Documentary about a seahorse dad is showing us what was needed to be seen

Review by Barbora Jurašková

Seahorses are the only animals whose males, not females, are giving birth. Transmen who decide to have a child are called so and one of them is Freddy McConnel, the person who initiated a movie about his own intimate experience of pregnancy. Not because he would be such an extrovert but simply because he saw a need of major society to get more familiar with the topic. The documentary has big educational value in more ways. It is showing honest picture of a trans person to the public which mostly never have encountered any, dealing with problematics of process behind giving birth as a transmen – the movie stresses a lot problem of standing transmen in front of the statement that after the transition they will be infertile which is not exactly true, and of course, leading the audience through a process which they may not even know is possible.

Jeanie Finlay, the director, succeeded in developing a broad picture of this extraordinary pregnancy process and avoided any pathos which could be easy to fall in. She had to build very strong connection with Freddy due to be able to catch the most private moments in the time. We see him taking the pregnancy tests, during his breakup, his weak moments while the decrease of testosterone starts to work as well as very emotional letter to his father and finally, the night when he successfully encounters his son for the first time.

The director is not over-focusing on the fact that Freddie is trans, the film is just keeping it as a common fact. That allows Freddy to show his story without being previously labelled. We can focus more on the process and its issues and think about it critically. While some people ask why he couldn’t just adopt a child, he hits the point many times when answers with simple because I can kind of answer. Explaining us obvious thing, that he has the “hardware” and prefer a biological child, therefore what he does is the most natural, or as he says pragmatic, thing to do. No one would be surprised if it would be told about a cis person.

The movie is giving a lot and not least giving also the hope and optimism of seeing people of different backgrounds supporting each other and trying to understand what seems to be not understandable for them instead of being scared. Even thought Freddy often in interviews brings up that he got very lucky with the people, it is motivating to see that there are such unique and happy ending stories in our today’s society, and it is mostly important to spread this message and positivity around.