A woman has given birth to her boss's baby, after agreeing to become her surrogate when she saw her struggling to become a mother.
Caitlin Cotton, 28, rom Alderney, Channel Islands, knew her boss, Kate Postlethwaite, 37, had suffered three losses, including a miscarriage and a stillbirth.
The digital marketing assistant has two children of her own: Imogen, six, and Max, five. She decided to help Postlethwaite after becoming aware of her struggle to have a baby.
The pair had worked together for two years, at digital media company Dot Com Limited, when Postlethwaite asked Cotton if she would be her surrogate in 2019.
After jumping at the chance to help, Cotton gave birth to baby Joey on 13 February, 2020.
"My other colleagues often laugh and say that I've gone a bit overboard to be 'employee of the month'," Cotton explains.
"I do laugh it off as it's not everyday that you're your boss's surrogate. I was aware of Kate's struggle and I was more than happy to help."
Postlethwaite says that despite her fertility struggles she hadn't considered surrogacy until 2019.
"The idea of surrogacy had never really been on my radar," she explains. "But when I did start thinking about it, I couldn't get it out of my head. I started airing the idea at work.
"Looking back, I think I may have been subconsciously hinting towards Caitlin, but at first I thought it was far too intense to ask her.
"But one day, I plucked up the courage and I asked her - to my surprise, she agreed."
The pair discussed the subject at length with Cotton saying she would be more than happy to carry a baby for her boss.
Postlethwaite said: "It was scary watching Caitlin’s tummy gradually appear above the office desk and think, 'oh my, that’s my baby in there!'
"I am the opposite of Caitlin. I am a complete over-thinker and I was constantly terrified of something bad happening.
"But Caitlin was amazing, she made me feel so much better."
Postlethwaite and her partner at the time, Matt, who is Joey's dad, suffered their first loss in 2016 after she had to terminate her pregnancy due to her baby being too poorly.
In early 2018, she fell pregnant again but had a stillbirth at 32 weeks.
After conceiving for the third time towards the end of 2018, Postlethwaite then had a miscarriage at 13 weeks.
After experiencing so much loss, Postlethwaite's desire to become a mum only grew stronger, so she was thrilled when Cotton agreed to become her surrogate.
"I knew Caitlin well, and I trusted her," she added. "We also live very close to each other so we were able to see each other a lot during the pregnancy.
"The whole process went so smoothly, it all seemed far too easy. It all just worked the first time. The next thing we knew, Caitlin was pregnant.
"In the space of 12 months and one day, we had gone from our first IVF appointment to Joey being born."
Cotton, who had experienced two easy pregnancies with her own children, says that her pregnancy for Joey was also very straightforward, with the baby arriving after being induced at 40 weeks.
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Postlethwaite says: "I was so anxious I felt like I couldn't breathe towards the end, I just wanted the baby to be born.
"When we were told Joey was about to be born, I had to leave the room and cry.
"I couldn’t believe it was about to happen and I just had to move past everything that happened.
"I went back into the room for when Joey was actually born.
"When he was handed to me it was such a shocking experience, I was in complete disbelief. But it was amazing and so incredible."
Cotton says that all the way through her pregnancy she was aware of the fact there could be some physical attachment, although she mentally detached herself.
For Postlethwaite being a new mum has been incredible but also hard, particularly as she split with Joey's dad when he was six months old.
"I love just watching him grow every day," she adds. "There is something very special about him.
"I would love to go through the experience again and give Joey a sibling.
"Surrogacy has been such a positive experience for us," she continues. "I have learnt so much and I would know what to expect next time so I could probably actually enjoy it more rather than worrying.
"Caitlin is just the most amazing person and such an amazing surrogate. She has completely changed my life by giving me my baby boy, Joey.
"Caitlin is more like my family now rather than my friend, I would do anything in the world for her. I am so grateful that she gave me the greatest gift."
Additional reporting Caters.