Today, I’m going to talk about something that I have not publicly spoken about before… at least not on this platform anyway. Not because I try to hide anything about who I am; I just don’t feel that it has ever been relevant until now. However, saying that, I have noticed that I try to keep myself out of certain conversations and not talk about certain experiences, so that I don’t ‘out’ myself. And because I just know people aren’t set-up to talk to a person like me.
I kinda feel like I’m building this up to be bigger than it is – sorry! Well, let’s just get straight to it, I guess? I’m a Dad, but also gay and trans. As you all are aware, I have a gorgeous little 5-year-old boy and that we are now expecting another baby. For me, this means that I have carried my babies. Both me and my partner, Jamie, think of us as ‘lucky’, in the sense of how many gay couples can have their own biological little humans?
Giving birth was one of the hardest things I have ever done, and I will write about my birth story one day soon, and carrying my baby was also an amazing experience that I couldn’t wait to do again. Both me and Jamie feel lucky and I’m amazed at what my body has been able to accomplish. I created such a beautiful little human and I’m so proud to be his Dad.
Miscarrying as a Man
Last year, we started trying for another baby and in preparation I came off my hormone injections and we were so thrilled to be growing our little family. In no time at all I fell pregnant; it happened extremely quickly… in the first month of trying! We were so shocked at how quick it happened, but we were equally ecstatic.
Sadly, it wasn’t meant to be, and we were never meant to bring our baby home. Just a few months later, we lost our second baby. I will always remember the day I started miscarrying because it was so unexpected. I had suffered severe morning sickness for three months, but this day was different, I woke up feeling great. I had some energy back, so we decided to go for a family walk and play some footie at the park with Joshua. It was February, so we were all wrapped up cosy in our coats and having a blast running around the field. I was taking it easy, of course, having felt unwell for so long I couldn’t quite keep up with Joshua and Jamie, but I was more than happy to stand back and watch them play. I felt so settled and bursting with excitement to be holding such a big secret from Joshua. I watched my two boys play and imagined our little baby alongside them. But then… it happened. I felt something trickle down and I rushed to the toilet. At first, I was convinced it was implantation bleeding, as the same happened when we were having Joshua, but a few hours later it had gotten much worse and the pain started. I called for Jamie from the bathroom and we were at the doctors later that evening.
I have never witnessed a woman go through miscarriage, so I can’t properly compare my treatment however I honestly feel that it was different for me. It must have been. Surely if women were treated the way I was, there would be some mention of it somewhere? Out of all the miscarriage stories I read online, see on social media, I have never read a single negative story about how the hospital or medical services treated them.
Somehow the hospital and every medical professional I saw made it worse. I spent a week sitting around in waiting areas at the hospital, out of hours surgeries and clinics. Not a single person would tell me precisely what was happening, even though we knew. The most treatment I got at one point was some prodding on my stomach and hearing them tell me, “Well, the good news is we are looking at a possible miscarriage, not an ectopic pregnancy” and asking me questions along the lines of, “Did you even want this baby?” There was never an ounce of care, out of everyone I saw.
When I finally managed to get into the Early Pregnancy Unit at the hospital so that they could run some tests, the way they treated me was abysmal. I waited around for my blood tests, being rushed in and out of each room within a minute or two, no one saying much at all. I get it, there’s not much too say, right? But surely something has to be better than rushed in and barely sitting down before I’m carted off again?
I was told to go back up to the Early Pregnancy Unit for my results after two hours. Settling down with the idea that we were going to have it all confirmed soon, it was worth the wait. Waiting two hours in a small hospital cafe was worth to have it confirmed to us. We sat silently in the café, slowly sipping on our drinks before returning to the EPU. As I got into the waiting area, my phone rang. I ran out to answer it and fuck me, they were ringing me from the office two feet away. Clearly unwilling to speak with me face-to-face, they bluntly told me the facts over the phone.
When the lady explained that I had, had a miscarriage, she informed me in such a way that you would have thought I was being told I lost my wallet. It was so careless and cowardly (hiding behind an office door that I could see from where I was standing) and I was hurried off the phone and dealt with as an inconvenience. I think the phone call lasted 20 seconds or there abouts.
In the same moment, I had to come to terms with losing our baby and be very aware that no-one gave a shit; not even those who deal with miscarriages every day. No-one was equipped to talk to me about it or could even look me in the face whilst I was under their care.
I spent each day cuddled up on the sofa or in bed, just crying. Crying to myself because I had no-one else. Other than my partner and Mum, of course, I was alone. When the night came that it all ended, I held our baby in the palm of my hand. I will never forget looking at what should have been our baby, wondering what they would have looked like and grieving for not only my baby but losing a person. In that moment it hit me that we would never be able to create this little one again. I lost my baby and a person; someone who I will never know or be able to recreate. Their personality, temperament, ambitions, physical looks and everything that makes them… them, would never bless our family again.
Somehow, I was numb, but my heart was also breaking. I may have only been pregnant for a short period of time, but our baby was so loved already. Sometimes I feel silly for grieving for our baby and compare myself to others who lost theirs further along, but I then realise grief has no limits. It doesn’t matter how long I was pregnant for; we had created and lost our second baby.
Being trans has stopped me from being able to feel connected to people, and them to me, especially with those who have been through the same experiences. I can’t join in with discussions online around miscarriage, because they expect only women to have had gone through it. It often feels like there is a huge wall preventing me from talking freely and to be involved in natural conversations with people who care.
I get it, it’s a different situation to be in. Talking to a man about being pregnant and/or miscarrying is strange to some, but it’s my life. Choosing to not say anything at all over perhaps just being careful with your words is shitty. I’m not someone to get offended over silly things people say when they don’t know what to say and very much take everything someone says with the meaning and intent behind it. Unless you plan on being a dickhead, avoiding talking to a trans person about their parenthood is just hurtful.
To be truthful, we only had one genuine heartfelt reaction when we told the family the news that we lost our baby – and that was from my Mum. She has been the only person to be there for us throughout. I phoned her the second I knew I was losing our baby and she has been there every single step since. She was the only one to cuddle me, offer comfort in any way she could and to make sure that I was doing as okay as I could be. We did receive some flowers and a card from someone at Jamie’s work, which was a lovely gesture. But no-one else around seemed to care or acknowledge what was happening and I think it went far deeper than just not knowing how to act around a someone who was miscarrying. We know for sure that if I was a woman, I would have gotten a much different reaction from family.
We even had some people in the family question whether it was true or not – indicating they thought we were lying. People were so insensitive it was unreal.
What’s not fair is that we will never get to experience parenthood and everything that comes with it the same as a straight, cis-gendered couple. Surely, just surely, not everyone experiences radio silence when it comes to announcing a pregnancy or when things start to go wrong?
I would love to say that there has been some good to come out of all of this, and that’s us now knowing who our true family is… but it would be a lie. It is anything but good, but you know what? We are coming to terms with it, knowing that the world just isn’t set-up for families as unique and colourful as us. Not even our own families, at least not yet.