You know what gives us a serious case of the warm and fuzzies (apart from these quintuplets in MATCHING HATS. MATCHING HATS PEOPLE!)? Seeing couples realise their dream of having a baby of their own.
However their family unit is arranged, whoever they love (because #loveislove ammiright?), especially if they’ve faced opposition based on their race/sex/sexual preference, seeing a couple become parents to a desperately wanted baby is just the bee’s knees.
In 2017, families come in all shapes and sizes, and at Mum Central we LOVE it. Sometimes however, there’s a story that stops you in your tracks and gently reminds you just how amazing the world we live in today really is.
Take the story of Trystan Reece and Biff Chaplow, two dads from Portland, Oregon who have just welcomed their son Leo into the world. The slightly miraculous twist? Both Trystan and Biff are Leo’s biological parents AND Trystan carried and birthed Leo.
Trystan is a transgender man, which means he was born female and raised as a girl. He transitioned via hormones around 14 years ago, retaining his reproductive anatomy. After adopting two children, he and his partner Biff wanted to grow their family. So they consulted with doctors and found out that it would be perfectly healthy for Trystan to stop taking hormones, just like if a woman were to stop taking hormonal birth control, and conceive a child naturally. Which is what they did! Trystan is 36 weeks pregnant with a healthy baby boy, who is due in July. #thisistranspregnancy #transgender #lgbtportland #lgbtq #pride
Trystan, who was born female and raised as a girl, began transitioning into a man during his 20s. The transition involved hormone therapy which helped to deepen his voice and develop a number of characteristically ‘male’ qualities. Though Trystan had been taking hormones for more than a decade, he still retained a functioning uterus and ovaries. That meant he could conceive naturally and carry a baby to term. And so that’s what the couple decided to do. Even so, their decision to pursue a transgender pregnancy came with a couple of speed bumps.
From two to four to five
Biff, Trystan’s partner of seven years (and husband for four), was initially resistant to the idea, despite the couple already welcoming two children into their transgender family. They’d adopted Biff’s niece and nephew soon after getting married.
“In fact, I believe the words he used were ‘absolutely not, this is the dumbest idea you’ve ever had.”
“Initially he [Biff] was pretty hesitant about the idea,” Reese told Parents. “In fact, I believe the words he used were ‘absolutely not, this is the dumbest idea you’ve ever had.”
Biff’s concerns for the transgender pregnancy were based around Trystan’s safety; both medically and socially. Though transgender parents are becoming a more regular part of the social landscape, it’s still not considered ‘the norm’ and that was something that worried Biff.
After lengthy discussions however, and a meeting with a fertility specialist, the couple decided to go for it. Trystan stopped taking the testosterone supplements that had been suppressing ovulation and roughly five months later, was pregnant.
“We have the chance to do some good”
It was then that the couple decided they wanted to share their remarkable story with a wider audience.
“We thought we had the chance to do some good here. The whole reason I wanted to be more public was because I’m ready for the next trans narrative,” Trystan shared with Buzzfeed.
“I understand that we are not a typical or traditional family. 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.”
Trystan describes his pregnancy as ‘textbook’ with fatigue, nausea and plenty of aches and pains. During the eight months growing a tiny human, Trystan and Biff took every opportunity to work towards de-stigmatising the less traditional but more than valid ‘family unit.’
Love is love
On 16 July, 2017, Trystan’s transgender pregnancy ended in the best way possible. He gave birth to Leo Murray Chaplow, swelling the ranks of the family and reminding us that love is love and #lovewins every time.
“I understand that we are not a typical or traditional family,” Tristan told Parents. “But I think back to when my grandmother was alive, she was the only woman in her entire city who drove a car. 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.”
Want more feel good fodder which celebrates the diversity of the modern family? Check out the way Playschool is making waves in the non-traditional family stakes.