A transgender view on pregnancy and motherhood

July 24, 2017
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By Samantha-Jane Rose

I have spent many nights laying down in bed, crying myself to sleep as I contemplate the fact that pending a miraculous breakthrough in fertility science, I will never be able to have children of my own.

I will never feel that life growing inside me, kicking and moving. I will never experience morning sickness or backpain, I will never experience all the things that women go through during pregnancy. And that pain… it is almost more than I can endure.

When men and women alike who may not even necessarily hate, or disapprove of trans- women say things like, “you’re lucky to never get a period” or “you should be grateful not to get pregnant”, it’s like someone has just said something hurtful to you that cuts so deep you can’t even respond. You just passively agree because you can’t articulate your thoughts and feelings enough to answer.

When I was born, I was assigned the male gender at birth, by the age of about five (earliest memory) I knew I was trans, even if I didn’t have the language to describe how I felt at the time, I knew.

What many people don’t understand about trans-women is that for many of us, motherhood is something we dream of, something that we would love to experience more than anything.

People say that we can adopt, we can seek surrogates to have children and to start our families and while this is both true and well intentioned, it still misses the critical point that for many of us, we will always have that innate desire to have our own children, to experience pregnancy and to feel a life growing inside us.

It’s such an incredibly difficult reality to have to accept that it’s unlikely you’ll ever know that feeling and have that experience.

We all share dreams and aspirations. I dream of being a mother, a wife and teacher. The love of my life, the man who has stuck by me for almost three years. Through the most difficult, darkest and tumultuous years of my life. He was there with me through my lowest points where I contemplated ending my life, where I experienced severe and sustained depression. He was there for me. Many nights I have laid awake in bed, crying as I contemplate the struggle we will have in starting a family of our own.

It’s incredibly heartbreaking when you know you have an enormous amount of love to give, that you would give anything just for the opportunity to love and care for a child of your own. It’s a pain we live with each and every day, a constant reminder as to the unfortunate and unfair circumstances of our birth that left us having to endure the reality that we’ll never have the same experience as other women.

We are not alone; cisgender women have to endure the pain of infertility too, it is a pain I would not wish on my worst enemy. It is one thing to have the ability to have children and not have them, that is a choice that should be respected, but to not be able to have children at all? It’s a constant weight on your shoulders, a heaviness we carry with us every day.

I try to console myself with the reality that I can still adopt and I have wonderful friends that would offer to be surrogates for me without hesitation. Still, we walk and function with this pain knowing for the considerable future. It’s a pain we must carry.

Even if I am unable to ever have children of my own, my one hope is that future trans-women will experience the wonderful advances of fertility science, which I hope will give them the wonderful opportunity to experience pregnancy and motherhood that I, like many trans-women and sisters out there, dream of. If that happens, at least I will know that all the pain and anguish I endured and live with every day would not have been in vain and that future generations can enjoy what I could not.

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