Health

This Couple Shares What It's Like to Be Pregnant and Trans

In many ways, Trystan Reese and Biff Chaplow are like any couple preparing for a new baby—they’re amassing adorable onesies and sippy cups, and mulling potential names. But Reese and Chaplow know they aren’t your average expectant parents.

Reese is a transgender man and he is pregnant. 

 

“I have been having a blast being pregnant,” Reese said on a recent episode of The Longest Shortest Time podcast. “It’s been really awesome.”

The Portland, Ore., couple was married in 2013 and already have two children, both adopted from one of Chaplow’s relatives. Their baby is due in July. 

 

 

Being a pregnant transgender man has its challenges. To conceive a baby, Reese had to stop taking hormones. Like many trans men, Reese took testosterone to make him look and sound more masculine. Reese became pregnant in 2016, but had a miscarriage at six weeks. At first Chaplow wanted to wait a year before trying to have another baby, but going on and off hormones would have been hard on Reese, so they decided to try again immediately.

When Reese first began to transition, he was told that using testosterone might mean he would never be able to conceive a child, Reese said in a Facebook Live video. While trans men need to stop taking testosterone to allow ovulation while attempting to conceive and for the duration of the pregnancy, past use does not appear to impact the ability to become pregnant, according to a 2014 study published in in Obstetrics and Gynecology.

While Reese loves feeling the baby move and grow, going out into the world as a pregnant man isn’t easy. When Reese goes out, he typically wears baggy clothes or a long scarf to cover his belly. He explained on the podcast that he is indeed hiding his body in order to protect himself.

“I know how to keep myself safe,” Reese said. “I’m just trying to blend in on the train and get to work safely every day.”

 

Their daughter, Hailey, wants to tell everyone she meets that she has two gay dads, one is trans, and he’s pregnant. While the couple appreciates their daughter’s pride, they’ve had to talk to her about not sharing their story with strangers, since not everyone is accepting of their family makeup. Although more and more same-sex couples are raising children in the U.S., Reese notes that seeing a pregnant man is still hard for some people to wrap their heads around.

Along with sharing their story on the podcast, the pair shares updates through a Facebook page where they talk about their experiences and participated in a 45-minute question and answer session last month.  They talk about advice for health care professionals—like using preferred pronouns and nixing the mommy and daddy labels. 

 

 

In talking openly about their family, Reese and Chaplow hope to spread awareness—and make it easier on the next generation.

“I want it to be easier for the next person that comes along that maybe doesn’t have the same resources and support that I have,” Reese said on the podcast.

There are a few things Reese and Chaplow won’t talk about—like whether they’re having a natural birth or an epidural or their plans for breastfeeding, or whether the baby will sleep in the bed with them or in a crib.

“Those, I have found are the three topics, for even an average pregnant person, it’s way too controversial and then everybody starts going wild,” Reese said.