Did you know that trans men can give birth? Well, it is, and they do. This trans man who gave birth has spoken freely about the process and what it is like giving birth as a man. (1)
The Story of This Trans Man Who Gave Birth
Trystan Reese was assigned the female gender when he was born. Since then, he has transitioned and become the man that he is today. When he transitioned, however, he decided to keep his female anatomy. Today, he is the trans man who gave birth and is one of the fathers of a beautiful boy named Leo. (1)
In a video on Facebook, he says that he loves his body and always has – female reproductive organs and all.
“I think my body is awesome. I feel like it’s a gift to have been born with the body that I did, and I made the necessary changes so that I could keep living in it, both through hormones and through other body modifications,” he explained. “I’m OK with my body being a trans body. I’m OK being a man who has a uterus and has the capacity and capability of carrying a baby. I don’t feel like it makes me any less of a man. I just happen to be a man who is able to carry a baby.”
Though they can’t imagine their family without Leo, at first, it took his partner Biff some convincing.
A Concern For Safety
Reese and his partner Biff Chaplow were already parents, having adopted Chaplow’s niece and nephew in 2011. After witnessing other trans men, some close friends of his, have healthy, responsible, and successful pregnancies, Reese decided that he wanted to have a baby, too.
At first, however, Chaplow was not sold on the idea. (2)
“Initially, he was pretty hesitant about the idea,” recalled Reese. “In fact, I believe the words he used were ‘absolutely not, this is the dumbest idea you’ve ever had.’ Mostly he was worried for my safety—what it would be like for a pregnant man navigating the world, both medically and socially.” (2)
After doing some more research, Chaplow finally agreed. They then sought the help of the knowledgeable doctors at Kaiser Permanente in Portland, where the couple lives.
Similar to a woman going off of birth control to conceive, Reese went off of testosterone hormones. From there, they got pregnant just like any other couple would. (1)
“The conception part just happened, the two of us at home, the old-fashioned way. I’m really lucky, the people at Kaiser [Permanente] have worked really hard on their trans competency. I received incredibly respectful, knowledgeable, competent care throughout my entire prenatal process,” Reese said. “I told my doctor ‘it’s my goal to be the most boring patient you’ve ever seen.’ He, of course, laughed because I’m a pregnant man.” (1)
It took about five months for them to conceive, and they were medically supervised the entire time to make sure that both father and baby would be safe and healthy. (2)
Support And Negativity
The couple has received tremendous support from the staff at Kaiser Permanente and countless other people. Unfortunately, but not unexpectedly, they have received a lot of hatred and negativity online. (2)
“We find that behind the shroud of anonymity, people feel pretty empowered to tell us what should happen to us, to our children, to our family,” Reese said. “The reason why you have a kid is because you want to see more love in the world, and remembering how difficult that’s going to be, it’s hard.” (2)
Of course, the couple did not let that negativity prevent them from having the family that they wanted.
Trans Man Who Gives Birth: Just Like A Regular Pregnancy
Outside of Reese being a trans man who gave birth, the pregnancy and delivery were just the same as a woman’s. The heartburn, morning sickness, mood swings, weird food cravings – all of it. (2)
They also went through the regular preparations for welcoming a new baby into their home as any other couple would. The main prep they had to do was preparing the son and daughter for the big change. Just like any family, the older children were both excited and nervous about the change. (2)
Language At The Hospital
Terminology at hospitals has not always been very inclusive of the trans community. Reese says, however, that this hasn’t really bothered him.
“It doesn’t bother me,” he explained. “I just accepted that I’m the one doing something unique. I know that most people, like 99.99 percent of people who give birth, are women. I can’t really bust into this world and then get mad at them for not really including me. I am the one doing something special. I’m the one who is sort of crashing their party. I thought the respectful thing to do was accept that the language wasn’t always going to include me.” (1)
He says that he knows he and Chaplow are not a traditional family. He expects that slowly, over time, perhaps this can change, just like many other things in history.
“I think back to when my grandmother was alive; she was the only woman in her entire city who drove a car. Women didn’t use to drive cars, and guess what? Now women can drive cars. Just because something has always been one way, that doesn’t mean that’s the right way or the best way or even the way that serves the most number of people.” (1)
The Most Important Aspect of Family Is Love
He is proud of his family and the love that they share and challenges others to change their perspective to be more open individuals.
“I would invite people to just see the many ways in which family has evolved over time. Look at our family and the love and respect that we have for each other. Continue to be open to thinking about all the different ways kids can come into this world and people can love each other.” (1)
If you want to follow along with Reese and his family’s journey, you can follow his Instagram.
- “Transgender Man Gives Birth to Healthy Baby, Talks Navigating Pregnancy as a Man.” Parents. Zara Husaini Hanawalt. August 2, 2017.
- “‘My body is awesome’: Trans man expecting first child.” CNN. Carma Hassan and Dakin Andone. June 8, 2017.