Trans Dad Shares Intimate Home Birth Photos To Shatter Stigma Around ‘Dad Deliveries’

Matan and Yuval look lovingly at their baby
Tara Leach Photography

Yuval Topper-Erez has always loved birth photography. So much so, that while preparing to give birth at home in Hebden Bridge, England, last year, Yuval finally took the plunge and arranged for it to be photographed. The photos of Baby Tig's birth were beautiful and moving, but it took Yuval over a year to actually share the images online. Not because they felt too intimate, but because as a trans dad, Yuval understands all too well the judgments placed on gestational fathers. Now, more than a year later, the photos are going viral -- and drawing an incredible outpouring of love from all over the world.

  • Baby Tig arrived on May 8, 2019, after a long and difficult pregnancy.

    Yuval tells CafeMom that it was actually his fourth pregnancy and second home birth. After his first child was born during a "traumatic" hospital delivery, which involved "transphobia and obstetric violence," Yuval opted for a home birth for his second delivery, and described it as an "empowering experience."

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  • When it came time for Tig to arrive, Yuval surrounded himself with a loving and supportive birth team.

    That included his husband, Matan, two midwives, one doula, and his birth photographer, Tara Leach, who captured the stunning photos.

    Though the couple's older two children, Lyrie and Aria, were welcome to attend the birth, both slept soundly upstairs through the early morning hours.

    Then, at 5:55 a.m., Baby Tig made his grand entrance -- weighing in at 8 lbs., 3oz.

  • The photos taken by Leach capture every step of Yuval's journey through labor and delivery.

    Some show him breathing through the pain while sitting in a birthing tub, as Matan reaches out a supportive hand. Others show him cradling his pregnant belly and looking down, perhaps eagerly awaiting his baby boy's arrival.

    The final images show Yuval wincing in pain and then bursting into tears and a smile while catching Tig in his arms and hugging him close.

  • Originally, Yuval says he didn't plan on sharing the images publicly at all.

    "When I got them, a few weeks after the birth, I felt that they really need to be out there, to empower other trans people and to educate birth workers," he recalls. "But I also felt that then, with a newborn at home, and unfortunately dealing with some other health issues ... that I just couldn’t deal also with the publicity and the backlash, which I did receive, as I anticipated."

    More than one year later, Yuval felt differently.

    "Luckily, at this point in my life, I was able to deal with it," he tells CafeMom.

  • And so, just after Tig's first birthday, Yuval shared the photos on Facebook and made them public to more than just friends and family.

    The response so far has been pretty incredible.

    "Yuval, thank you for letting us see such an incredible and unique time of your life," one Facebook commenter wrote. "I believe the world soon will be more comfortable for all types of families and parents. Mazel tov!"

    "Thank you so much for reminding everyone that you're here and that your beautiful family are here and that there's so much room and potential for future seahorse dads," another added.

  • To date, the photos have been shared more than 231K times. (And no, Yuval can't quite believe it.)

    He says that as the shares started to rise, he expected he'd get at most 1,000 -- but he never could have fathomed the reach his photos have achieved in the last few weeks.

    Even though "going viral" is cool and all, the proud dad of three says he hopes that the images, as well as his personal story, will help spread another important message.

    "I hope that people take away the fact that birth is birth (and birth is beautiful!), no matter who is birthing, and the notion that anything is possible," Yuval tells CafeMom. "I'm also happy to raise awareness to trans issues in general and specifically around parenting, and also to join many incredible women before me, working hard on normalizing home births, an option I believe every birthing person should have."

  • So far, it sure looks like he's accomplishing his mission.

    "This is AMAZING," one person commented. "Thank you so much for showing representation in such a vulnerable time. It matters more than you might know."

    "That was powerful," wrote someone else.

  • Comments like these are precisely what Yuval was hoping for. 

    Because despite how far we've come when it comes to trans acceptance, he says there's still so much more ground to cover.

    "I know it's a bit cheesy, or maybe banal to say, but love is love, and I truly believe that what kids need in life are parents (or a parent) that love them, take care of them, and respect them as individuals, and the gender really doesn’t matter," he says. 

    As for his own kids, he notes that it's actually surprising "how little interest our kids show in the uniqueness of our family, it's just so normal to them ... "

  • Today, Yuval says Tig is a happy, bouncing 1-year-old, who's constantly on the move.

    "He is a very busy baby, and one has to watch him at all times otherwise you'll find him on the table, playing with the dishwasher, or throwing toys at the kittens," he jokes. "But he's gorgeous, full of personality, has the most infectious laugh, and he fills my heart with joy every single day."