A transgender man who chose to keep his womb when he transitioned so he could carry his own child said pregnancy was ‘f*cking awful’.
Freddy McConnell, 32, is the subject of a new BBC film, Seahorse: The Dad Who Gave Birth. The documentary charts his journey towards fatherhood, showing him giving up testosterone so he was able to conceive.
Speaking of the pregnancy experience, McConnell said in the documentary: ‘If all men got pregnant then pregnancy would be taken so more seriously and talked about.’
Check out the trailer for the documentary below:
F*ck, it’s f*cking awful. If men had to go through this all the time you would never hear the end of it.
McConnell managed to fall pregnant on his second attempt of using a sperm donor.
In order to conceive, he had to stop taking testosterone – which had a number of effects. His body essentially went into reverse: the facial hair gets wispier, his hips broaden, his tummy softens and he starts to speak less from his chest and more from his throat.
He also started having periods again. As reported by The Guardian, McConnell said: ‘I don’t like the idea that I’ve got tampons in my bag.’
In the documentary, we see that McConnell was able to give birth naturally, opting for a water birth.
Speaking of his decision to take part in the film, McConnell said:
I think I totally underestimated the difficulty of being on camera and being filmed a lot. I remember thinking ‘this is really odd I’ll get used to it’, but I never got used to it.
This is a film about me having a baby. But what I feel like I’m going through isn’t me having a baby or pregnancy, it’s a much more fundamental total loss of myself.
Director Jeanie Finlay told The Guardian ahead of their film screening that it was the most challenging film she’d ever done, calling it an emotional marathon.
I don’t think anybody realised the dysphoria that Freddy felt would be quite so difficult. You put someone in a situation that is enormously purposely challenging and then you add a film into the mix. That is really tough.
Despite his mother, Esme, believing he would ‘grow out of it’ when he was younger – she appears in the documentary and is hugely supportive – McConnell described it as a ‘cosmic toothache’.
He told The Guardian:
I once heard it described as a cosmic toothache, which is quite apt. And I’d felt it since the age of three or four. I talked about it very rarely, but quickly realised as a young child it wasn’t an OK thing to talk about. People don’t like it when little kids use terms like sex change, and they tell you to shut up.
McConnell’s next battle is with the UK’s legislation: the General Register Office, going by the rules established in 1836, refused to name him as the father.
His objections have led to a High Court battle against the Government, with his lawyer arguing that it’s a breach of Freddy’s human rights to force him to be recognised as the baby’s mother.
You can watch the full film on BBC iPlayer.
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After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BCTJ-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He’s now left his Scottish homelands and took up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.