Some fathers shoulder carpool duty. Some fathers make lunch. And some fathers give birth.
AJ Kearns does it all. The Australian decided to hold off on making his physical transition to a male, after living as a man for three years, so he could give birth.
Although parenthood was nothing new to Kearns and his partner at the time, Zu White, complications during the birth of their first child led the 41-year-old to carry their second child himself.
The father of two's gender specialist, Dr. Fintan Harte, had not witnessed this scenario in over 30 years but supported the pregnancy.
Kearns was initially nervous to tell his psychiatrist. He said,
I was concerned that he wouldn't see me as a man or I guess maybe I wouldn't be trans enough or it would be misconstrued as a desire to be a woman.
Dr. Harte worried how Kearns would deal with such an inherently female process, and the pregnant father did struggle at times.
Regardless of what clothes you wear or anything else they start seeing the quintessential female form.
When Kearns and White were tasked with explaining their family planning decisions to their two children, the parents decided honesty was the best route.
Most probably my greatest fear is that my children will bear the brunt of people's ignorance… I think as long as the child knows it's deeply loved that's what makes a family. So the fact that I have my own gender history, I guess, or story makes me no less a good parent.
Six months after the healthy birth of his child, Kearns returned to his transgendered path, beginning his physical transition Harte claims was a necessity.
The psychiatrist said,
I think if he hadn't transitioned there is a very strong likelihood that he would have taken his own life.
Fortunately for Kearns, no such grim fate became his reality.
The happy father, who has his masters in fine arts, spent two years working with photographer Alison Bennett keeping records of his pregnancy and transition for a touring exhibition called “Inverto.”
Kearns' passion for creation of all kinds delivers an inspiring perspective of what family really means.