Reuben Sharpe is a 39-year-old trans man. He started taking hormones for his conversion 12 years ago. He met his non-binary partner, Jay who is also a wedding photographer just like Reuben. After six years, Reuben realized that he wanted children. He consulted with a trans doctor and found out that he could carry a baby in him like any other woman. He is now a proud father of baby Jamie.
Although there are many transgender men that have bore kids, Reuben and Jay are among the first couples to share their stories with the world.
A decision that literally changed their lives.
Reuben and Jay were together for a while. When Reuben decided he wanted to have a child it was hard for him to break the news to Jay. Reuben was sure that if Jay was not okay with the idea, they would have to break up. When he broke the news to his partner, he was accepting and supportive. Jay also wanted similar things.
The next step was to get off testosterone in order to carry the baby. He went through many tests on his hormone levels and fertility. And at one point his friend offered to carry the baby for them if he was unable to.
After going through the process, he finally got his period for the first time after 6 years. And he was ecstatic. He said, “It was such a relief. It’s weird, but I knew it was the start of something I wanted so badly.”
The next phase was to get a sperm donor. After careful thought, the couple decided to pick a trans woman they had found on Facebook. It is a big decision to make when it comes to sperm donation. But they said it felt right. They sent her message on Facebook and luckily she agreed.
After which the sperm was inserted into Reuben’s womb at a private fertility clinic that cost them six thousand pounds for three rounds of treatment. The first time they tried it didn’t work for medical reasons. They almost had given up hope. But they went ahead and tried again. And this time Reuben was pregnant.
A rollercoaster of emotions.
The next couple of months were a rollercoaster of emotions for the couple. The joy of the impending birth. Then there was the discomfort of getting strange looks in the hospital and people not being able to understand their situation. There were a lot of things the couple went through before the birth.
Jay said sometimes they would be treated like celebrities. Reuben felt weird when people did not ask him his gender. It started to feel frustrating to him. The worst part was all this was happening in the most important part of their lives. They just wanted a normal experience.
“It’s bizarre you wouldn’t just avoid saying ‘she’. People asked very invasive questions about body parts and how I’d give birth. Giving birth isn’t a trans thing. Women give birth in different ways too.”
But they had to get through it no matter what. At Brighton’s Royal Sussex County Hospital the couple was treated by specially trained midwives. They praised the way they were treated.
They also got a positive response from their neighbors. Reuben was very slow in getting the bump. He said people just kept asking him if he had put on weight. A sweet old guy who they lived near kept telling him that he had eaten all the pies.
Reuben loved the whole process of getting bigger. He was a man and he was pregnant. There are a lot of changes he would have had to go through but he felt free of it all.
Reuben mentioned, “Women struggle with their bodies when they go through pregnancy too, so it isn’t something a trans man would exclusively feel.”
The wait was finally over for this trans man and his non-binary partner.
Reuben was three weeks late and started to wonder what was happening. He even went for jogs around the park to initiate the process. But the wait was probably worth it. His water broke the night before he was booked in for an induction. They had a birthing pool as they had decided to have home labor. But he was there for 11 hours. After which he was rushed into the hospital and had to get a c-section. This was fine but the recovery was horrible. He said he couldn’t move for five days.
After all the emotion, the wait and pain. Eleven hours in labor and then the surgery, an adorable baby girl was born into the world. Jaime was everything Reuben and Jay had wished for. And she was finally here.
Although the birthing process is a female experience, it did not feel challenging for him as a trans man.
Even though Reuben carried the baby this time Jay said he would be open to doing it in the future. The couple plans to get married and are keen not to be boxed off into mom and dad roles.