I had already finished my studies in Early Childhood Education, the years continued to pass but the doubt he wasn’t leaving Beyond what her body and her document indicated to the rest, she had never felt like a woman but she also failed to identify with what all trans men were supposed to inevitably feel.
“I had trans people close by but I thought ‘I don’t look alike at all, so I shouldn’t be trans’. The feeling was that several items had to be met: being a person who hates her body, who does or does want to undergo hormonal treatments with testosterone and who does not even remotely want to gestate a child, give birth or breastfeed”account to Infobae the Spaniard Rubén Castro, who is 29 years old and studies Social Education.
Reuben not only he didn’t hate his body: the dream of his life was gestate and start her own family and, in that context, she didn’t know if she wanted to go into an operating room to have a double mastectomy and remove her breasts. On the contrary, the breasts could have a vital function in her life: that of suckling That baby I’ve always dreamed of.
“There are many myths about trans people, not just those. Another is the one about clothes, ‘what a bad time I have when I have to get dressed’”, he enumerates, and shows that this discomfort It is something that does not always happen to them.
“In my childhood I was adapting: if I had to make communion and put on a dress for myself it was not a traumatic event, it was like dress up. I mean, it was even fun.”
Lived childhood and early youth without referents, no one in whom to see his mirrored life. “So that I have grown up believing this message that only women could gestate. So I thought that if my desire to carry a pregnancy was so strong, I could not be anything other than a woman.
It was in 2015, when she was 22 years old and still believed she was a woman (part of the LGBT community, yes, but a woman), that she read the story of a young Venezuelan who lived almost 9,000 kilometers from Madrid. the young man was Fernando Machadoa trans man who was pregnant and happy: gestating had also always been the great desire of her life.
“I wrote to him and talked to him, I remember tears coming down my eyes, as if he was describing who I really was. I remember that I immediately knew who I was, as ‘of course I can also gestate and not be a woman’. Was a wake upthat moment when you say ‘now I understand everything’”.
The revelation was not that she could gestate, but that she was not obliged to keep showing up as a woman to do it. “I could gestate from my true gender identity.”
The path to parenthood
With the path clearer, Rubén began his social transition to be who he is today: a person trans masculine non-binary (“trans” because their gender does not match the one assigned to them at birth, and “non-binary” because they do not identify with what is within the male/female binary).
His story caused a stir Spain and reached all the media as the story of the “first pregnant trans man”, although the truth is that Rubén was not the first but the first who decided to tell it publicly, beyond those who sought to put him in the place of “freak” or “phenomenon”. It was her way of letting other trans people have referents visible, like the ones he had needed.
In the end, she did decide to start hormonal treatment with testosterone (what many trans men usually do to have a beard, a thicker voice and stop menstruating, among other things).
“But since they tell you that testosterone can affect fertility, before I went to freeze my ovules”, she says. “The other important decision was not to have surgery on my breast: I definitely wanted to experience breastfeeding.”
Only when she learned her eggs were safe did she start testosterone therapy and change her name and gender on her ID. He had been undergoing hormonal treatment for two years and being called by the rest in masculine when he made the following decision: he was going to start fertility treatment with donated sperm to be a dad
It was clear that Rubén did not feel that he had been born in the wrong body.
“It is that this desire to gestate has been so powerful that I have always felt very grateful to have this body that would allow me to do it. I always thought ‘if he had been a cis man (when the gender does coincide with the one assigned at birth) he could not have gestated, given birth or breastfed. So for me, more than a problem, it was a relief.
Rubén also felt another advantage: did not depend on anyone. It did not happen to him, like many single cis men, that they need a woman or another person with the ability to gestate to be parents. And it was with that freedom – “and because it has never been decisive in my history to have someone by my side to do what I felt like” – that he decided to be single dad.
She stopped testosterone to menstruate again but a list of obstacles. She had gone through the tedious process of freezing her eggs (from hormone injections to aspiration in an operating room) because testosterone was supposed to harm them, but now they told her they weren’t going to use them: they were going to artificially inseminate her eggs. that was producing at the time.
“It made me very angry, why do you tell me that testosterone affects my fertility and then you want to experiment with my body to see what happens?“, bill.
The first insemination was negative, also the second. Rubén became anguished, frustrated, angry: he had to go through this five times before he could achieve in vitro fertilization with his stored eggs.
“In the end, I was lucky,” he says, and makes quotes from the other side of the camera, overwhelmed by the heat wave that has hit Spaniards these weeks. “lucky” because the third attempt was positive. It was 2021 when Rubén found out that he was pregnant with placehis “child”, who has just turned 15 months already who breeds without assigned gender (this means that, for obvious reasons, de Luar does not say “it’s a girl” or “it’s a boy”).
Pregnant dad, breastfeeding?
It was a pregnancy with the same fears that most have: job instability, for example. “But I wasn’t afraid of how I was going to explain his story to him.”, clarifies. Rubén was surrounded by trans friends, he knew that the baby he had was going to grow up close to others who had also been born from the womb of his parents.
And since my wish was breast-feedDuring pregnancy I attended talks and workshops on breastfeeding, but breastfeeding was always talked about. I made a mental effort and focused a lot, I just wanted to have information so that my breastfeeding went well, but the truth is that I didn’tor I was going to be a mother but a father and the idea of ’breastfeeding’ left me out”.
What followed was that abyss that usually exists between the imagined birth and the one that touches. The same one that is usually between the romantic lactation of the advertisements for babies and those that are later achieved.
Giving him a breast was also part of that enormous desire, although the beginning was “catastrophic”, he says, and brings it down to earth. I barely had milk and in the hospital they only gave him creams for the cracks.
He fed her with a syringe connected to the nipple through a tube, but was quickly forced to add the formula. They gave her a medication to increase milk production, they switched to a relactator (a small bottle hung with the tube to the chest). He bought a breast pump, went through the arduous process of pumping some and putting it away to give to his baby in a bottle, went through two mastitis terrible.
“It has been more torture than enjoyment. Also, I was in full postpartum, one is much more vulnerable. If I go to ask for help and they talk to me about ‘breastfeeding’ and treat me like a woman even though my document says Rubén, for me it was not a safe place”.
It seemed that stories like his did not exist: “What I believe is that these processes have to be respected, they are Human Rights. One can understand that the other person has no experience, but to what extent do I, in that situation, have to put up with the lack of experience of the rest?
No one in the world of “breastfeeding” could tell her if the two years she had spent injecting testosterone could have affected her, nor if she could breastfeed while taking hormones. He was Alba Padroa well-known lactation consultant in her country who had already assisted a trans man while he was breastfeeding, who threw a rope at him when he was desperate.
It was eight hard months of mixed breastfeeding and a duel on the way, because Rubén had something called “hypoplastic breast” that made him almost have no milk, so nothing was as he had imagined.
During the last two months of breastfeeding she returned to testosterone, but now knowing that there was no risk to her baby. “I already needed it,” he smiles now.
Although Rubén lives in Madridone of the friendliest cities with the LGBT+ community in the world, she never breastfed her baby in public. “I didn’t do it for safety. I was afraid that they might do something to us. I also did not go outside during the end of the pregnancy, ”she laments. The same fear that someone might have in the most restrictive countries.
Your plan now maybe it is to enter an operating room and remove the breasts, which is known as thoracic masculinization surgery. “Before I kept my breasts because I wanted to breastfeed, I had that so clear that it was easy to endure. After breastfeeding, it is a part of my body that I do not like and that it no longer has a function in the future.”
That is one of the names that Rubén came up with to stop calling it “breastfeeding”, a construction that eraseeven if they exist, to “trans paternities”: human lactation, breast feeding, giving the breast, or, simply like that, lactation.