'Pregnant Man's' Labor of Love

Yet when the time finally felt right for Nancy and I to have a baby, we thought long and hard about how to go about it, and the idea that we would use a surrogate mother started to make less sense. After all, I was fully capable of having a child myself. Getting pregnant had never been part of my plan, or even in keeping with how I lived my life as a man, but it was still biologically possible and thus an option we had to consider. After careful consideration—and after a lot of discussion about the hardship it might cause—we decided that no surrogate could ever care for her body during the pregnancy of our child as diligently and with as much love as I would. And besides, why would I ever pass along the privilege and responsibility of having my child to someone else, when I could, and should, carry the baby myself? I am not saying it was an easy decision—it was not. But in the end, the concerns we had about people not understanding or supporting our decision were not enough reason to farm out the pregnancy to a surrogate. Nancy and I decided that I would carry our child, and that she would breast-feed the baby. I would be the father, and Nancy would be the mother.

Once we reached this decision, I stopped taking testosterone. Nancy and I bought donor sperm from a cryogenic bank, and I got pregnant. It was an ordinary pregnancy in many ways, and in others it was not: while expecting I appeared in People Magazine, had carloads of paparazzi camp outside my home, fielded an offer from an artist who wanted to make a life-sized marble statue of me, was besieged by tabloid reporters from countries around the world, and became, literally overnight, at once the most famous pregnant person on the planet, and the least understood. Nancy and I did not go public with my pregnancy for fame or money. We actually turned down offers worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to tell our story, and instead chose to be in People for free. We came forward because there was simply no way I could hide from the world—a pregnant man is, after all, pretty hard not to notice. We knew that people were starting to talk about us; we could see them whispering about us in grocery stores or at the gym. I could slink around and wear really baggy clothing, or I could stand up proudly and face the future head on. Nancy and I chose to stand up. Yet neither of us were prepared for the media frenzy my pregnancy created, or for being seen less as human beings with feelings and dreams and more as symbols or inanimate cutouts on whom anyone could project their perceptions and prejudices. At one point I was the most searched-for person on the web, with nearly a million references on Google. The vast majority of items about me, I would discover, were negative.

At every step along the way I looked hard to find some precedent for what I was doing, to learn about anyone anywhere who could help me or give me advice. But there was no one. I wanted to look into the legal issues involving my pregnancy, but, again, I found nothing. And so I had to learn from my own mistakes, to rely on my own instincts, and to have faith in the sureness of my fight. It is one of the reasons I have written this book. I think my story is worth telling, for anyone facing long odds and daunting obstacles on the way to achieving the life they want.

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