Hormone fluctuations

Hormone fluctuations

Ryan (non binary trans) and David (cis) are a queer couple with a desire to have children. Happily married and in the prime of their lives. What do they encounter during their beautiful but sometimes complicated journey to a child of their own? In an intimate correspondence they share their thoughts and feelings with each other, and with us. They take it in turns to tackle a specific topic.

Dear David,

Way before I started this journey with you, I already knew I would have to quit testosteron to be able to get pregnant. Three months in advance to get all of the testo out of my system and then during the entire pregnancy. Of course I had some thoughts about how that would be and I found it exciting and a little scary to experience what that would do to my body. Would my beard be as full as it was? Would my face become more feminine? And what would it do to my emotions? I’m happy I knew in advance that it would be difficult but not exactly how difficult. Because boy this sucks sometimes. First of all my face has become a lot rounder again. Not that people on the street would notice, but I do see it when I look in the mirror. And my hips were already wide, but they became slimmer while taking testo. Now that’s all back to how it was. My beard is luckily permanent and only started growing a bit slower and became a little thinner. Those bodily changes are mostly unpleasant to myself but the outside world doesn’t notice it that much. What is noticeable, mostly for you, are my incredibly annoying mood swings. During a menstrual cycle there are hormonal highs and lows. Those happen not only the moment I start my period but also the days before, the days around my ovulation and actually really any moment that a hormone starts acting up. It goes from intense depressed days to days full of pain or days of irritation and being grumpy. I can lash out about the smallest things, like putting down a cup a little too aggressively on the counter, and then we fight about that. Not because I want that or because that cup is actually bothering me, but because on those days everything is too much. You of course didn’t know me yet in that way. I was wonderfully stable on testosterone. How is that for you, that I’ve been so emotionally different the past one-and-a-half years?

Dear Ryan,

You were the first trans person I started a relationship with. What’s more, in my cis people bubble I barely knew any trans people yet. Not knowing what a transition meant. The moment that we chose to have children I’d experienced a few things already with you when it came to operations. You warned me the whole time that everything would change once you’d stop testosterone. I couldn’t conceive at all what that would mean. Because I got to know you as a balanced person who reacted in a relaxed way to everything. But the swap of hormones changed a lot.

Oh how I learned that! The unpredictability of hormone fluctuations cause, as you say, nasty mood swings during your menstrual cycle and around your ovulation. They can make you so fierce, and that in combination with your temperamental personality is a recipe for disaster. Whenever we forgot that we would get into a series of fights during these periods.

As a cis man I’ve regularly realised what a blessing it is that I’m not burdened with monthly menstruation related hormonal fluctuations that throw my emotions out of balance. Weird, if you think about it, that we as a society are not at all accommodating to this and that we expect people who menstruate to function perfectly at all times. Of course everyone – cis, trans, man, woman, nonbinary – is influenced once every now and then by hormones that influence your behaviour. But we should really have structured our society better to accommodate people who menstruate.

Back to our relationship. Wouldn’t it be great for our partner if we could put a sign on our head that said ‘defect’ in those moments when we don’t feel like ourselves? I admire you that you are so open about your feelings and how it works for you now that your body is like this. To me, since you stopped taking testosterone, you’ve also become softer and more open than when I first met you. You’re just you and everything that makes you you and I am me, and everything that’s part of me.

If I could I would most want to be a beacon of calmth for you during these periods. One of those people who always reacts in a calm and controlled manner, you know those types. Unfortunately that’s not me and I bounce around with you and everything that’s bouncing in you. We both have to try our best to deal with the fluctuating moods that your hormones cause.

That your body changes and you’ve gotten curvier is something that you have to deal with sadly. I listen to you and talk with you but I don’t think I can ever feel what you’re feeling. I don’t know what it’s like to have curves that don’t fit with the person I am inside. But I think it must be nice that we have friends who do recognise that.
All in all I’m proud of who we are together.