Christine and Lisa are raising their own modern family as a lesbian couple with 4-month-old twins, Eden and Lucas. But there's one thing that makes this modern family different from the rest: Lisa is the twins' biological mother, and Christine is their biological father.
Ten years ago, Christine was Chris. And before transitioning into Christine, she froze her sperm.
Christine says she did just about every "boy activity" there was growing up. "I was an altar boy. I was in sports. I was a Boy Scout," Christine says. "I guess on the outside it looked as if I had everything—I had the perfect life. But on the inside, I felt as if it was fake. I didn't feel as if I was gay, which was the closest thing that I knew. I just knew I had these feelings and it just didn't feel right."
Christine graduated college and eventually became an officer and a flight surgeon in the Navy. Despite Chris'—now Christine's—accomplishments, she couldn't shake the feeling that something was off. It wasn't until Christine was 30 years old that she realized she was born into the wrong sex.
"It was a relief to finally understand myself, but also it was like Pandora's Box," Christine says. "Now I knew what was going on and I had to tell my family and everything, and there was a long road ahead of me. "
Christine says transitioning from a male to a female was the scariest thing she's ever done. "It was like stepping off a cliff," she says. "Like, how the heck am I going to look and dress? I wasn't real feminine when I was a guy."
As Christine made the transition away from Chris, hormones played a large role in making her more feminine. However, she says the real challenge was stepping into the dating scene. Christine dated both genders, but she found herself more drawn to women. "Lesbianism has its own culture, and I was coming from a definite heterosexual world," Christine says. "So when I started dating, I was very self-conscious. "
Christine turned to online dating for help, and after a series of bad dates, she eventually found Lisa. After emailing for a few weeks, they had their first date and Lisa says they "clicked" right away. Throughout her new dating life, Christine had one rule: Before she kissed anyone, she would tell them she was transgender.
When she eventually told Lisa, it didn't change a thing. "It made me more interested in her," Lisa says. "I wanted to get to know her as a person. She was gorgeous, she was intelligent, she was articulate and she seemed interested in me. So by her telling me that she was transgender or had been a man, it did nothing to me at all except make me want to get to know her better."
Christine and Lisa eventually moved in together, and within a year they started trying to have a baby.
Christine says one of the big questions she had before the surgery was whether she would be able to have children. After doing some presurgery research, she discovered that this would be possible—as long as she froze her sperm before the transition.
Lisa says she was "elated" when she found out Christine had frozen sperm. "Around the age of 32, my biological clock started thumping," Lisa says. "I never knew [if] I would be able to have kids. I always thought I would end up adopting."
After an unsuccessful attempt at artificial insemination, the couple turned to in vitro fertilization for help. Lisa got pregnant twice but miscarried. When she got pregnant the third time, she and Christine were overjoyed to find out it was with twins. Nine months later, Eden and Lucas were born.
What some people might find especially interesting about Christine is that she's able to breastfeed. She says it's not as complicated as it sounds. "A lot of women who adopt go through a regimen of hormones before they have their child, and that enables them to breastfeed by the time they get their child," she says. "So I just did the same protocol. It's basically simulating pregnancy with hormones, and since I transitioned 10 years ago, I had enough breast development where it was basically the identical situation."
Today, Christine is a doctor who specializes in transgender surgery. Even though she had to go through drastic circumstances to find her happiness, she says her life feels like a miracle. "To go from being this guy to being a mother, having the career, everything I always wanted ... I mean, I feel like I got too much. Like, more than anyone deserves."