My Kid Is Transgender. Her Life Has Changed. Our Family Has Changed.
I haven't been writing much lately. I feel like a non-writing jerk who doesn't have her priorities straight. But my heart's just not in it. My heart is elsewhere, with a kid who is having a tough time and needs her mom.
When it's not there, it's on the treadmill so it doesn't give out too early from all the stress calories I've been feeding it. And when it's not there, it's trying to keep up with work, or volunteer obligations, or visiting family and friends so they don't also think I'm a jerk. It's trying to maintain balance, trying not to get too stressed or worn out, trying not to let go of the dreams and goals and expectations I've had for myself for so long and feel like I'm letting go of.
But it's not in writing, because I'm worried that I'll repeat the same things over and over again and you're going to get sick of it:
My kid is transgender.
Her life has changed.
Our family dynamic has changed.
My role as a mother has changed.
Society isn't set up to welcome her.
I don't know what to do to help her a lot of time. I'm floundering as a parent. I feel lost and scared and lacking the necessary know-how to be that kick ass mom I want to be.
My heart is full to bursting with many emotions the last few weeks, and it doesn't generally lead to the humorous blog posts so many of you have come to expect from me. And then I get stressed out because I'm worried I'm losing my voice as a writer, and I see the one thing that is all mine—this deeply ingrained love of the written word that allows me to escape and share and connect with others—slipping away from me. That hurts my heart in ways I can't even describe.
But I can't help being in this place at this time. I can't fight against how I'm feeling. I'm a lot lost in a situation that is so much bigger than I am.
How do you put something so fresh and raw aside and continue writing funny life anecdotes?
How do you laugh about silly shit when your child is crying because kids who used to be kind are excluding her?
How do you handle the pain of knowing your child won't go on the grade 6 grad trip because she's not out to all those kids, there will be a swimming component (bathing suits, eep!), no unisex change rooms or washrooms, and quite likely boys' and girls' teams?
How about the actual graduation ceremony in June, where she doesn't want to wear a dress, but also doesn't want to wear a shirt and tie?
How about the awkwardness and uncomfortableness she had to go through when opening a bank account this weekend in her legal name (that we can't change until she's 12)?
How do you not want to throat punch the world sometimes when it is so unforgiving to a little person who only wants to live as her authentic self?
I was in labor for 27 excruciating hours with Gutsy before the emergency cesarean. The umbilical cord was wrapped around her body and she couldn't descend. My heart nearly gave out during the surgery from exhaustion. But it didn't. In the end, despite all the scary and the unexpected, we ended up with a beautiful 10lb 4oz baby that was five years in the making.
I'm trying to view her transition from male to female in the same light. There are contractions of pain with a few breaths of reprieve in between, but we are making steady progress. A lot of my focus is on getting her through it, safe and sound. Her arrival will forever reshape our family. As she emerges, it is fundamentally changing me as a woman, a mother, and a human being. I am not the same Maven I was two months ago. And while I will welcome back much of the humor and wit I like to keep in my back pocket for my personal writing, it might not be quite the same as it used to be (probably because it's been in there so long, next to my ass). But in the end, we are going to have a thriving, happy child. Just like labor, that is the end goal.
Yep. Transition is like a rebirth. It's mighty uncomfortable for both of us (but especially her; I don't kid myself). My husband can only squeeze my hand and remind me to breathe. Just replace "I am eating ice chips between contractions" with "I am unceremoniously stuffing my cry hole with chocolate when it is not busy crying," and "I'm going to lose a lot of weight through this process" to "I need to be the highly improbable lovechild of Jillian Michaels and Richard Simmons if I want any hope of being able to fit through my front door in six months" and that is my life right now.
On Friday morning, we went through the Starbucks drive-thru. Without any prompting or indication from me as to my child's gender, the barista handed us our drinks and said, "Have a nice day, ladies!" It was the very first time someone outside of our circle had presumed her female. My daughter is beginning to look like a girl. She's finally being seen for who she really is.
Gutsy's face lit up brighter than I've seen in years. I had to stop myself from bursting into happy tears—just like when I held her for the very first time.
This journey, you guys. Pain, fear, uncertainty—and unimaginable joy.