boysmaller

Puberty

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?

I’m scared.

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.

8 thoughts on “Puberty

  1. Kari

    I’ve wondered how you were doing during this time… puberty is hard, period! Connor is so blessed with such a loving, supportive, and intuitive mother. You got this, mama!

    Reply
  2. Bruce

    So well-written and heartfelt, and will surely fulfill your hope that writing about your own family’s transition will help other parents too. It’s truly generous of you to share your feelings and experiences. Thank you, and I will do my little part by sharing this forward. Best to you and Conner.

    Reply
  3. Rachel

    You are an inspiration! Every mom has thoughts of insecurity, but yours affect so much more than just you, like mine do! Thank you for being brave enough to share your journey & reach out to those who can support you! Way to go mama!

    Reply
  4. Sarah

    Thank you for sharing. I hope this isn’t out of line, apologies if it is. Connor seems a pretty level headed kid when it comes to her vs her brother. I doubt she worries about him developing into what he is meant to be so much as fearing she could not develop into who she is meant to be. It doesn’t make you a bad mother or ally to wish her road were easier- you’re a mother , we all do that. 😊 But every child must go through their own journeys in life, the best we can do is support them and guide them the best we can. I cannot promise any decision you make is the right one, none of us know that about our decisions for our kids. But I know you and that you will make any decision for your kids well informed and from your heart and soul.

    Reply
  5. Deenie

    I have to assume that all those feelings are very much in line with what every other parent in your shoes would be feeling. This is not easy stuff. Hopefully letting it out and hearing from other parents helped to ease your anxiety. {hugs}

    Reply
  6. Barb

    Hello. I stumbled upon this entry while doing an internet search. I too am a mom to a transgender child. My son just turned 14. He came out as transgender in February and we have been on this journey with him since then. There have been easy decisions and harder ones. I know EXACTLY what you are going through. The hardest decision for us came just two weeks ago. Our son started on testosterone treatment. He was an “early bloomer” puberty wise and started at 10 so hormone blockers were not an option. As a parent, we struggled with this decision to start hormones. In the end of the day, each child is different and we as parents have to work with our kids to decide what is right for them. In our case, in working with our son, his therapist, and our endocrinologist, we all decided this was the right treatment for him. Although this will not change his biological gender, it will be a huge step in allowing him to transition into the man he was meant to be. This is just one step in what will be a process, but loving and supporting our kids is essential in this world that can be so cruel to kids like ours. I wish you the best of luck on your journey. You are an amazing Mom!

    Reply

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