The Pregnant King, the pregnant man

Now, this is an unusual tale. A married man named Thomas Beatie from Pacific North West of United States is carrying a baby in his womb. The man is pregnant!!

Well it reminds me of a book I read sometime back (Thanks to Akhil) similarly named “The Pregnant King”. The book by Author Devdutt Patnaik is a tale of Yuvanashva, King of Vallabhi who drinks a magic potion intended for his queens and is in turn pregnant with an aberration of an heir. This fictional account of Vallabhi is based during the Kurukshetra war and provides interesting insight into the concept of anumol, niyoga, story of Shikhandi, Illeshwara and Somvat.

All along the tale, Patnaik has blurred the distinction that divides man and woman. The very title is the weaving of male and female forms. Illeshwara is the male form of God that Vallabhi worships but has derived its form from Ila who was cursed to spend his life alternatively as man and woman. Shikhandi serves the war of Kurukhshetra with the grit of a man but is actually used by Lord Krishna to make Bhishma lay down his weapon because he recognises her as Amba reborn. Shilavati who is crowned as the ruler of Vallabhi as she is carrying the heir, Yuvanashva in her womb, clings to the throne as leech with her sensibilities that refuse to let her think like a queen. She has a head of a man and rules Vallbhi as an able King should. Her son Yuvanashva couldn’t find a place suitable, he takes poor decisions as king, his second wife rejects him as a husband, he gives birth to a son and yearns to be called a mother, and couldn’t be a father to his other son. Then there is Somvat, a man who chooses to die as a woman. Illeshwara in the end of the story emerged as neither a man nor woman but a symbol and Patnaik says “…the deity represents the myriad forms of matter, sometimes male, sometimes female, sometimes in between, always provoking the devotee, the mind. Beyond it all, formless stood the still soul, awaiting discovery.”

Thomas beatie too has certainly chosen an unusual route to self discovery. He was born a woman named Tracy Lagondino but went for a gender reassignment surgery and is married to wife Nancy. He decided to carry a baby for his wife who had hysterectomy years ago. He was able to conceive because during his gender reassignment he kept his reproductive rights intact.

Nothing strange, he faced strong discrimination from doctors, healthcare professionals, friends and family. He faces major health risks with the artificial insemination as a transgender. But Beatie confirms that he would be a father to his baby and Nancy the mother.

The imperfections of human body and soul leave room for questions that remain beyond comprehension. Or is it just, to quote Patnaik here, “…our stubborn refusal to make room for all those in between.”


8 thoughts on “The Pregnant King, the pregnant man

  1. lazybug

    Holy Mother! Mr Thomas is surely one of a kind.

    Nice post that. A book review combined with a real life situation.

    P.S It’s Devdutt ‘Pattanaik’.

  2. prityjaiswal Post author

    @lazybug: Thanx. Nobody would match Mr. Thomas for a very long time,that’s for sure. And for “Pattanaik”…as you say

  3. prityjaiswal Post author

    @Sriniani: Thanx Srinivas. The world would be so different if we just stop looking things as either black or white. There are different shades of greys that we refuse to look at.

  4. rksadhu

    hi prity; it seems Mr. Thomas Beatie has delivered a baby; I remember seeing a news item in The Hindu this morning; did not read it though

  5. prityjaiswal Post author

    @Ram: Congratulations to Mr. Beatie. I read the news as well. No delivery details were revealed though!!
    @Santhosh: I am waiting for the first human clone.
    @Vinay: Thanx. U are reminding me of my english teacher


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