Source: Graphic from @mossthedoula on Instagram. | Description: Graphic with a light green background and darker green heart in the middle. In the heart is a trans masculine person with short hair and a beard chestfeeding a baby. Over the bottom of the heart is a red banner that reads “RESPECT TRANS PARENTS” in light green font.
Zan Thompson, Stakeholder Engagement Coordinator
November 7th is Transgender Parents Day. There are regular challenges when one embarks on the adventure of parenting, but there are additional challenges one might face when becoming a trans parent.
If you aren’t trans you might wonder, what are the challenges of becoming a trans parent? This blog will lightly explore some of the challenges I have heard about or encountered in the trans community when a person decides to become a parent.
Trans men who don’t want to carry their children must adopt, find a surrogate mother or a partner who wouldn’t mind carrying. Adoption is an important option that I don’t want to understate.
Childbearing has lost its popularity. Nowadays, people are becoming parents at older ages than previous generations. Finding someone to settle down with sometimes takes just as long as finding someone to bear a child. What are the chances that those two things happen simultaneously?
I know many trans women who want children of their own. Trans women cannot carry children of their own, so they have to either adopt, ask their partners to carry or co-parent as a stepparent. Before I heard the words co-parent and adopt my life was so dismal.
Even though I have not yet had the opportunity to adopt children or find a surrogate mother—both of which are currently above my pay grade—being able to watch my trans friends raise their children has been fulfilling.
I see the challenges they encounter and am impressed when I see them turn out these beautifully intelligent, strong-willed children.
I recently attended a collaborative artist workshop on zoom. While participating in art therapy, the facilitator spoke about mourning the life experience loss of having no children. I thought to myself, “Wow, maybe I should be doing that. Maybe I should be thinking about the fact that I have not met someone whose life plans aligned with mine and I haven’t adopted yet.”
I moved to Canada and of course I now have more possibilities and more opportunities when it comes to finding a sperm donor, artificial insemination or undergoing in vitro fertilization treatment, but earning enough money to afford parenting doesn’t happen right away and for some marginalized communities, it never happens.
Since I was a teenager, I always spoke to my grandmother about wanting to raise a son. She recently asked, “So when are you going to have this son?” I told her that I was not financially ready yet. She told me something very important that I will never forget. “If you are waiting for the perfect time to raise children, it will never come. You have to trust that your love will be good enough.”
That is the perspective I have held onto ever since. Yes, I want a biological son and/or would like to adopt, but if none of these things ever happen, I have to trust that the love I already experience in my community will be enough.