogacy. And that shift that you've seen, is it even 10 years old, the really kind of the major shift.

Rev. Fr Jeff Martinhauk 12:37

I don't know if I can put a timeline to it. But certainly there's been a real change. In the last 10 years, somebody we did a forum here at the cathedral, on how to provide support for LGBT families and the pastoral care setting because we were having so many gay families begin their parenting journey through surrogacy, and I was on a panel about it. And somebody made a comment about how he's a trailblazer or something and, and I said, Well, I don't it didn't feel like it at the time. Because I remember about that time, there was an episode of willing grace, where there was sort of some gays a gay family that had kids through surrogacy, so it didn't really feel that scary or that daunting at the time. But at the time, there were a lot of challenges legally, that I think had been overcome. So that's one measure and marker, I think, is that some of the legal ramifications, perhaps have have made some headway in terms of creating the protections for our families, particularly in certain states that have moved, certainly with gay marriage, things have changed as well. So so I think that's an important marker that society as a whole has created the space, the structures and the institutions to help our families move along. As as, as our families in the LGBTQ community have become to be sort of more normalize, though, I think that's probably the most visible indicator I can think of.

Chris Templeton 14:20

You mentioned that you offered a class for helping to provide support for for gay couples with children. What is that look like on both sides of the aisle. In other words, for straight people who really want to do the best and don't want to be, you know, don't want to be assumptive of what they're saying or doing and also from the standpoint of gay couples with their kids and what they need to do to help that process along and just smooth it out.

Rev. Fr Jeff Martinhauk 14:54

Well, that was essentially what the class was about, and it's been a while but so I am not I could remember everything but some of the common questions were in conversations were about things like how to, you know, to talk about the surrogate in the process, and I think honest questions, at least from my point of view, honest questions about the surrogate. From well, meaning inquires were were always appreciated. A lot of times, well meaning, enquirer's would ask about the genetics of our children. And that, to me started to get into an area that I felt less comfortable for example, with, because in our family, it was we had made decisions about our genetics that you know, who was going to contribute genetically to, to each of our first and second children. But that wasn't the determiner. of our relationship status to either one, we were both fathers to both of them. And so it felt like questions along those lines, sometimes, were a little more intrusive. So we had conversations in that class about those kind of things. And I know advocate couples who are who feel very differently, and, and who, who don't feel like it's intrusive. So we just had a conversation about sensitivity to those kind of matters, and other things like that. And just the nature of the surrogacy, the surrogate relationship, the fear that many people have, that the surrogate is going to steal the baby or something and how that's unfounded, how that's kind of a myth, and those kinds of things. So those were the kinds of things we talked about,

Chris Templeton 16:47

in terms of the straight community as a starting point. What is the right way to ask a question like about, about? Sorry? What's the right way to ask about things that are on that, that fine line and may feel intrusive? In a way that you don't feel? uncomfortable, but where somebody who is comfortable with that says, Oh, that's great. And you can say, you know, that's not something that I'm really comfortable? How do I how do people ask that in a way that's comfortable for you? Even though you're not going to answer it? You see what I'm saying?

Rev. Fr Jeff Martinhauk 17:29

I do. And I think in the end, it's it, you know, the genetics question, for example, that was ultimately up to me to draw that boundary. I was concerned, I think it was probably primarily my concern, and not my partner's trying to ensure that that my children were treated equally, regardless of genetic relationship, because I knew my partner and I would, and that we would be able to have the conversation with our children about their genetic makeup when the time came. And it wasn't coming from a stranger. But I think that was primarily a burden on me, so that when, when when questions came that it wasn't, it didn't upset me to be asked, it was incumbent upon me to say, you know, that's really just something that we're going to keep within our family until the time is right, and then we'll share it later. So. So I don't think it's a question of knowing how or what to ask. I think people people, in my experience, were always very sensitive, knowing that they might be asking something a little awkward.

But, but it was just a question of, how do we navigate? You know that and know that, that people are interested in my life, and they're interested in what's happening. And so a matter of me receiving it in a way that's gracious and responding, like,

Chris Templeton 18:56

and I think that's really important to point out is that, from my perspective, I would think that the primary issue of somebody asking these kinds of questions is to ask what the tone of genuine, authentic, I'm interested, and being able to be okay with, I'm not really not comfortable with answering that question. On the other side. I think as you point out, there's also the side from the, from the gay community in terms of how do they choose to receive those questions, and how do they choose to respond? And I imagine that part of what you've come to terms with is is how you do that in a way that works for you and also serves those around you.

Rev. Fr Jeff Martinhauk 19:44

I think that's absolutely right. That's very well said. And of course, I'm you know, I think there were there you know, there'd be times when a stranger in the supermarket or something would be a little more sort of pushy and, and my my parental, you know, sort of mama bear Our guard would be a little more than if it's a, you know, a close family friend or something. So think context matters a lot too. But I think in general, you know, people that have your best interests in mind, ask and in a way that's, that's caring, and I try to answer in a way that's caring, and

Chris Templeton 20:21

we work it out. Yeah. And I imagine that at the same time, you know, the goal would be, even if somebody asks in a way that doesn't appear to be caring, and maybe even confrontational, hopefully, the response is not unkind. And is, I'm sorry, you feel that way. And that's not something I want to really discuss.

Rev. Fr Jeff Martinhauk 20:41

Sure, sure. And, and I hope that I was not unkind but but there were there are situations especially 20 years ago, it may be different today, there are situations where people just might not have an understanding of surrogacy, and and it might not be the time in the supermarket line to try to explain it.

Chris Templeton 21:06

Well put, you know, the other thing that we haven't talked about, but I think it's a perfect time is you have the whole issue of how you explain this to your children, and how they are able to explain it to their communities. Talk a little bit about kind of what your experience has been with your kids who are now young adults, and and navigating that.

Rev. Fr Jeff Martinhauk 21:34

So we took an idea, I don't remember where we got it. But what we did is we started from really the moment of inception, creating a book for each of them a book that would describe the journey of where they came from. And so that book had, you know, I think the first page in both of their books is a sonogram of when we discovered what gender they were, and on through pictures of the surrogate asked with the surrogate through the pregnancy, the hospital visit and on through about the end of the first year. So that we would be because we knew that they would come when we would want to have a conversation about where did they come from, and it wasn't going to be the sort of traditional conversation that most parents have. So we use those books as a way to tell the story, we loved you so much, we had to figure out how we were going to do this. And so through those books, we told them about their surrogate, who was so kind that she wanted to help us have a baby, and that that's where they came from. And, you know, so as the years went by, and they got older and able to handle more, sort of the medical side of things than the story, you know, got more rich and more robust. But, but as for sort of helping them have a story or a narrative to tell in their communities from a very early age, you know, kids get asked, Where is your mom? And I would sort of coach them and to saying, I don't have a mom, I have two dads. I sort of laugh a little bit about that. Because it you know, usually that worked. But I remember being in a restaurant once and my daughter had made a friend. You know, as kids do, and they were playing and the little girl said, Well, where's your mom, because she saw there were no women at the table. And my daughter said, I don't have a mom, I have two dads. And the little girl was very confused and went back to her table and and asked her mom, you repeated the story to a mom and her mom, I could hear over here a mom say, Well, you've misunderstood everybody has a mom. And so I thought to myself, I'm gonna have to rethink this because I don't, you know, this is gonna, this is not working. This, this may not always work in this in the way I had hoped it would. But But really, there was no impact. I think, you know, in that case, the adults sort of undoing the story didn't see the context and that sort of thing. But really as, as young children, they didn't have any any problems with with with that story that I that I know. And, and, and, and that's that's the way they learned to, to talk about it and, and did until they, you know, became a little bit older.

Chris Templeton 24:40

You know, it's easy to talk about the challenges of being a child of a gay couple, but I don't really want to, I want to talk about what are the advantages that you think your children have come away with being parents or being children of a gay couple

Rev. Fr Jeff Martinhauk 25:01

You know, I think this has been borne out in some academic studies too. But my, my kids are incredibly tolerant, accepting and open minded and loving. When when you grow up in a family that looks a little different, or has a little different texture, then you learn that not everybody has to fit in the same mold. And I think that's true of my own kids. My son was a football player. He's straight as a board. But he's kind and he's sensitive. And he's open minded, and sort of nothing rattles them. My daughter is creative. She she's very sort of alternative minded, I guess you might say. And she's the same way she sort of is attracted to people who do things differently. And, and I love that about both of them that they, they, they don't, they don't judge based on surface appearance or based off of fitting in. They, they go deep. And I really appreciate that about them.

Chris Templeton 26:30

I imagine it's been a huge learning experience for you just like it is for all parents, isn't it?

Rev. Fr Jeff Martinhauk 26:36

Oh, yeah. I mean, you don't get out of learning. Once you have kids. Yeah. At every age bring something new.

Chris Templeton 26:46

Yeah, yeah. Talk a little bit about let's move to the surrogate. Since we've been talking about that. Talk a little bit about how you decided on a surrogate, how you found out a little bit of that background.

Rev. Fr Jeff Martinhauk 26:58

So we had an agency, the agency matched us well, first, we got matched with a surrogate, who we were very excited about. And then unfortunately, she had some medical challenges and wasn't going to be able to work. So we had to go through that sort of disappointment. And she did too, she was very disappointed, as well. But they found another surrogate for us. And, and she was open, you know, this was before IVF was a possibility, or IVF was just sort of coming onto the scene. So we were doing artificial insemination. And she was open to having two children because we really wanted a genetic link between our two kids, we each wanted to father to genetically be related to one of them as well. And she was open to doing to having to two rounds with us. And so we were introduced to her we got to know her and and we went you know, everything sort of went from there. We decided that we should what was one of the things that was really important to her was to not just sort of have a baby and leave. And to, to be able to have to know to have one thing about how I say this to to be open to watching the kids. At least knowing the kids as they grow up. And and that's been the case, we see her from time to time my son graduated from high school a year or two ago, she came to his graduation. My daughter graduates this spring, I'm sure she'll be there. This spring so so it's been a good thing for all of us. And I just I can't you know, words can't express the gratitude. When someone gives you the gift of to human beings, there's no no words.

Chris Templeton 29:00

And I imagine that I can see where people would be really concerned about what role and I think it's fear based what role that service surrogate will play. Talk a little bit from your standpoint, in regards to what the qualities you found in this woman were that really made it this is a fit.

Rev. Fr Jeff Martinhauk 29:27

Well, she she knew exactly what she wanted to do and and she wanted to be a surrogate, and then she did not want any more children of her own. And she was bright and cheerful and and she was very clear on why she was doing this. And it was to how she wanted to help. And we thought those were wonderful qualities and it We just liked her, you know, so. So it was just, it was just a match, I guess I can probably add much more to that as to roles, I think, you know, what was very important for us was that, and the agency was very helpful in this regard was that we, we had a lot of communication about that before we started. And, and because she and us were all on the same page about our expectations, that helped as we move forward after the kids were born. And I think without having the agency there to help negotiate that for us, I can see how there would have been a lot of misunderstanding.

Chris Templeton 30:47

That's a really great point. And one that I hadn't really thought about is, you know, the importance of the agency, and helping to bring clarity, because how could she or you guys know, all the things that you had to kind of consider that they've probably seen had seen over and over again?

Rev. Fr Jeff Martinhauk 31:08

Well, and none of us had done it before. So we were guessing as to what to expect, and that's, that's why they're there.

Chris Templeton 31:17

When you go through this process the first time, can you just kind of characterize I mean, it's got to be, on one hand, so thrilling. And then on the other hand, kind of, I'm not sure how to negotiate this or what to expect? And did you how much participation Did you have with the surrogate through medical appointments and that sort of thing?

Rev. Fr Jeff Martinhauk 31:45

Well, that was part of the reason we liked her thinking back is, is that she was very open to our participation in the whole thing. And, and that, you know,

I hadn't thought about this period of time in my life for a long time. But I don't know if I'd use the word thrilling at all, it was just nerve racking. I remember that time thinking that I just could not believe babies were ever born by accident. It is a lot of nail biting and waiting by the phone and you're just hoping. And and. And so it is exhilarating. Once you you know, when you find out, you're pregnant, and it is exhilarating in the sense that you can't believe you're actually might end up with a new human being in your life. But it it it feels like so out of your control in many ways that it takes a lot of sort of centeredness to remember that this can this this. She just kind of have to trust that the experts know what they're doing. Which is sort of a very different way than many people end up with children. But it does, and for anybody watching, you know, just just keep breathing and and, and have had trust in it. I don't know if that's a helpful way to frame it. But but just the honest truth was, it's a nail biting experience.

Chris Templeton 33:32

And I think that your point is well taken in terms of just finding that centered place looking for that centered place, and breathing through it at some level, isn't it?

Rev. Fr Jeff Martinhauk 33:45

Yeah, and you know, but in many ways, it's a metaphor for parenting. I mean, when you start when you start inception of a child, you're starting a journey. That that makes you responsible for another human being, and you're never sort of going to have a good night's sleep again. Because you're going to have a child and so you know, I don't say that to say it's something to avoid, because the rewards are our bit are larger than you could ever imagine, either. But you are starting this this journey that sort of larger than life and at every minute of it is worth it.

Chris Templeton 34:25

Were you at the birth of both of your children.

Rev. Fr Jeff Martinhauk 34:28

We were We were Yeah.

Chris Templeton 34:31

And was that an issue for the hospital?

Rev. Fr Jeff Martinhauk 34:36

It was it's interesting. The the hospital that the surrogate chose was a Catholic hospital. And they the staff were wonderful, but the policy of the administration was somehow the firt with with our son we We had a little more flexibility than the second time around with our daughter being in the birthing room was no problem at all. And that was very easy. But having our own room was more challenging. And, and so being in the room was no problem. And it was wonderful and worked very well. And then with our son, we also we actually had our own room for postpartum stuff that with our daughter, and we knew the surrogate, by them fairly well, with our daughter, we were in the same room with a surrogate. So there were sort of lots of people in this room. And thank goodness the surrogate was, I think she actually wanted it that way. So, so that worked out too.

Chris Templeton 35:49

You just must be so thrilled to have that relationship at the beginning, at the birth of your children, and then moving on. I it's such a gift. You said it earlier, but I just it's huge, isn't it?

Rev. Fr Jeff Martinhauk 36:06

Yeah, I think, especially when we at times when we've lived close to her, she's babysat. She's you know, she's, she's been someone we can rely on and, and it's been an important, you know, obviously, she's responsible for the children in my life. So it's, I'm very grateful for her.

Chris Templeton 36:28

Let's talk just a minute about overall, when you look at this process, what do you think have been kind of the highlights for you of the last 20 years in this parenting journey?

Rev. Fr Jeff Martinhauk 36:45

Gosh, so many, so many memories, I mean, you know, first steps, or frantic moments, while teaching to drive a car, or, you know, there's all those sort of classic parenting moments that are really amazing. I mean, when my son graduated high school, that was just really an emotional moment. And I think in some ways, it's, it's, it's just every age has had, you know, some different, wonderful thing about it. And so to come up with one, I feel like I'm sort of ignoring something else, but the, just the whole journey of watching your kids become people watching these little, these little things that come out, that just are mush that can't do anything. And watching them over 20 years, which will become 40 years, which will become you know, but at this point, we're at about 20, watching them become real people with ideas and thoughts and opinions and personalities. It's just an amazing journey. And, and, you know, I'm at the stage right now, where it's time to start letting them go. And so that's its whole own whole sort of process. And so it breaks my heart in one respect, and it thrills me in another respect. But I'm so proud of them, the people they become, and it's because of all those other experiences and those first steps and those those hard nights doing homework and, and learning to drive a car. So I don't know if that's an answer to your question or not, but but I think it's where I am.

Chris Templeton 38:46

I think it's the perfect answer. And here's why. I think that it's very easy, especially in the straight community, to feel like what you're doing is going to be so different from what we're doing. And nothing, nothing could be further from the truth could it?

Rev. Fr Jeff Martinhauk 39:06

No, as a parent as a parent, I mean, we just love our kids, we just want the best for them. And we just wanted to alternate out okay for him, and we'll do whatever it takes to make that happen.

Chris Templeton 39:18

And the other side of this that I really want to just examine then we'll get to wrapping up is you have been through an incredible journey from the standpoint of raised in a Bible thumping. Family as I think you put it, being gay having to come to terms with your sexuality, which I imagine coming from a Bible thumping family was not easy to getting to this place of being. I'm certain you're not a bible thumper now, but still very, very much a Christian in in all what I believe to be the truest sense of what the means what's, how do you kind of characterize that that journey for yourself?

Rev. Fr Jeff Martinhauk 40:09

Well, I, I, you know, my, I had wonderful parents, and they loved me very much, they still love me very much. And they taught me early on that it was all about love. That that's what it's all about. And I hope I'm passing that on to my kids. And, and that's what my faith is about is that it's all about love. So that's what I tried to do to

Chris Templeton 40:37

the basics are so powerful, aren't they? The simple parts I feel like so much of when we get lost, is all the little minutia that we try to pull in to make a story that loses the love and the forgiveness at the heart of it all. Yeah. I just think it's so sad. And yet, I think it's so wonderful to hear that your children are open minded, they're accepting of so much more. And I I can't imagine that people that aren't open can be as happy as people that are open to the world around them, regardless of what they're seeing.

Rev. Fr Jeff Martinhauk 41:26

Can't speak for anybody else.

Chris Templeton 41:29

I hear you, I hear you. Okay. The last couple of questions for people that are looking to do surrogacy and and I don't even think that this question matters, whether it's straight or gay, talk about what people need to be thinking about from a spiritual standpoint, from your perspective in regards to this journey. Journey of surrogacy? Yeah.

Rev. Fr Jeff Martinhauk 41:58

I think, you know, on the one hand, there's, of course, everything that goes along with preparing to be a parent. Are you ready to care for somebody else? And, and you can never be really ready for it until you're, you're there. I think the other thing with surrogacy is that touching on a minute ago, surrogacy is a special journey. And it's a wonderful gift. And, you know, to be spiritually prepared for it. I think, as we were saying it, there are some nail biting parts, and to be able to be, enter it with a presence of knowing that so that you can bring some centeredness to it, that you don't let the process drive you crazy. But you remember why you're doing it, and what you're focused on. So that the minutiae of the cycles, and the waiting for the phone call and all that doesn't let you lose sight of the college graduation. Or the all the things that I was just talking about with my kids. Because that is just one period of what will be a lifelong journey. And if you let it drive you crazy, it will. So I think that kind of spiritual groundedness can be important.

Chris Templeton 43:47

I almost think part of the answer is the best way to be prepared is to have that centered, love of God, love of Christ approach to life and also to know that you're never going to be fully prepared and that that's okay, don't you think?

Rev. Fr Jeff Martinhauk 44:07

Yeah, yeah. Well said. Yeah.

Chris Templeton 44:09

Thank you. You are with the St. Paul Cathedral, an Episcopal Church in San Diego. How can people reach you?

Rev. Fr Jeff Martinhauk 44:20

The best way is through our website St. Paul St. Paul

Chris Templeton 44:27

And you are the cannon for congregational life. You put it as an eternal life at the church and Jeff Martin Hawk you can be reached also directly via email at Martin h. a UK, J. At St. Paul That's Martin Hawk at St. I can't tell you how much I appreciate your perspective, especially because it's not one that we get The opportunity to explore with your background in your faith and it's so clear that your faith has brought all kinds of additional benefits to your surrogacy to your children and to your experience with them. Well, thank you so much. I've enjoyed talking with you.

Thank you, Jeff. Thank you very much. I really appreciate it.

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