Bonus Ep 4 | Where are we now?

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Bonus Ep 4 | Where are we now?

It's been a year since the decision was revealed. In this bonus episode, Mohsin and Dalia catch up on everything that's happened since.

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RUTH (HOST): Hi, I’m Ruth, and this is bonus episode four of Tiny Huge Decisions. It’s been a year since Dalia revealed her decision to Mohsin. Since that last recording, Mohsin and Matthew have moved to New York. And Dalia has been focusing on work and family.

I joined them on a video call to find out where they’re at, what’s happened in the past year, and whether Mohsin is any closer to being a parent. There was also reflection. Mohsin and Dalia look back on the journey they went through, and on their friendship itself.

RUTH: So guys, how are you doing post-decision? 

MOHSIN: So we haven't actually spoken since the recording of the final episode. Dalia tried to reach out a couple of times, and I was too busy. So this is actually going to be quite an awkward conversation. Hello, Dalia. 

DALIA: Hello. Actually, I did get a missed call from you, you might remember. And it's the only missed call that I returned, because I don't ever return your calls. 

MOHSIN: She’s literally blocked me on her phone, even though she's the one that said that she wouldn't have my child. 

DALIA: And do you remember what day it was? Like, that was the only day that I returned your call.

MOHSIN: [LAUGHTER] I can't believe you're gonna tell this story. 

DALIA: What day was it? 

MOHSIN: It was your birthday. And I called you and you didn't answer.

DALIA: And I called you back expecting you to wish me a happy birthday. And actually, you just wanted to moan because we were having a really bad day as usual. [LAUGHTER]

MOHSIN: I was in a total grump. I had totally forgotten your birthday again.

DALIA: So yeah, we have kept in touch. 

MOHSIN: Just a bit. 

DALIA: So how's New York?

MOHSIN: It's fantastic. It's been almost a year. And we are loving it. And the reason I'm a little bit reluctant to say that to you is because I know that you've told me I'm not allowed to enjoy it too much. Because it might have an impact on whether I come home or not. But no, we are… We're having a great time. We've made a lovely group of friends, work is going well. And so is the other writing I'm doing. So I'm having a wonderful time. And so is Matthew. We, you know, we got married last year earlier last year, and it's just been such a great adventure to start our married life.

DALIA: I think you forgot a few things. 

MOHSIN: Like your birthday? 

DALIA: Yeah. [LAUGHTER] But what about like, that I'm really missing you, I’m really missing London?

MOHSIN: Well, I am missing-- I'm missing my family and my friends and London will always be home. But I can't say I'm missing it. Because I lived so much of my life there. So it's, it's really nice to be here. But I am missing my loved ones. Although in some ways, what I do now is I walk to work. And so we've actually managed to keep in regular touch because I just, you know, call you on my walk to work and spend most of the time moaning and forgetting your birthday. 

But it's been as-- although yes, we probably haven't seen each other physically as much as we would. Or even that actually, because I've been coming back to London for work so regularly and we've seen each other each time I've come back. So it's still probably not as frequently as we would have otherwise done. But it's not been as bad as I thought it would be. 

DALIA: I do think we've actually spoken to each other quite a lot since you've been away. I haven't missed you as much as I thought. [LAUGHTER]

MOHSIN: Yeah, I haven't missed you at all. And I mean, that’s not hurtful at all Dalia…

DALIA: But to be fair, you have come back-- You-- no, because I was really angry before you left. I thought I was gonna really really miss you, but I've been pleased that I have actually seen you quite a lot. You have been back and we have managed to keep speaking. So that’s good, it hasn't been totally--

MOHSIN: No, no, now I've just got to convince you to come visit.

DALIA: But you've been here a year, you talked about work, your friends, which all sounds really good. But what about surrogacy? 

MOHSIN: Babies? 

DALIA: Yeah. 

MOHSIN: So we-- what we decided was when we got to New York, we had, you know, 2022 was a big year for us, because we moved house, got married, talked to you about having kids, and then moved country. So I remember when we closed the door, and we're in our apartment, for the first time, our permanent New York apartment… We just took a deep breath, and said, “The only thing on the agenda for the next year is fun.”

And we have stuck to that. But then a few weeks ago, we reengaged with the idea of children and have funny enough, made appointments at two or three surrogacy agencies based in North America to talk through what surrogacy might look like. Now, the only… the slight wrinkle is that the quotes we've been given before they're willing to have a call with us, is $186,000. All in.

DALIA: Whoa. 

MOHSIN: So we're still trying to figure out whether or not it's even worth having those calls. But… it's not all bad news. Because two friends of mine, who live in LA, who can't afford surrogacy in the US have been trying to do it remotely via, via the UK. So they've been flying back and forward because the UK is way more affordable. And so we thought about maybe reengaging with that idea of actually doing it in the UK still. So one of the things that we are now thinking about is okay, well, if we can't afford $186,000, should we sort it out so that we continue to try and find a surrogate in the UK?

DALIA: But interesting that the UK might still be an option, which means that you didn't need to move to New York after all. 

MOHSIN: I know. I know. It’s quite funny…

DALIA: So it's just a waste of time, really…

MOHSIN: Yeah, I know. Total waste of time. Maybe we should just jump back on a flight. 

DALIA: Well, I'm glad to hear it. I can't believe it's been a year. First of all, that's gone really quickly. I think when we recorded the last episode of the podcast, I felt a bit all over the place. And in lots-- for lots of different reasons. And I think this year is just it's just everything has calmed down. Everything's got a lot more fun. A bit nicer. I don't really know why. Maybe because you left.


DALIA: [LAUGHTER] It wasn't because you left. 

MOHSIN: Because I wasn't banging at your door saying “be my surrogate, be my surrogate!” 

DALIA: I think once I got the burden of making that decision out of the way, I just felt really free and liberated.

MOHSIN: Decision was vindicated. [LAUGHTER]

DALIA: No but seriously, things have been really good, like things are happy. In terms of like, the family. I think one thing I've definitely decided is, that is still the same is, that my husband and I are even more sure than we were before that we are definitely not going to have another child. And so I've been reading about this, like women who've decided this and they call it one and done. And so now I've totally like appropriated that phrase, and I feel really happy that that's a thing! But that also actually feels really good and really nice. And it feels like we can just enjoy having like a three year old without thinking about making things more complicated. So yeah, things are good, fun.

MOHSIN: I always thought I'd want more, want more than one child, but looking at you and your husband, and the lives that you're leading now… Because we've you know, we've been talking quite a lot this year, obviously. And you do seem like you're in a good place. And so actually, that has inspired me to think more carefully about whether or not we need more than one child. 

DALIA: Really? 

MOHSIN: Yeah, I think Matthew wants like 12, but that's because he's from a large family. But yeah, I just I don't know, you do seem like you're in a good place.


So when we last spoke, at least on the podcast, one of the reasons, rightly, for saying that you weren't in a position to be a surrogate for us was because you needed space for your family. And so I guess I'd be really interested to know how that's played out. Whether you feel that you've got that space.

DALIA: Yeah, I, I do. One of the things I've been thinking about is that what I talked about, at the, you know, when we spoke, when I was trying to make this decision, one of the things that I talked about was feeling like, I maybe hadn't been doing… like, I didn't feel at my best, I think that's how I described it. And especially with like, having a child and having this new kind of like, rhythm of a family and, and things. 

And I think… I was thinking about it just today, actually, I guess, in anticipation of us talking. And one of the things I think that was really helpful, was that I think, I am a bit more at peace with, you know, what happened. And everything that I went through. And I don't feel so hard on myself anymore. And I think that I've forgiven myself for finding it a bit difficult. You know, being pregnant and going through childbirth and having a baby and then becoming a parent. 

I think at the time that we spoke like a year ago, I was still trying to sort a lot of those thoughts and emotions and feelings out in my head. And it was-- it was linked to what we were talking about with surrogacy. And I think going through that process of talking about it with you, actually did really help me to at least just say like, it's okay, it's okay that I didn't find it that easy. And I didn't enjoy all of it. And that allowed me to just be okay with it. And forgive myself a little bit. And I think, have a bit more… Yeah, like a bit more freedom and a bit more fun. And I have tried to enjoy having a child now and being a parent and all of the stuff that is involved in that. So yeah, I think things are in a much better place. 

MOHSIN: It's interesting, because I'm not sure that… until what you've just said, I thought about it in this way. But I wonder whether your struggle with your own pregnancy, and your feelings about it, was so unresolved that when I came along and said, “Hey, will you do this for me?” You kind of thought, “Okay, this is my opportunity to kind of apologize to myself for not enjoying it the first time around.” And what I think is wonderful is that you were able to say, actually, I don't need to apologize to anybody. And it's okay that it was hard.

DALIA: Yeah, a little bit, or maybe I mean, first of all, you didn't ask me to do this, right? It was something that I initiated. So I guess, thinking back to like, where that came from, maybe it did come from like, a sense that I also just wasn't quite sure about all of this myself in my own life, because of just having gone through a pregnancy and having a child myself. Maybe it was just that those things aligned at that certain time. 

But just, just one funny thing I thought of is that my friend Emily, who we spoke to, for the podcast, when I spoke to her for the podcast, she and her wife were going through this process of trying to have a baby. And she was very much of this view that like wow, like what you're doing, like even considering this is incredible. 

She just gave birth a couple of weeks ago to a very beautiful little boy. And we were texting. And she-- I  don’t know, we were just texting about you know, how everything was going and she was just telling me about some of the not so wonderful experiences that she'd been having. And I said, “Oh, do you understand a little bit more now, like why… I was a bit hesitant about maybe being a surrogate?” and she sent me the best message. [LAUGHTER] 

It made me feel so validated so can I just read it to you? Cause it really made me laugh. She said, “With my newfound knowledge of all the bleeding, leaking and emotional angst” in capitals, “I cannot believe you ever even contemplated doing this.”

MOHSIN: [LAUGHTER] Well, thanks Emily.

DALIA: After we spoke for the last recording, and I made my decision, what happened? Who did you tell? And how did they react?

MOHSIN: I went home and I told my husband. And I think he... Okay, so I think he expected you to say yes. 

DALIA: Really? 

MOHSIN: Yeah, I think he did. And so he was…

DALIA: [GASP] Really?

MOHSIN: Yeah, I think he did yeah, in a way that I don't know that I did. He wasn't expecting it in a way that sort of, he's entitled to it. He was just surprised. But then what really helped was… you very kindly offered to share the letter that you written to me with him as well. And when he read that, he was with you. You know, like, he could really see why you could come to that decision. And then he was like, “Oh, my God, Mohsin, how on earth did you respond to that without looking like an arse?” [LAUGHTER] 

He did-- He did understand. And I think that there was also a sense of relief, because it had been this thing that we had been discussing you and I, but also with him, and your husband, for quite a while. You know, like those discussions, they took time and we made a point of not talking about surrogacy to each other, other than when we were being recorded. 

So it almost felt like whenever we were all together, there was this weird thing that could be this big deal that we just were not addressing. And so I think he felt a sense of relief in that respect of just being able to say, “Okay, now I can relax entirely and not have to worry about any of this.” And that our friendship with you could go back to being entirely effortless. 

And not that it-- not that it was loaded with anything before, but I don't know. I just think there was something about him that released. And I guess that when he told me that, that's how it made me feel was a sense of “Okay, okay, we're gonna put this down. We're not going to think about it for a while. And I am going to stop trying to emotionally blackmail Dalia before she makes her decision.”

DALIA: But that’s interesting, it actually really surprised me what you said, that he thought I was gonna say yes. I don't know why it surprises me. But it did. 

MOHSIN: I mean, I think I did.


MOHSIN: No, no, no, like, not in a sort I think before I dropped the a-bomb--America, that is--I think I did. And then when I told you that I was going to America, I did… I did think oh, this, this might change things. But then actually, what became clear was that, you know, the decision was not around America, it was much broader than that, it was much bigger than that. And frankly, it was much more about you as it should have been than it was about anything I would or would not be doing.

DALIA: But I suppose you must have then felt a bit disappointed. And he must have felt disappointed, because one of the things we talked about quite a lot was that even though you were clear maybe that you wanted to go through surrogacy that the like… what you also really wanted or what appealed to you is the fact that it might be somebody that you know, and more specifically even me, who was gonna be the surrogate, so you must have-- he must have felt disappointed. And you must have felt disappointed.

MOHSIN: Yeah, I think we both did. And I think that if we hadn't been in the process of moving country, we would have been, we would have had the space to really feel that disappointment. I guess it's actually easier to speak candidly now that it's over and that you made your decision than it was beforehand. Because I think, but I wasn't, I wasn't let down. Because I think that the sense of feeling let down within it is back to a concept of entitlement. And I don't think I ever felt entitled. So I don't think I felt let down but I did feel disappointed. 

And…and it's funny because you know what one of the early conversations we had and it's something you said, you said if the shoe were on the other foot you would do this for me. And although we will never know… I think you're right. I think I would have said yes, I would have done this for you. And the thing that took me a bit of time to sit with when we got to America and I'd go on walks or just think about children and think about the discussions we had was that that's okay. 

And that took some time because I think that people are different things to each other. And they fulfill different roles. Like you and I are very similar in lots of ways, and we mean, I think, quite something quite similar to each other. I think you described us as kin. And I think that's entirely true. But there was a question in my head of, does it mean something that I would be prepared to do something for Dalia that she has said she's not prepared to do for me? And I think that the answer is no. But for a while, it was a question that I wrestled with.

DALIA: Yeah. Well, thanks for being honest. I think I totally understand that. I think I would have felt like that. I would definitely have been disappointed if it was the other way around. And I would have been really surprised if you said that you or Matthew weren't disappointed. I don't think that would have made sense. 

Like, it's that funny phrase, right? When you say, maybe to your friend or to like, another loved one, you might say, like, oh, I would do anything for you. And it's kind of made me think about that phrase. And like, maybe we all kind of say that a bit too lightly to each other. And what do we mean? But I hope you don't take it as a reflection of our relationship that I wasn't able to do this. And I think this is what I was trying to talk about in the letter that I wrote was that it just felt like the time wasn't right. 

And that that was a really important thing more than like, that this wouldn't have been something that I felt I couldn't do for you, or I didn't want to do for you. It was just that I felt I couldn't at that time, and probably still feel like that right now. But I get it. Like I get why that feels like some sort of rejection, even if logically or rationally, you can argue yourself out of that. Like that must be part of how you felt. 

MOHSIN: I think that my mum was…I think she was a bit surprised as well. My mom has always been a really functional person. And it's always been about identifying the problem and solving it. And I think I probably get some of that from her. And she thinks about emotion second, actually. So at first, she was surprised, not in a bad way or anything, but she was like, “Oh, I didn't think that was going to be the outcome.” And then when I explained to her our discussion, I think she began, she began to understand more. 

DALIA: When we were talking about it, I felt like you would understand why I said no, and it's making me feel a bit weird that people like Matthew or your mum, even just to hear that they were surprised, or they might have been disappointed… I don't know. It's making me feel a bit more guilty than I did telling you to hear about how they feel. Not guilty. Just, I don't know. 

Not because… I don't need them to understand, right? Like in, like in the same way. You've made that point, that you wanted them to understand why. I don't think I feel like I need that. I think I just feel a bit sad that I've like… let people down. Or that they might feel a bit disappointed. Because they are, they were part of it as well. But I didn't speak to them. I didn't have like, multiple conversations with them. We didn't talk about things over and over again. They just got to hear this secondhand. So it just feels a bit like, oh, I let these people down. Even if that isn't the sentiment.


DALIA: Without talking it through with them feels now a bit abrupt. And I'm going to be completely honest. Like, obviously, I thought about Matthew. But I didn't really think about like, other people and how they might have reacted to the fact that I didn't want to do this on your side. Until now. 

Was there any part of like this that made you and Matthew think actually, like with the benefit of a bit of time and space that it might be better? Like it might be a better thing to not have a surrogate who you know, and for it not to be me? 

MOHSIN: No. [LAUGHTER] Just kidding! Yeah, of course, of course. Because that's the thing, right is we have spent this time talking about this subject in theory, but the practicalities would have taken another year or two and it would have led to, led down further complicated paths. And I think there is definitely a benefit to having somebody that we don't know and love, do it for us. And we do see that. 

And if I'm honest, one of the things that really upset me, but I totally respected when you said it, was you saying that you didn't think you could have very much to do with the child at the beginning. Because-- and of course, I have to respect that right? But for me, one of the things I worry about is the child not having a mum. 

Now, even if…even if you're not the surrogate, you're not going to be the child's mother. But it's so important to me and to Matthew, that the child has women in their, in their lives. And you would be such an important part of that. And this would have been the first time since we met where I went through this huge life thing. And the one person that I wouldn't be able to call or rely on is probably the person that I need most.

DALIA: Yeah. And I really felt that when I had a child that I could really rely on you. And it was amazing to be able to call you up and tell you, like you said, can you just come and sit with me while I cry? I mean, that's basically what you did. So it was amazing to have that and to have you do that for me. And so I would want to do that for you in a completely uncomplicated way that was not about me. Yeah, which it might have been had we had gone down that path.

MOHSIN: But the other side of that coin is your own feelings, right? Like you wouldn't have been able to like-- if you'd had the child for me and given it to me, then you would have, I would assume felt quite complicated about that. And then you wouldn't have been able to call me and talk to me about it. And then I would have had this, we would have this, I don't know weird thing where I've now got the child that you carried, you might have some emotional reaction to that, which not only can I not help you with, but I'm the kind of opposite of what you need in that scenario. And who knows what it could have done to our friendship. And I think what we said at the very beginning was that that's more important than this.

DALIA: Yeah, well, let's see. You might have to come call on me again.

MOHSIN: Absolutely. What if all those were all their surrogates say no. 

DALIA: If all those people say no… then.


RUTH: Guys, thank you so much for your honesty, but before we wrap up our conversation, I did want to ask if you had any advice or anything you learned from the process that you wanted to share.

DALIA: I think the thing that I really valued was… I guess what I was interested in, when we started recording our conversations, was all the different elements that go into making a decision that sometimes doesn't go the way that you often hear these decisions go. And I think it was just useful for me to think about decisions as something that you don't make alone and that you make with so many different people and that you have to kind of weigh all of that up. 

But that-- not to kind of get swept up in the tide of thinking there's a way that something has to go. I think that was really useful for me to not think that I just had to go the way that I'd heard all these other scenarios go and it was okay if it didn't. So that doesn't help someone else make a decision. But I suppose just to not be afraid that you can go a different way, and it might still be okay. And it might actually be the best decision.

MOHSIN: The other thing I would add is be each other's champions, not your own. And I think that without realizing it, that's what Dalia and I did on this journey was I was constantly like, “Oh no, but I'm not entitled to your body” and she was like “Stop being an idiot I should just do this for you,” you know, and it was-- and there was that sense that ran throughout it and I think that that's what made it so easy to do. There was never a sense of, on either side, of you're making me feel like I have to do X or Y and it was the opposite. And what that boils down to what friendship is all about, is the essence of it is: you act as champions for that person. But in this scenario it matters more than any other.

RUTH: One final thought from both of you. I just wanted to know what you’ve learned about each other that really surprised you? 

DALIA: [LAUGHTER] I knew this about you already but it definitely was reinforced and confirmed. How caring you are about other people, all the other people in your life including me. I think of all the things I, you know, feel about you and respect about you, it's that you do… you are really good at taking on board other people in your life. And that is actually quite a wonderful thing, you really don't see it very often. And I do try and learn that from you, which is to be generous and to be kind about other people.

MOHSIN: Going through this has I think humiliated is too strong a word, but it has made me reflect in a… disappointing way upon myself about the times where I didn't push you enough to talk about the ways you were feeling. Because what I realize is that when you're feeling complicated about something, you really do withdraw. 

And particularly towards the end of the recordings, I really found myself thinking, “How many times have there been when I have only seen the tip of the iceberg? And I've assumed that there is no iceberg?” And like, “How many times have I failed to dig deeper?” And so I guess the thing that I learned about our friendship, is that I'm never going to assume that there is no iceberg going forward. 

Like I knew you'd had a hard pregnancy. And I knew that, that the COVID had been hard because you know, your husband was doing an emergency job, which meant that he couldn't be at home. And I knew those things because I was there but I don't think I was there enough. And I feel sad that… like if I'd known the extent of it, I wish I'd just come every day, because that would not have been a sacrifice. And when I think about the fact that I wasn't there every day, and I realized why, it's not because you didn't ask, it's because I didn't ask. And I just don't want to let you down again.

DALIA: [CRYING] Well, that means a lot. Thank you. But you were there. You were there for me.


RUTH: 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.