It may be one of the most heated conversation starters one could possibly find, a man who is pregnant. It can be hard to remain politically correct when discussing topics like this, but they are topics that need to be spoken about. It is becoming more prevalent in the world, and the more we talk about it and have discussions the more of the “norm” it will become.
Now, when we say that a man is pregnant, we do not mean a man that was born a man. We mean a transgender individual who was born a female, but feels inside as if they are male and they choose to live their life identifying as the gender they feel inside. There is a lot of misconceptions about people who are transgender, and all are usually pretty negative and harming. They are people just like every one else.
Because there is nothing different about them, they have the same dreams and aspirations that a lot of us have. To fall in love, get married, and one day have children. This is not that hard, they find a partner that they love, they get married (or not, no judging) and they make the decision to have a child. If the partnership is consisting of one biological male, and one identifying as male, then the transgender person would be the one to carry a child, they still have all the (female) parts.
This can confuse a lot of us, how is this done? What does it feel like? Well, we searched for stories of couples who have been through this whole process, and we have found some first-hand explanations of what it is like to be a pregnant man. Here are 15 of them.
15 Hormone Preparation
Those who are making the transition from female to male, or are about to start need one very important things before they begin. They need to change their hormones. Females and males are divided by a lot of things, one of them being hormones. Females have higher levels of estrogen, while males have higher levels of testosterone. When a female is transition, he wants to suppress the estrogen levels, and boost the testosterone.
When he is preparing to get pregnant, he has to muck around with his hormones again. This is usually the first step. He has to stop taking his testosterone hormone, to allow his body to get back to thinking that it is female. This means that all those ‘pesky’ female symptoms return. This means that he will more than likely endure a period, which he probably has not had in a long time. It is crucial, however, to be able to get pregnant.
14 It’s Not Easy
Just because it is a female-born male does not mean that it is any easier to get pregnant. They still face the same challenges that female-born face. One couple, Chaplow and Reese were one of these couples, and Reese was trying to get pregnant. After stopping his testosterone and experiencing a period for the first time in 10 years, he started tracking.
He tracked his cycle how all of us do when we are trying to get pregnant. It became frustrating when he was not falling pregnant. Cisgender (female feeling female) often get mad and blame their bodies for not doing that it supposed to. Having been through the transition journey, Reese knew that he needed to take a kinder approach. He stated; “I had to work so hard to feel great about my body that I didn’t ever blame it on my body.” Great attitude!
13 Prenatal Appointment Anxiety
Due to societal expectations when a transgender person is pregnant, it can cause some double looks and awkward situations. We wish it was not this way, but it can be confusing. That first visit to the doctor’s can be quite an anxious experience for a pregnant man. How will the doctor respond? Or the other people in the waiting room? Sometimes, they will call the doctor’s office ahead of time and let them know of his unique situation and ensure that they are prepared to care for him.
When Reese went for his first ultrasound, he was pleasantly surprised. He was expecting weird looks, extra questioning and the full experience that he is so used to facing when he tells someone that he is transgender. He was so elated when he went for his appointment and he was treated no different than any other pregnant person in the waiting room.
12 Second ‘Coming Out’?
A lot of people who fall in the LGTBQ community face a point in their life when they have to ‘come out’ to their parents. I don’t personally like the term ‘coming out’ as I feel it makes it feel shameful. That is what the world knows it as, so I will go with it. This usually goes fine, and the parents tell them they will love them no matter what.
It can feel like a second ‘coming out’ when they a man tells his parents that he is pregnant. It is one thing to answer questions that strangers ask, but when it is your parents in can be a little more tough. They have to prepare their family for this adjustment, as well as the fact that it will be two dad’s raising a baby. Hopefully, family and friends react with the same accepting tone they did when they announced they were transgender, and not stuck on ideals about a man and woman needed to raise a baby.
11 They Don’t Feel Safe
It is a dangerous world right now for anyone who is “different.” Primarily for those who are part of the LGBTQ community, the receive countless judgements, threats and harassment daily. So, it is only normal for them to be a little worried about the world’s reactions to a pregnant man. They can be fearful of the reactions people will have as well as the possible threat of violence.
The gentleman we have been talking about took special precautions when going out in public. He was mostly pregnant in the colder months, so he was able to layer up when he had to go outside. Being able to put on multiple layers of clothes made it easier for him to hide it. Personally, I think it is sad that he should have to hide it, it should be the happiest period in his life.
10 Forget About Social Media
When we are pregnant, we love nothing more than to brag and boast on Facebook, or other social media sites. We do not think anything of it, and quickly add all the little updates and belly shots. This is a little different for a transgender pregnant man. Social media can be a great place, but it is also the home of keyboard warriors. People who are not afraid to post their (hurtful) opinions, because they do not have to look anyone in the face when they do it.
Reese, was very public online about his pregnancy. He was journaling and writing about his journey. He received a lot of encouragement and support online, but he also received a lot of harsh comments. He was called a ‘circus freak” by a sweet looking old lady, who was anything but sweet on the inside. This is yet another way they are not “allowed” to celebrate pregnancy as women are.
9 They Love It
This may not be a big secret, but maybe it is, they love being pregnant. It all feels the same to them as to us. There are the struggles and strains that a pregnancy normally brings, but they enjoy every kick and movement from inside as much as we do. Reese felt that he was supposed to complain about being pregnant, is that not what women do? We complain about the nausea, the aches and the pains.
He just has been accepting it all, and has been enjoying every moment. He is enjoying the kicks and movements that he is feeling inside. It is a great lesson to be learned, there are no real differences in a woman and a transgender male being pregnant. We all bleed the same on the inside, and we all feel everything the same way.
8 Not Automatically Assumed Pregnant
Society still has deep rooted preconceptions of pregnancy. Being pregnant is directly linked to females. Females that identify as female. Our brains can not make the connection between a man and pregnancy. I believe they will one day, but not yet, it is still new. So, when a transgender man is walking down the street, pregnant, most will just assume he has a little bit of a beer belly.
This means that often miss out on the public experience of a pregnant female, as she gets the comments, the questions and the smiles. It also has complications most people wouldn’t think about. Most people would not think twice before giving their seat to a heavily pregnant woman. When it is a male who is pregnant, and perceived as ‘chubby’, it will be expected that he move. Think about that for a bit!
7 They Can Still Breastfeed
A lot of transgender males are still able to breastfeed. They will commonly call it chest-feeding, as they do not have ‘breasts’. These males have gone through hormonal treatment to stop the growth of their chest. If their transition happened after puberty, and they were not able to stunt the growth, they have a surgical reduction. As women know, any form of breast surgery does not always mean that they can not breastfeed.
What we often forget, is that transgender males looks like males on the outside, but if they are carrying and birthing a child, they have stayed “female” on the inside. They have not had any form of bottom surgery to change their sex. They often hold off on this if they want to have children. They do not get a hysterectomy, and they stop taking their male hormones. This means that their body still works as a female and will produce milk!
6 They Take Their Place For Birth Very Seriously
The place we choose to give birth is an important one, and there are a lot of factors that we take into consideration. For a male giving birth, it can be even more important. Let’s not forget that through this whole fertility and pregnancy process, they are constantly being asked questions and having to explain their situation to countless medical staff, nurses, other patients and doctors. It is not a surprise that some may opt for a home birth.
One couple choose just that, they were getting tired of constantly explaining their situation, so they decided to go with a midwife and a home birth. Having a home birth has a large amount of privacy involved. They can be in the comfort of their own home, and avoid all the questions and curious eyes. They may not be offended by the questions or visitors, but they still want to avoid it and enjoy this special moment.
5 They Worry About Their Mental Health
Transgender couples are always very in touch and concerned with their mental health. They often struggle with gender dysphoria. Gender Dysphoria is a state in which you inner being does not match your outer self, and this can bring levels of extreme depression and anxiety. A lot of transgender males fear childbirth, as they fear that it will bring a dangerous level of traumatic gender dysphoria. Which makes a lot of sense.
As a female, identifying as a male, they have done a lot of work to make sure that they feel male. Not just a little male, but 100% male. Giving birth is probably the single most female-feeling experience anyone can go through. So, it makes sense that all the feelings of being “female” will come back during childbirth at a dangerous level.
4 They Feel Alone
When a female is pregnant, there are so many places of support and information where she can turn to. It is not hard to find a group to talk about your issues with, and feel like everyone understands your struggles. Transgender males, find themselves lacking this. They do not often feel welcome at the groups that women attend, again, they probably do not want to continually explain their situation.
The idea of a male getting pregnant is still relatively new, and there are not many groups out there of males getting pregnant. We are hoping this changes, so that males have somewhere to turn too. The men that are getting pregnant now, are taking it on themselves to create some Facebook groups in an attempt to help anyone else who finds themselves in the same position, pregnant and alone. There is currently a Facebook page title “Birthing and Breast or Chest Feeding Trans People and Allies” it has over 19, 000 members consisting of both trans people and medical professionals.
3 Questions, Questions, Questions
No one likes to be questioned about their life, by strangers, every day. This is common place for any one who is part of the transgender community. Add on a pregnancy, and the questions just keep on coming. People seem to forget that it is not polite to ask intimate, sexual questions to a couple the moment it is a male having a baby.
No one in their right mind would ever ask a pregnant woman how she got pregnant, and what it feels like. For some reason, they are not afraid to ask these questions of a male who is pregnant. They will constantly be asked if they got pregnant naturally, or if they did in vitro, and if they will be able to give birth naturally. It is understandable that people are curious about things they do not understand, and yes, education is key to removing stigma and judgement, but it should be properly researched and not asked to a stranger on the street.
2 More Questions
We are not done with the question section, if it is not enough that a pregnant man is question about the how he got pregnant, the questions will continue after the baby is born. When people see two males walking down the street, pushing a newborn in a stroller, most people will assume they are a gay couple who have adopted a child. Not that there is anything wrong with that scenario, but it can be a little hurtful.
People want to be proud of their children, male or female, and it can sting the heart a little bit when someone asks one of these couples if their baby is adopted. Before you say anything, yes, they are asked this question. When the question is asked, the couple is then in a tricky situation. If they tell them the truth, they will only be asked even more questions that are really no one’s business. If they lie, they feel they are denouncing their child. It can be an impossible situation.
1 It’s Like Being Pregnant
On a list titled, 15 Things It’s Like To Be A Pregnant Man, it is only fitting to end it one the simple fact; it feels like being pregnant. Despite all of the other struggles and challenges these men face, it still feels like being pregnant at the end of the day. Physically (and mentally) it is no different that a female being pregnant. They still get the morning sickness, the cravings, the aches/pains and the urge to pee every hour.
They may have a harder journey down the road, but they drive it the same and at the end of the day a beautiful baby is born into a loving family. More and more males are (hopefully) going to be going through this process, and maybe with some more exposure and education, the world can be a bit more of an accepting place. At the end of the day, all that matters is the love that little baby has.
Sources: psmag.com, ca.style.yahoo.com