The phenomenal Nathan D. and Anaya (15 months).
Nathan's journey to parenthood is different than most as he is transgender. Nathan lived as a female for his first 17 years before beginning his transition. He always knew he wanted to have kids and though he had a double mastectomy at 18, he hadn't had a hysterectomy. Nathan is adopted himself, so he considered adopting but he got pregnant and he and his partner decided to just go for it.
Body dysphoria was a big struggle when he began to show at 5 or 6 months and everyone assumed that he was female. The point came where he needed to wear women's maternity clothing and he grew out his hair. It was a difficult process but Nathan knows who he is and tried to rationalize that the pregnancy was a relatively short time of his life to face this. Family members questioned his transition and wondered if he was going to be Anaya's mom or stay male. He had to reassure them that he was a man, he just didn't fit into the gender binary. He is male but he does have a vagina and can carry baby, and so he did.
Though it was a lot to wrap their heads around his family remained supportive and he had an OBGYN that was very trans friendly and respected his name and pronouns. His medical team were supportive, honest, and never transphobic about anything. They worked with him in his desires to have as natural of a birth as possible even though that was not the eventual outcome. During pregnancy Nathan's hormones were all over the place and he needed to be put on Zoloft to help him manage and regulate. Being in the hospital for birth, brought about some difficulty. Nathan was misgendered by the staff quite frequently but through it all he kept reminding himself that they just didn't understand, they were used to seeing women.
After 20+ hours of labor, Nathan got an epidural because his contractions were on top of each other and he was only 5 cms dilated. His doctor warned he would likely need to deliver via cesarean as he was not progressing with Pitocin and other interventions. Once in the OR Nathan began having panic attacks and as soon as they got Anaya out they needed to put him under to manage his blood pressure and bleeding. Nathan woke up in recovery with his partner and baby and felt like he had missed her birth. He immediately felt depressed and longed for the skin to skin and connection he had hoped for. He had lost so much blood he needed two transfusions and found himself terrified to hold his daughter. The first three days of Anaya's life, Nathan felt too weak to connect and wondered if he never would. Once home, Nathan was on his own to recover and care for his daughter while his partner worked but they got through it. Remaining on Zoloft postpartum helped Nathan to cope and after about a month he began to feel much more confident and connected.
Nathan got sober in July of 2013, he had been pregnant before, in January of that same year and chose to have an abortion. The state of his life at the time made it clear that having a baby was not the right option, but that experience helped him see that he wanted to be sober. Nathan's abortion was January 19, 2013 and was one of the worst days of his life. Anaya, however, was born, two years to the day later. This amazing coincidence has helped him to see that she's always been with him.
Learning how to live and cope sober and then learning how to be a parent was a lot in such a short span of time but it's gotten easier. Nathan hasn't always had an easy time caring about himself but having his daughter and partner in the picture keeps him grounded. At the end of the day, she's his reason.
After living as a female for 17 years, Nathan knows how hard it is growing up as a girl in today's society. There is so much pressure and so many messages about how you should be and how you should look but it's all lies. Everyone is beautiful in their own way and every one is different. When Nathan got pregnant he thought he was the only one but thanks to the internet and other people speaking out was able to find community. If sharing his story can allow one person to relate to him or feel beautiful in their own skin, it's worth it. When Anaya is older, Nathan wants her to see this picture and hopefully find herself more comfortable and more body positive because of it.