For Pride 2023, we sat down with Mandy & Morgan.
Morgan opens up about her IVF journey and navigating pregnancy as masculine-identifying.
Thank you for taking the time to talk to us, Morgan and Mandy! Would you introduce yourselves to our community, and how did you both meet?
Mandy: Of course! We met on Twitter back in Dec 2020. Growing up in a Christian, conservative community, I was still in the closet and scared to come out. After meeting her in person in April 2021, her love gave me the confidence to come out. We got married two months later, in June 2021.
Morgan, can you tell us about your IVF journey?
Morgan: Going into trying to conceive, we never thought we would have the road in front of us that we did. Amanda has PCOS & doesn't want to carry anyway, and I was given a completely perfect diagnosis. "You are perfectly fertile!" I was told. Living in Nashville at the time, we went to a fertility clinic there and did two rounds of IUI, both unsuccessful. We decided to do our own research and found most lesbian couples have success with ICI (at-home insemination), so we tried that. After over a year of ovulation tests, known donors, sperm-bank donors, and two early miscarriages, we knew something was wrong. I was diagnosed with unexplained infertility. We then turned to IVF. From top to bottom, IVF went INCREDIBLY. My egg count was high, my body responded to the meds, and we got lucky on the first transfer. I am now 15 weeks pregnant with our little boy.
Mandy, you've expressed, "It's my wife's pregnancy, not mine, but it is our baby" I love that. Can you express the importance of not claiming your spouse's journey?
Mandy: 100%! Every couple's journey is a little different, but watching her go through all she's been through is rough when people overlook her as the pregnant person just because it's more "typical" for a feminine woman to carry. Although I have cried with her, worried with her & spent sleepless nights with her. I haven't felt loss like her. I haven't undergone hormones and intramuscular shots for three months. Nothing can compare to what a birthing mother does for her child.
Pregnancy is a femininely gendered endeavour. Morgan, what has your pregnancy experience been like as masculine-identifying?
Morgan: It's been rough, but he makes everything a little easier (when he's not giving me raging heartburn…). Our social media journey started because I felt super different and alone. I wanted to meet people who were going through what I was. I felt no one could reasonably relate to what I was going through.. so I started sharing my journey online. It was tough. "Why isn't the real girl carrying." Just because I like boy's clothing doesn't mean I am not a woman. It doesn't mean I don't still want to carry a child. Some women don't feel called to carry. They just don't have that same want, and that's valid. Dressing masculine doesn't mean I don't have a uterus or ovaries, and it doesn't mean I don't yearn to carry my child.
What advice do you have for other masculine-identified individuals beginning their pregnancy journey?
Morgan: Screw what others think. Trying to conceive may be hard for you; what others say or think is just 1% of the pain you could endure. People can be super ignorant. So stay strong, be true to what feels suitable for you, and have a sound support system around you.
What do you think could be improved for LGBTQ+ parents?
Mandy: If I had one wish for LGBTQ+ parents, it would be that they are all treated and looked upon the same as other parents by all. It's an unavoidable thing that we will get looks.. comments. "How did she get pregnant" and such. But why is that? I hope that others not part of the community educate themselves, be open-minded, move with grace, and don't place "gender norms" on people. Not everything is always as it seems.
Lastly, a fun question for you, Morgan. What have you been craving?
Morgan: Funny enough, I haven't had a ton of specifically odd cravings YET... but I am always hungry. I've gone through phases where sometimes I'll crave sweet things for a short while but usually crave salty foods. When the craving comes, I need that thing within 30 minutes or less, or I will most likely freak out. One thing that has been a huge aversion for me throughout 90% of the pregnancy is eggs… Absolutely not! I know Amanda is waiting for me to crave odd combinations so she can try them, lol!