It has been an hour and a half since our class discussion on the film about the pregnant man. I have a hundred different emotions swirling about inside me and I have spent the last ninety minutes trying and failing to be productive while these emotions cloud my brain. I’m not sure what I’m feeling, exactly. It’s a mixture of anxiety and fear, doubt and disappointment, and maybe a little bit of hope. Is that even the right word? I don’t know.
What I do know is that I want kids. My god do I want kids. I’m so baby obsessed that my friends often have to tell me that my looks of longing at babies in restaurants and on the street are actually pretty creepy and I look like I want to eat the thing. I’ve been having pregnant dreams on a regular basis since I was fourteen, but I didn’t always want kids. I had a hard time picturing myself with a romantic partner and always thought of myself as someone who would be too dedicated to their career to have time for a family. I didn’t want to try to balance the two. But I got to college and I changed my major. Staying up late in a lab or picking up graveyard shifts at the hospital was no longer in my future. I still couldn’t picture myself with a romantic partner, but I started thinking about a child. A tiny life that grows and learns and absorbs the world like a clever little sponge.
See, I’ve got this really complicated relationship with my body, especially my reproductive anatomy. I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome which is an endocrine disorder that can cause elevated testosterone levels, weight gain, excess hair growth, and ovarian cysts. It’s sort of a cycle because PCOS can be caused or triggered by high insulin levels and being overweight will make your body produce extra insulin. But then the PCOS (that was triggered by high insulin levels which was triggered by being overweight) will cause you to produce hormones and whatnot that makes you more likely to be overweight! But, whatever. It’s never been that big of a deal for me. My mother is more concerned about it than I am. But now that I’m thinking about a child, I’m wondering how PCOS will affect my fertility. Would I even be able to carry a baby? And then there’s this other problem. Which is the fact that I’m a medically transitioning trans man. Oops.
As of now, the testosterone injections I’ve been taking for almost a year have shut down my ovaries. If I stop taking it, there is a chance I will regain full function of my reproductive organs. But I don’t know if I’ve been on T for too long or if the combination of testosterone and PCOS will make it impossible for me to have a baby and the only way to find out is to try.
I know I want to carry a baby but don’t know if I am emotionally prepared to be a pregnant man. Watching the interview with Thomas Beatie was painful for me. I can just hear the thing people will say:
You’re a freak.
You’re not really trans.
I told you you weren’t sure.
Why would you do this to your family?
You shouldn’t be allowed to be a father.
It’ll be nearly impossible to find a doctor who will help me. Most surgeons who do top surgery (breast removal) require a letter from a therapist that says you are “trans enough” to have surgery. Can you imagine if I told someone I wanted to have a baby? They’d question my identity to no end! I can’t even explain my identity to myself. I don’t have the language or the energy to justify myself to other people. I just don’t. I’m sick of people gendering my body for me. I’m not “male bodied” or “female bodied.” I’m me bodied. My body is my own and mine only to define.