Ep 8 | What now?

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Ep 8 | What now?

So… what do Mohsin and Dalia do now?

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RUTH (HOST): This is the last episode of Tiny Huge Decisions Season 1. So it’s also my last warning that if you’re just joining us here, you should go back to Episode 1 and start from the beginning. You don’t want to spoil the ending, do you?

This is Tiny Huge Decisions Episode 8: What now?


Dalia is sitting across from her best friend Mohsin. She’s just revealed that she won’t be the surrogate for his baby. The room is filled with conflicting emotions.

DALIA: [READING] I do know though, that I love you and so I hope that our paths will continue to run alongside each other, to criss-cross and to mingle. And that even though it's not through surrogacy, we do remain family. With love and to the future, the other Mohsin. [SOFT LAUGHTER] You didn’t interrupt!

MOHSIN: I didn't interrupt. I love you too. I just want to give you a hug. Before we do anything else. 


You haven't let me down. I think that's the most-- so, you know, I love you. You haven't let me down. And I'm really glad you wrote me that letter. And I'm getting emotional not because of what you've decided, actually, but because… I'm really glad you wrote me that letter, because now I understand why you wanted to do it. You wanted to do it, as you said, towards the end, because I've had to struggle, and you wanted me to have to struggle less. 

And I guess the honest truth is, I don't have to struggle anymore. My life is actually wonderful. Partly thanks to you. Thanks to what you did 19 years ago, but also thanks to the love that we have today. So the idea that you would be proceeding on the basis that you don't want me to struggle is actually not quite right. Because everything is fine. Everything is more than fine. I have a wonderful husband, I have a wonderful family, I have you and other really good friends. And I'm safe and happy. So the idea that you would be doing it to try and alleviate some--now--mythical hurdle that I face, would be the wrong reason to do it. Because that reason doesn't exist.

DALIA: Well what have we been doing all this for, then? You could have just told me that at the beginning!

MOHSIN: It just sort of would've been a bit easier. You know? [LAUGHTER]

DALIA: I've actually felt quite emotional for the last few days. 

MOHSIN: Have you?

DALIA: Just like thinking about it. And I haven't, up until now in this process, at all, to be honest! So I think it was good. I think it forced me to, like, really think about things. I feel okay, I think.

MOHSIN: Do you feel relieved?

DALIA: Um…Not really.

MOHSIN: I feel a bit relieved. 


MOHSIN: Yeah, because… So, if I'm, if I'm completely honest, so we saw each other at the weekend. And it was with your husband and my husband and your daughter. And after we dropped you to the station, I said to Matthew, I couldn't think of a more perfect way of spending our last few days in London than to spend it just like that, just like we did. 

And then the thing I didn't say to him was that if… if we were to go on this journey together, this surrogacy journey, it could ruin that. I'm not going to say I didn't want you to say yes. But it's more that there is definitely a part of me that is relieved because it just… It maintains our bond without that complexity that inevitably would have been introduced if we tried to do surrogacy together, particularly as you said in your letter, with me being so far away.


DALIA: I mean, it's really funny, like I hadn't-- when you said you were moving to the States, I didn't really think about that in terms of like, what that meant for this thing. And then it was when we were talking like the other week about-- and you were saying, you know, and you would just fly back and, and then I just suddenly was like, no, like, I don't think I can do that, that way around. Like that did just feel a bit like… too much. Like that would be too-- I'm not saying that's the reason. I just mean I think that's what helped me clarify like, that I just didn't feel… 

MOHSIN: That it was right. [DALIA: …ready]. But also, I loved what you said about your daughter. Because I mean, unless I've misinterpreted the letter, amongst everything you said, one of the reasons that you feel you can't do it is because you want to be the best mother you can be to her. And by being pregnant again--not even for yourself, but for somebody else--you feel like that would be less likely to be the case.

DALIA: And I know that that's like ultimately selfish, but I also think it's like, I don't-- I just don't feel that that's a good way to go into something that, as I said, like that should not be that. Like that shouldn't be the starting point.

MOHSIN: But Dalia it's not selfish. You're not choosing yourself. You're choosing your-- 

DALIA: No, but I'm choosing the things in my life over yours.

MOHSIN: Okay, but that's okay. Like you're choosing your daughter. I guess what I'm trying to say is… That letter was probably one of the most beautiful gifts I've ever received. It was full of love, and it was full of your heart, it was full of you, which is one of the reasons I love you so much. And the fact that it's not, it's not the outcome that benefits me, quote, unquote, the most doesn't detract from the fact that that letter, this whole podcast, all of these discussions have been an act of love. And you know, the fact that you're emotional now, I hate that. But you've subjected yourself to all of this, because you're trying to be the best version of a friend that you can be to me. And I'll always love you for that. 

DALIA: But I do feel bad.

MOHSIN: But you shouldn't, like you really shouldn't!

DALIA: I don't want to say that to you, but I just mean, it's not-- I don't feel bad about myself, I just feel like, you know, you said, you're in a good place, and you don't have to struggle. And that's true. But like, I don't want you to have to have like… more complication in your life.

MOHSIN: It won't be complicated. 

DALIA: Why? 

MOHSIN: Because we aren't the first people doing it. And it will be totally fine. It will. And you know what, I mean, I think it will be totally fine, actually. But I am guilty of spending all of my time thinking about what comes next, thinking entirely about the future. But as I sit here, looking at one of the people I love most in the world, getting really emotional, and given that the lovely afternoon we had in the sunshine on Sunday with our families. I honestly-- I just feel very grateful. 


Because you know, you said in your letter, that thing that we did 19 years ago… Like I was broken, I was completely and utterly broken. And I never would have imagined that I could be sat here, frictionless. I am overjoyed at the way that my life has turned out. And nothing that you have said in the last 30 minutes has changed that. And if anything, I love you more, not less. And if you'd asked me an hour ago, when I was rushing to get here, like how grateful are you feeling, I probably wouldn't even have thought about it. But your letter has just stopped me in my tracks. I feel so grateful. And I feel so lucky. Like how many people can say that they even have a friendship like ours? Genuinely. Not very many.

DALIA: The other thing I've been wondering about is like, yeah, so I think I was going with that is like, yeah, you've said that you would maybe like it to be somebody you know, or even me or whatever. But the other thing I thought of like, is there actually an advantage of it not being me?

MOHSIN: Of course. Of course there is. I mean, you know, nothing is absolute. There were-- there were obviously advantages to it being you, but there are massive disadvantages too, not least the emotional complexity, if things go right, and if things go wrong.

DALIA: Like, in some ways, it was when my friend Emily asked me that question like, do you feel that you can say no, and I actually just thought, “Well, yeah, I do,” because I don't like-- there's no one answer here, that's like, a good outcome. Like, it's not really a decision that is clear cut for either of us. For any of us involved. 

MOHSIN: No, exactly. 

DALIA: And that did like, take it away from me thinking like, “This is something that like, everything hinges on.”

MOHSIN: Did you talk to your husband about this? 

DALIA: Yeah, of course.

MOHSIN: And what, what was his--

DALIA: I think, like, that's the thing. Like, I think that's where we came to. And that's what I mean, like, it was really difficult for us to talk in the abstract, because we were just like, “Well, yes, of course, it would be an amazing thing to do.” And I think he really felt that as well. But he was just like, “I just can't imagine us doing this now. Like, I can't imagine-- Like, I can't say to you like, ‘Yes, it's okay, like come home tomorrow and be like, ‘I'm doing this,’’ Because ultimately, it's your decision, I would support you. But that just, again, feels like there's so much going on for both of us.’” And I think it felt for him, like just overall too much of a risk at this moment. 

MOHSIN: Especially because you had already decided between you that you weren't gonna have more kids.

DALIA: Yeah, for many of the same reasons. 


DALIA: Like it just-- I mean, I can understand it from his point of view. I think he was just a bit like, “But…why?” 


DALIA: “Would you put us all through that right now?” And I got that like, I think he does also have to like, protect our like family unit.

MOHSIN: Absolutely. Absolutely. And I think the funny thing about it is, Matthew would feel similarly, if the shoe were on the other foot. Matthew would be protecting my interests. Because that's his job, because I kind of, like you, go, “Yeah, okay, I'll do this. I'll you know, I'll do something that means I have to make a sacrifice--”

DALIA: And then they're the ones that pick up the pieces for us.

MOHSIN: Absolutely. 

DALIA: Yeah, they both are like that in our relationships. 

MOHSIN: Yeah, it’s true! They are, and that they end up being the ones getting shouted at when we've committed to something that-- 

DALIA: And that's what I kind of was envisioning, and I know that that's what would happen, and I just thought, I don't want to be that person. Like, I don't want to do that. But also like what a circumstance for us to be going through that together like me just being… resentful? I don't know if that's the right word. It's not the right word. But like, you know, this should be something that comes out of like, joy.


MOHSIN: Absolutely. And I think that was the… that was one of the one of the other things that had really stayed with me, when I spoke to Paul, the journalist. What he said was, you know, the great thing about the organization that they used was that the people they were meeting had already decided they wanted to be surrogates. And that really stuck with me, because it made me think, wow, that would make the conversation-- that would make all of this so much easier. [DALIA: Exactly.] Because you'd be like, “Oh, you wanna do it? That's great!” 

DALIA: Yeah. 


DALIA: And you will find that person, you know, that's-- and then like, it would just be wonderful.

MOHSIN: Can I say one thing? We said at the outset, and I listened to this back recently, this part of what we'd recorded. You said, “I know that if the shoe were on the other foot, you would do this for me.” And I reflected on that, because I said at the time, yeah, I think I would. I still think that's possible. But I don't think it's a certainty, actually. Because if you said to me, like right now, “Mohsin, you're gonna have to be pregnant for nine months.” I’d be like no, I'm too busy. [LAUGHTER] 

Do you know what I mean? Like, [DALIA: I’m glad you said that!] “No, I'm too busy, I’m moving to New York!” But then I thought, okay. Well, when would I have said yes? Because three years ago, I was writing a book. And a year ago, I was starting a new job. And 10 years ago, I was starting at a law firm. And you know, like--

DALIA: Yeah, but this is what I realized through talking to people. It's like, that's what they were saying that we weren't having discussions about, like, in theory, would it be nice? 

MOHSIN: Exactly. 

DALIA: Like, yes. It's wonderful. But they were like, “No, I was at a time in my life when I had done all of these things. This was like the thing that I wanted to do.” And that was the mismatch. I was like, I kept questioning, like, why didn't I feel like that? 

MOHSIN: Yeah. 

DALIA: And I realized it's not because of surrogacy, it's just because-- 

MOHSIN: Of time. 

DALIA: --of time!

MOHSIN: Yeah. And I think the reason that I've just said what I said is because that part of your letter really resonated with me. It's actually-- I've never really thought about that. Because it's not a question in the abstract. Like, yeah, it's a question in the abstract, we can both just say yes, right now. It's much easier for me to say yes, obviously--

DALIA: And I would, cause it would be amazing, right?


DALIA: Of course, it would be! I wouldn't say yes to anyone else, before anyone else suggests that I do this. [LAUGHTER]



DALIA: So yeah, I feel like, I feel good because I feel like you have understood where I'm coming from. And I didn't want you to, like go away thinking like-- 

MOHSIN: No, God, no! I mean, to be honest, like… I feel, I feel like-- Cause seeing you upset is hard. 

DALIA: But I'm not upset about this. 

MOHSIN: Okay, good. Because I don’t like that-- 

DALIA: I'm not upset about this. I was just like, you know. 

MOHSIN: Yeah, but I don't like the idea of you being upset at all, actually, regardless of whether it's about this or not.

DALIA: Don't cry now! 

MOHSIN: I know, I just don’t-- The overwhelming feeling that I feel right now is just gratitude. I don't, like, you know, fine!

DALIA: You don't have anything to thank me for, I haven't done anything!

MOHSIN: But you have. You know, the way that you talked about this process, this podcast, the way it's made you have to focus your mind, reflect on your experiences. I think it’s done that for me too.

DALIA: Yeah, well, no, but you definitely think you want children?

MOHSIN: I definitely want children. I definitely want to be a father, I want to share that love with Matthew. And I want to, like I want to be in a family and actually even last Sunday, hanging around you and your daughter and your husband, and… I mean, the only problem is I'm not sure that any child that I produce is going to be as adorable as your daughter. So I think the best thing I could do as Godparent to your daughter is to bump you and your husband off and then just keep her! [LAUGHTER] Because she's awesome.

DALIA: That is an option! 

MOHSIN: I know I mean, that's probably my best option.

DALIA: I guess it's kind of nice just to think about then what like, the future… like the immediate future holds, then, for both of us.

MOHSIN: I'll go first. 

DALIA: Okay.

MOHSIN: I'm moving to New York in like two, three weeks. It's been a really emotionally charged time. You know, COVID has been hard on everybody. These conversations, in the backdrop of us getting married and moving house and moving country, but also like, to be completely honest, there are some divorces going on in my family. And there's just been a lot.

And I think what I'm really looking forward to is going to New York and shutting that door to the apartment that we rent--it's going to be a rabbit hutch, because everything's so expensive there--But, you know, shutting that door and just going, “Okay, I don't have anything to think about.” And I think that for at least a year, we're not going to think about children. And one of the other ways in which I am relieved, is that if you had said “Yes, but it has to be soon,” you know, “I've said yes now, then we have to get on with it.” Then, as soon as we touched down in America, we would have had to think about, like, how does all this work? And you know, how do we make sure that you're getting the tests that you need, and all that stuff. Like it would have just been this onslaught. And obviously, like, you know, I'd have to carry the child. So it's not as difficult for me--

DALIA: Yeah yeah, but I know what you mean!

MOHSIN: But I'm really looking forward to having a bit of space.

DALIA: And that's really nice to hear. Because I think as your friend, that's what I also think you need to do.

MOHSIN: Right now, yeah. 

DALIA: Just to do that. And yeah, I think that's good. And I think this actually, weirdly, this process has helped me clarify the fact that I also just need to, like, accept that, okay, some things haven't worked out like I thought they were going to work out. But again, like everything is fine. Everything is good. 

MOHSIN: What's next for you?

DALIA: I think I just want to have some-- like, I feel like, our daughter is like two and a half. And she has been a big part of the last couple of years. But there's finally this nice, like, rhythm to our lives. And I think I have not stopped to enjoy that. And I think I just want to enjoy that. For like a bit, and the same, like not have something else to think about. 


DALIA: And I like, I know how that sounds, but I think I need to, like sometimes just stop and be like, no, just like enjoy what is going on now. Because you don't know how long it's gonna last.

So it feels quite-- maybe I do feel a bit of relief, actually. I don't know if you asked me that. 

MOHSIN: I did. 

DALIA: Maybe I do.

MOHSIN: But also, she is just joyous.

DALIA: Well, she's also like, at a nice age. Like it's quite-- things are quite fun. And I do just want to enjoy that for her. Like I want to, like enjoy who I am.

MOHSIN: And she's mischievous, like you. 

DALIA: Yeah. So that's-- that feels nice as well. 


DALIA: So you have your decision. We have our decision.

MOHSIN: Ah, it didn't take long at all, did it? [LAUGHTER] 

DALIA: I don't know what we do now. 

MOHSIN: Thank you for going on this journey with me. I've really enjoyed it. 

DALIA: It's been nice.

MOHSIN: Yeah. 

DALIA: I think it's also been, it's actually sad in a way because like, as we've said, like sometimes we haven't been in each other's lives that much. And we've been in each other's lives quite a lot anyway, the last couple of years, but then particularly also maybe through doing this. And there is a sadness to it. Because now you're leaving.

MOHSIN: The weird thing is, I don't know whether the podcast has done this or whether it's-- I think this was probably happening anyway. But…so you know how when we were at university, and we had this, like formative experience, because we were growing up. I feel like we have come back together at a moment in time, where we're going through another burst of growth. We're going from being young adults to being adults, proper adults, and like parenting and looking at what mid-life will look like. And I think that we've come back together at just the right time. But I don't, I don't want that to mean goodbye-- 

DALIA: No, I know what you mean.

MOHSIN: --and I'll see you in another five years when something else-- 

DALIA: Well, maybe we will be like that, but then we'll be fine. That's the thing. We'll just be fine. And I'll see you in five years time. You'll come back with your like rabble of children, and have to start all over again. [LAUGHTER] And that's nice, actually.


RUTH: Thanks for listening to Tiny Huge Decisions Season 1. 

Tiny Huge Decisions is a Chalk and Blade production for APM Studios. At Chalk and Blade, the executive producer is Ruth Barnes, the showrunner and story editor is Louise Mountain, and the producer and sound designer is Matt Nielsen, with original music by Ian Chambers. Special thanks to Jason Phipps. At APM, the executive producer is Erica Kraus, the senior production manager is Nick Ryan, and the executives in charge are Joanne Griffith, Alex Schaffert, and Chandra Kavati. With thanks to Dahlia, Mohsin, and Matthew.