In true Melissa fashion, I’m writing this post late into the evening when I should be headed to bed. But, I know that sleep won’t come until I untangle the knots of emotions that are holding my eyelids open.
We’ve hit the next stage in our journey raising a transgender child. Up until now, our choices and decisions did not require a medical intervention. Deciding if we would allow our child to wear clothing normally worn by females, using female pronouns, allowing our child to socially transition to a female, introducing our child to others as a female. None of those decisions required a prescription.
Puberty always felt a long way off. I swear these children just came out of me yesterday, but this year they have lockers, a school dance, need deodorant, and drink an impossible amount of milk each week. Where did the time go? How have we gone from baby bottles and diapers to a first dance dress and a discussion about personal hygiene?
I was suspicious that we might be getting close to puberty when I saw that some of the kids who were boys last May were suddenly young men in September. And recent lab work confirmed that it is time to start puberty blockers.
Conner was so relieved that she started crying. It is exhausting to constantly be worrying that your body will betray you and that the doctors might miss it until it is too late. Since the labs had been drawn, she’d spent more than one day in bed, overcome by nausea as her anxiety climbed. When we told her that the prescription for blockers was being sent in, her relief was evident by the school bus wide smile she wore for the rest of the day.
What she didn’t see, was her mom break down in tears upon seeing the message from the doctor. Why all the tears from mom? Good question.
That’s maybe a little bit why I’m here tonight typing instead of playing Township on my phone as I wait for sleep to come.
I’ve had to sort out my mix of emotions and that involved reaching out to a few trusted moms who also have transgender kids.
“I’m a mess and I’m feeling too many things,” I cried.
“Yes, we did the same thing too,” they reassured me.
It has helped to list my emotions and I’m hoping this will help another parent in a similar hot mess of emotions.
First and foremost, I’m crazy happy for my child. She feels so validated that her parents and her medical providers recognize that she needs blockers. It confirms to her that we believe her and that she won’t have to go through a male puberty. Her happiness is infectious.
I’m beyond relieved that we can stop wondering when puberty will start. I keep watching her friends show the tell-tale signs of puberty and then I look at both my children to see if I can recognize any of these signals in them. I’ve pestered my husband and his mother about when puberty started for him (to no avail, it’s like he’s blocked it out of his mind). It has caused me so much stress that it only compounds my anxiety about what this has been like for her.
I’m sad. I’m sad that she has to have a medical intervention to be who she is. I’m sad that she carries so many burdens. I’m sad that she had to wonder if she would get the medical intervention she needed to block male puberty.
I’m also angry. Why couldn’t she have been born with a female body? Why does she have to go through this? Why does it have to be so hard for her?
I feel guilty. Did I do something wrong in my pregnancy that put her in the wrong body? Could I have somehow prevented the pain that she feels? Should I be more worried about the long-term effects of puberty blockers than I am?
I’m confused. Is it wrong to feel this way? Does it lessen her identity as a transgender female to wonder if I could have prevented this? Does it make me a bad ally to wish that she has been born into the body she identifies as? Is it normal and okay to feel guilty and confused?
My children are identical twins. Even though one has long hair and a mole on her cheek they are otherwise identical. What will happen when her brother continues with male puberty and she doesn’t? How will they begin to look different? Will it be hard to watch one become what the other feared she would be? How will my identity change as feeling like a mother of identical twins even if it has been years since I told anyone they are identical? Will it be hard to watch one develop while the other waits? Will my relationship with them change as they begin to look different?
Will their relationship change? Will it hurt her relationship with him when she watches him become what she feared?
I don’t have the answers. But I do have the knowledge that we’ll take each day as it comes together as a family. I do know that we are strong and we love each other and we will get through whatever comes ahead.
And I do have the absolute conviction that we are making the best decision for her.