'I'm Trans Masculine And Just Gave Birth to My First Child'

I came out as trans masculine and non-binary nine years ago when I was 25 years old. Although I didn't grow up wanting to be male, I had thought about what I would look like with a flat chest. But I didn't hate my body, I just didn't feel totally comfortable in it. When I was 25 I realized I would feel much more comfortable presenting as trans masculine and so I began my medical transition and taking testosterone. Eight months later I had a double mastectomy in Florida.

I definitely felt like I was living a more authentic version of myself after I transitioned, and I was surrounded by people who were mostly supportive during that time. As I began to become more comfortable in my body they could see how much more comfortable in myself I was becoming. I've always had the support of my family which I feel very fortunate to have and overall, especially living in a big city like Seattle, my transition was definitely much easier than I think it could have been in the small town I grew up in.

In addition to my transition, around that time I also finished a degree in education and child development, and I had five years' experience as a teacher's assistant. I had been a nanny before I transitioned, and I noticed that I immediately began to earn ten dollars more an hour as a trans masculine nanny. I also started working with high profile families and travelling all over the world. As a trans masculine travel nanny, I went everywhere from Morocco to Italy, all over the U.K. and Japan. I noticed differences just in terms of sexism and the privileges that really came with being a male nanny.

Although I identify as trans masculine rather than male, people often read me as a cisgender gay man. So I'm aware that it does make me more visible to live in my identity as a trans masculine person. But I'm very open on social media and of course, when you're a nanny people do background checks. Working with high profile families I disclose information about my identity immediately and then I am able to have conversations about it with kids as we build relationships. That really helps expand their worlds as well.

I've known for my entire life that I've wanted children and I knew before I transitioned that I would want to carry at least one child. Often when people are transitioning they might freeze their eggs. I also thought about how I would feed my baby when I had my double mastectomy, those small decisions had to be made, and I don't regret them one bit. I don't think I would be here with Wilder if I hadn't taken care of myself and honored my identity back then.

However, there are certain parts of my story of becoming a parent that I haven't shared yet because I think they are Wilder's pieces of the story to share. How I became pregnant and whether or not I had planned to be a single parent are both elements of the story I believe are Wilder's to share. However, I have always had an intuition that I would spend a portion of my parenting journey as a solo parent. I'm open to parenting with another person but that person hasn't come along yet.

I found out I was eight weeks pregnant on April 17 this year and I actually only discovered that because from weeks four to eight of my first trimester I had COVID-19. It was right at the beginning of the pandemic and I didn't know I was pregnant at the time so I didn't end up in hospital, but had I known there are a couple of nights when I was very sick that I would have 100 percent taken myself to hospital.

Fortunately, I began to get better. But two days later I started to feel really unwell again and that's how I ended up at the doctors and discovered I was pregnant. I also discovered the reason I was so sick was because I had Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), which is severe pregnancy sickness and other symptoms. I went less than five days my whole pregnancy without throwing up.

Truthfully, I was really nervous going into the pregnancy, I had no idea how I would really feel. But being pregnant during a pandemic meant that I wasn't going out in public, so I had less fear around how the world was going to see my body, which I think is why I was able to dive into social media a little more.

trans, trans masculine, pregnancy, parenthood
Danny Wakefield in the final stages of his pregnancy. Danny Wakefield

I carried very large with Wilder, even though Wilder was not a large baby. So I think if I had been going out in public on a regular basis my experience would have been quite different. Instead, I was home alone almost every single day, just with my body, growing this baby. Despite the sickness, it was the most beautiful experience I've ever had. I've fallen in love with my body in ways that I've never experienced before.

I had been on testosterone for nine years, and now I have been off testosterone for a year in order to carry Wilder, and it's like parts of my body from my past are visiting. It's just been a really comforting feeling of welcoming a friend back, knowing that it's not going to be forever. So even if moments do feel dysphoric or uncomfortable, that's OK.

Although I have had moments of insecurity, the fact that I was able to use parts of my body that I was born with, while living in a body that I feel at home in really allowed me to grow this child in a way that feels like they can be at home in my body, too. I wouldn't have done it any other way.

I knew from the moment I got pregnant that I wanted to have a home water birth and for my entire 10 hours of labor, I was only out of the water for 30 minutes. I did experience pain, but my birth was the most amazing experience of my life. It was really an out of body experience. The thing I found about childbirth is that something happens and time doesn't really exist anymore. My midwives were all trained so there wasn't a moment when I was scared, although there were moments of wanting to go to the hospital for an epidural! But every time I said, "I can't," my midwives would look at me and say, "you are" and we kept going.

Although it was amazing, there were some challenges, Wilder didn't breathe at first and needed some assistance, and there was a moment when we considered that we might have to transfer to the hospital. At the end of my birth I did lose a fair amount of blood so I needed a shot to help contract my uterus and stop the bleeding.

But my birth has absolutely shaped the direction of my life; I'm now ready to go and get my certification as a doula. I used to be a professional photographer and my goal is to get into birth photography and be a doula, especially helping fellow trans and non-binary people with their births.

Danny Wakefield
Danny Wakefield shortly after giving birth to his first child, Wilder. ERIN LATTERELL BURK

My primary purpose for my visibility and sharing my pregnancy on social media is for other trans and non-binary people. If I had not stumbled across someone else's journey on YouTube when I was 25, I don't know if I would have had the words for my own identity and been able to start this transition. Also, a friend of mine, Tristan, carried his child three years ago and was public about it. He has supported me hugely along the way and guided me to set up some safety nets such as moderators on my social media.

People may see mainly positive comments on my social media, but in the background I have a team of five people who monitor all my pages and delete sometimes hundreds of hateful comments a day. If I posted images of my pregnant body, they were often shared in hate groups. Some days I get multiple death threats and my child has gotten death threats, so my moderators will only give me a heads up when the comments are all cleaned up and then I will go in sometimes and interact. I don't typically read private messages though, because sometimes things sneak through. I've lost track of the amount of times people hoped I had a miscarriage. It happened hundreds of times.

That's something that people like Tristan me have taught me how to deal with. Had it not been for him and all of the other trans masculine people who have been pregnant before me, I wouldn't have known that I could have walked this path. So, it was important for me not only to be visible but to make sure that that space was safe, which is really hard to do on social media.

The first few weeks with Wilder have been beautiful. This is what I have dreamed of my entire life. It has been all skin-on-skin all of the time. Between the two of us I think we've worn a shirt twice. We're mainly just hanging out at home.

I use a combination of Wilder's assigned sex pronouns as well as "they" and "them" when it's just the two of us, but when I am addressing the public, I'm only using "they" and "them." I want to shield Wilder from other people's prejudices or stereotypes and I also feel people assume that they have the right to know what somebody's assigned sex is. Until Wilder identifies with a gender, and they may not, I'm not sharing that part of their story.

Being a parent has been amazing, but it's been more challenging than I anticipated. I had anticipated that parenting during the pandemic wouldn't be as difficult as being pregnant during a pandemic. But the challenge is that I now have this beautiful child that I have wanted my entire life, and I want to share them with the world and connect with people the way I love connecting, which is in person.

Instead, I am terrified to take Wilder out into the world because of the pandemic. Although my parents were here for the first two weeks of Wilder's life, and it was great having them here, now I don't have any support so it's been pretty tiring.

But it's also so beautiful. Even though I'm so exhausted, I still find myself staying awake at night just to watch Wilder sleep, because I just can't get over how beautiful this life is.

Danny Wakefield is a sober, trans masculine father who thrives in educating people about the lives of trans folks through his social media platforms. He recently gave birth to his first child, Wilder. You can follow him on Facebook at Danny the trans dad and Instagram @dannythetransdad.

All views expressed in this article are the author's own.

As told to Jenny Haward.

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