Though my road to parenthood may be rare, the grief I’ve suffered along the way has been felt universally. Last year, I suffered a miscarriage.
The pregnancy was not planned. No, in fact, it was the furthest possibility from my mind. Artificial testosterone flooded my veins in an effort to transform my “female” body into a “male” one, rendering it more difficult to ovulate.
If my stubborn ovaries did decide to release an unwanted egg, non-hormonal birth control was my insurance against it. The notion of a baby within my womb was so absurd, I had not known I was pregnant until I lost the baby. (It was later confirmed by my endocrinologist.)
I was so confused as I sat in my shower in an attempt to wash away the carnage dripping down my thighs. I didn’t know how to feel.
I had only been married for a month. I still hadn’t finished with my studies. A promotion loomed over my head, just out of reach. It would have been terrible timing for sure, but was that child unloved? For a while, I couldn’t answer that question.
I tried not to think with maternal instinct or heart. I drained my emotions, allowing only my brain to analyze the event.
It was a clump of cells, I told myself. It wasn’t even a baby yet. It felt no pain. It probably had a chromosomal defect.
For about a month, apathy born from my logic saved me from any pain. Then, the shock wore off. The agony came in strong, tsunami-sized waves. In low tide, I could rationalize and function. When it came crashing back in, I was swept into a sea of so many emotions, only to drown.
I was sad. Who would have that child been?
I was scared. Would I be able to have a child in the future?
I was angry. Why me?
I was guilt-ridden. I did this to the baby I was waiting for, didn’t I?
Though most trans men attempt to avoid the feminine art of pregnancy, I always wanted to be a parent. As a gay man, I knew what that entailed. I was just waiting for the right time.
In the meantime, I fantasized about diapers, strollers and an unconditional love I so desperately wanted to give.
With concrete confirmation that a life had been lost, these previously hazy imaginings became all too crystal clear. I had to admit to myself that I lost my baby. I lost the stroller. I lost the diapers. I lost their future.
This admission, however, came with the hope of finally healing, rather than ignoring the festering wound in my soul. I could finally let my tears flow — and so many of them did for so long. Perception of masculinity be damned! Men are allowed to grieve too.
Even now, 27 weeks pregnant with our planned child, I think of the baby I lost. I still weep from time to time, even though it is my personal belief that my son is the same one I lost, returned to me after I was ready for him. I just don’t know for sure; my faith has never been the steadiest, but the notion offers me a comfort I need.
Despite that comfort, I will never be over the loss. In fact, I’m so terrified of it happening again, of losing my precious Luke, it keeps me up at night. I share this fear with so many mothers and fathers.
It is a bond of pain that is born across all gender identities, connecting us in an understanding I wish we didn’t have.
Through this process, I found a community of love and acceptance, because it didn’t matter how I identified.
I was the same as every parent who has felt a loss. I count every kick, every roll, every flutter to ease my mind, just as all parents of losses do. Each moment of life is a blessing felt between us all.