- When I was younger, I realized that pregnancy and childbirth scared me.
- As I got older, I learned that fear was a symptom of my gender dysphoria. I transitioned at 19.
- I have decided that I do not want to have children in order to protect my physical and mental health.
When I was 7 years old, I played in the backyard of my family’s house in Wisconsin with my “Power Rangers” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” toys. Meanwhile, my sisters played house and pretended to have babies.
I liked to imagine myself as a superpowered green turtle living in the sewers of New York City. My brothers imagined a family in which they were mothers.
As I got older, I saw that people around me kept daydreaming about their own nuclear families and then having children. But my disinterest in raising a child only grew. When I finally transitioned, I accepted the fact that I didn’t want to be a parent. I’m just not passionate about having a child because I see how hard it can be. I also don’t want to have a child because of my gender dysphoria.
From a very young age I knew a lot about giving birth and it scared me.
When I was 5 years old, I became especially interested in birth and babies because my two middle brothers were born in rapid succession, less than 18 months apart. There were complications with both of our births, and I managed that stress by reading and looking at real-life pictures in our family’s copy of “A Boy Is Born” by Lennart Nilsson. I was fascinated by pictures of sperm meeting eggs or detailed diagrams of the female reproductive system.
Many of the images were overwhelming, but arming myself with information helped me feel safe. My mother would further ease my fears by answering my questions about reproduction, conception, and pregnancy. She also recounted anecdotes from her own experiences.
At 10 I learned about my body. I realized that I had the same bits and pieces that I found in “A Boy Is Born” and that they could feed and create another human being.
When I was 13, my friends at Sunday school started talking about being moms and wanting to have a big family one day. After years of research, he knew what that would entail, and he wanted no part of it. My friends and I loved to talk about horses and paint our nails, but I didn’t understand their desire to be parents.
It turns out that my disinterest in being a mother stemmed from my gender dysphoria.
From the day I was born, they told me I was a girl. She had a womb, which meant that she would have babies and she would be a mother after I married a man. But when puberty started, I was horrified. My breasts grew and I became self-conscious. I became hyper aware that I wanted my chest to be flat. I remember starting each day with a mountain of anxiety as I tried to figure out how to hide my breasts in my clothes. I had to decide whether to bandage my chest.
I felt insecure and insecure in my body, and this was all a sign of my gender dysphoria. It was as if I had been given the wrong instructions for the body I had.
Over time, I realized that I was never a girl. I started my transition at the age of 19 and had surgery on my upper part.
As my gender dysphoria lessened a bit and I gradually became more comfortable with who I really am, I finally accepted that not only did I not want to be a mother, but I also did not want to be a mother.
As I transitioned, I realized that not having children benefited my physical and mental health.
Being pregnant is something I have nightmares about. Even though my body can physically get pregnant, the thought gives me goosebumps and my stomach hurts. In some cases, the thought of becoming pregnant has caused me to have a panic attack.
These are the same reactions I had when I struggled with my chest. This is all related to my gender dysphoria. I have no desire to inflict this stress on myself again by getting pregnant.
I have decided that I do not want to be a father so that I can take care of my own well-being, both physical and emotional.
If I ever doubt my decision, I turn to my friends to see how confident they are.
When I look at my friends who are raising children, I see their intense desire to have a baby, become parents, and start a family. I now live in a largely queer and transgender social circle, and the road to family planning is steep and difficult for most of them. His certainty for a family is the only thing that keeps them sane throughout the entire process. I know I don’t have that same driving force.
It is his certainty that affirms my decision not to have children.
Instead, I take the opportunity to be a better friend, partner, and support system to the people I love, especially those who have beautiful families with brilliant children.
I know that being a parent is not something I want in this lifetime, and by honoring that decision, I take care of my mental well-being as well as my physical health.