Time DOES heal!!

20 Jul

I started this blog in 2012. I was a newbie in being the mom of someone transgender. Even with having already survived the first year, I look back recognizing what I have learned and so much to which I have been exposed! This has been a wonderful time of growth which I am now able to cherish. I know YOU will get here, too!

My earliest days were filled with fear! And tons of questions: “What will become of my son?”; “Will he pass as male?”; “Will he ever find love?”; “Will he find a career?”; “Will he be happy and healthy?”; “How will I tell everyone?”; “What if my close friends and family won’t accept him?”; and the ever popular, “Was this my fault and could I have prevented this?”.

It will be 4 years in February since my handsome son revealed himself to me. For those of you moms that are new to this experience, I actually sleep at night now!! Imagine that!! His transition is NOT the last thing I think of before attempting sleep and NOT my first thought in the morning!! I am so thrilled to share the many positive results of his transition!

Our family is secure: We all have wrapped our heads around his transition- all in our own time and each in our own way. He knows whom he feels most secure in going to for support and he definitely has learned there are folks in our family and extended family that he wants to actively continue relationships with and those that he does not pursue: just like the rest of us! When I think of him, I picture who he is. I do not feel as if I am in mourning or loss. I picture the spelling of his new name and have stopped messing up pronouns when speaking about him. My son is my son. Period.

His relationships are successful: Now that he feels happy and secure in himself, he has drawn incredibly wonderful people into his life! Many of his friends and companions are what this 50 year-old broad would consider “alternative” but ALL are loving and amazing! These friendships have grown into a family- young people who are committed in going forward together with great intention and purpose. They include his best friend and her husband and one child with another on the way. No, this family is not what I had pictured for my son- it’s not exactly traditional and not easy to describe. But he has a family that is filled with love and support for one another. Who am I to judge when I see it working better than most of the traditional families I know?! He has learned to be a wonderfully thoughtful person through his relationships which has directly and positively impacted me, his step-dad and sister! He is kind and generous with us in a way he wasn’t able to be before his transition. And yes! I know you are wondering: he HAS found love! He has an beautiful and amazing partner that not only accepts him for who he is, but celebrates and values him, just as he celebrates and values her!

His path is steady: After almost 4 years, my son’s direction in life has changed. He is still involved in reaching out to his community, but now in new ways. This year we celebrated his acceptance to a prestigious law school. Clearly, he is facing a great deal of hard work- but we are thrilled with his willingness to take this on! I know he CAN take this on because he feels complete and in control of his own life!! He feels capable!!

I have gained so much: I now am much more tolerant of folks- from transgender folks, the homeless, to the disenfranchised in my community, I am more open to hearing about folks in need and definitely try my best to listen first and judge less! I try to reach out more in different aspects of my life: with family members, colleagues at work, to my neighbors and friends…I know my son’s transition has created this positive impact on my interactions with others!

As it turns out, witnessing your child’s gender transition or expression can be downright scary. But it CAN be filled with so much joy and growth. Take your time. Be good to yourself. Listen to your child. Embrace the journey!

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37 Responses to “Time DOES heal!!”

  1. Randi July 20, 2015 at 2:12 pm #

    I am so grateful to you for creating this blog. This is new for my family and didn’t know where to look for support. However, my child has struggled with depression and alcohol drug abuse for many years. When she revealed that she believed being transgender was at the root of her struggles I was actually somewhat relieved. She finally had an answer to her need to self medicate. I want to be as supportive as I can be in her journey. Our family all loves and supports her. I have been telling my friends as I am ready, one at a time. They are also very supportive. We all just want her to be happy. The future will take care of itself; jobs, relationships, etc. I think my biggest struggle will be mourning the loss of my son. I don’t know who this new person will be as she transforms and reveals herself. I guess I will just have to take it one day at a time. Thank you again.

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    • transmom July 26, 2015 at 4:02 am #

      Hi Randi- I am so happy you found my blog! I want you to know that I, too, witnessed my child struggle with different issues along this pathway to self discovery and contentment: it can be super hard to be a mom, right?!! The most important job we will ever have- and we just have to try our best because each child is different, each life and each experience unique!! However, I think knowing we are not alone DOES help!! I appreciate your sharing your story- it helped ME!! I agree with you- one day at a time with TONS of deep breaths along the way!! Hang in there, Randi- you are an awesome mom!!

  2. emmbeedee July 20, 2015 at 7:23 pm #

    What a wonderful update!! I am so very happy for your family!

    I am in the position you were 4 years ago. Last October, the child I knew as my daughter for 25 years recently informed me that he was in fact my son. I love him and support him with all of my heart and soul. All I want is for him to be safe and happy. I know it won’t be an easy road, but I will be there with him every step of the way.

    I hope and pray that I will have a happy update in 4 years.

    • transmom July 26, 2015 at 3:35 am #

      I hope and pray the same for you, “emmbeedee”!! The first couple of years CAN be very challenging, but you know that up front and are already in for the journey. I already feel very positive for your son hearing that you love and support him fully!! What a lucky young man!!

  3. Phyllis Skinner July 20, 2015 at 10:58 pm #

    Thank you! I am your age if I read that right “51 next month for me”. My son is 27. Struggling as I found out almost 8 months ago. I was searching for a local support group when I came across your page. My son and I have a great relationship. He’s the oldest of 3 boys.

    • transmom July 24, 2015 at 1:03 am #

      I’m glad you are looking for support, Phyllis!! And happy you found me! Finding yourself presented with such big issues when most parents at our stage of life with kids in their twenties are usually kicking back! Their kids are typically well on their own established paths and the “heavy lifting” parenting issues are usually behind!! But not so for us! I don’t know about you, but I sometimes felt as if I was a brand new parent all over again-Yikes!! Please know you and your child will make it to an easier time!! Meanwhile, hugs to you! Write back anytime!!

  4. joanne2sons August 2, 2015 at 4:25 am #

    I’m so glad I found this blog. It was perfect timing, as I just found out last week that I have two sons. Reading your latest blog “Time Heals” gave me hope and inspiration. It was as if your words were written just for me, This is new territory for our family, and we are trying our best to navigate this new territory. For 21 years, I thought I had an introverted daughter who preferred playing with dolls and dressing up. She was not athletic or interested in sports. Last summer, she came out as gay. This was a surprise to us, but we accepted her and expressed our love. Last week we received an amazing coming out letter from her informing us that she is transgender. We are trying very hard to use his chosen name and the correct pronouns, and have told him that we love him very much and are here for him. I’m trying to be strong, but I find myself crying all the time. I read things online and get very scared. My husband is adjusting to this much better than I am. I’m going to a SOFFA support group next week and contacted the therapist I had spoken to last summer when I was coming to terms with my daughter being gay. No one ever said being a parent was easy, and I guess we will take it one day at a time and embrace the journey.

    • transmom August 11, 2015 at 5:29 am #

      Sorry that it’s taken me a few days to get back to you, Joanne- I’ve been traveling. I KNOW you will be whole in time!! My son first came out as “queer” to us prior to his transition. It was then I got used to seeing him with a couple of different girlfriends. Looking back, I see that as the time I got to “dip my toe” into the sea of change. I hope it was for you as well! Allow your tears to flow, sweet mom- you are allowed! This is hard and scary. But love will prevail!! You are off to a great start! Good for you for seeking out a therapist and using your son’s new name and pronouns (also super hard!!)! Hang in! I’m happy to talk anytime!

      • joanne2sons August 11, 2015 at 3:39 pm #

        No worries. Hope you had a great vacation! Thanks for your encouraging words. My daughter/now my son has never dated anyone…so I never was able to “dip my toe” into the sea of change. I told my husband that it’s as if we are learning how to swim. However, my husband is now able to do laps in the pool and is no longer afraid…meanwhile, I’m still sitting on the edge of the pool…dangling my feet!! However, I was able to put my face in the water and blow some bubbles last week after I attended the support group. I cried and laughed during the meeting, as I told them I was learning new definitions for words (i.e. binder & packing!!) They mentioned a good youtube video with John Oliver: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmoAX9f6MOc I found this video very worthwhile to watch.
        For the most part, I’m able to keep it together when we talk to our son via phone, but then, I see something that reminds me of my daughter (now son) and I lose it. Luckily, my husband is patient and understanding with his emotional wife!! We’ll be visiting our son in a few weeks, and my goal is to be able to “swim a lap”…at least the width of the pool!! Our son seems happy, when we talk with him, but I’m still so worried about everything.

      • transmom August 14, 2015 at 2:20 am #

        I can tell you are further into that pool than you think!! I believe your floaties are off and you are on your way, Awesome Mom Joanne! Having goals are great, but I hope you can find the same patience with yourself as your husband has with you! It’s a different experience for us moms- we tend to live out our dreams through our children, worry endlessly about them-no matter there age- and are filled with angst when we relive we are not the ones in control! I so get where you are in comparison to your sweet husband!

    • Lulu August 11, 2015 at 7:15 pm #

      I can so relate to you crying so much! I did the same for about 6 months after my daughter told us that she was transitioning. The sense of loss is so profound. I was grieving the loss of our beautiful daughter. It hurt so much! I allowed myself this time, as did he. I also took a class on Sociology of Gender and this helped me tremendously.
      My husband was also much more understanding than I. He told me that this is something he needs to be happy, and we need to support him in this. Of course, I understood this, but it did not make it less hard for me to accept. We are now a year into the process and I agree with transom in saying that time does heal. Be kind to yourself and give yourself time. Know that you are not alone. Sending you a big hug! We can do this!

      • transmom August 12, 2015 at 6:36 am #

        Thanks for reaching out!! You are so right: we are NOT ALONE!!

      • joanne2sons August 12, 2015 at 3:43 pm #

        Thanks for your kind words and support. I wish I could fast forward a year….and be at the same emotional place where you are. I know time will heal, I just need to be patient and continue to be there for my son.

      • transmom August 13, 2015 at 4:59 am #

        Hang in there, Joanne- sometimes the pain makes us stronger!

    • lulusones October 5, 2015 at 11:18 am #

      It is okay to cry all the time. I found myself doing the same thing, for about six months, after our daughter came out as trans. I was grieving the loss of my daughter and I did not know who I was getting back in return. However, transmom is right when she says that Time DOES heal. We are now a year and three months further on our journey and we are so proud of our son! What courage it takes to take this on! He found a job and came out in front of his colleagues, who were all very supportive.
      Yes, it is scary, for we don’t know how the world will treat them, but I am sure your son has a wonderful support system around him (you and his friends), who will be there for him, no matter what. It is a hard journey, Joanns2sons, but you will be stronger and more understanding when you come out on the other end.
      Sending hugs your way.

      • transmom October 5, 2015 at 10:05 pm #

        Thanks, “Lulusones”! Your words of experience are so valuable to all of us moms!!

      • joanne2sons October 7, 2015 at 2:22 pm #

        Thanks for your encouraging response. It’s been just over 2 months for me, and you’ll be glad to know that I no longer cry everyday, I’ve been able to tell more of my friends about my “son” without crying…well, maybe just a couple tears, but I’m much stronger now. We visited our son a couple weeks ago at college, and he seemed very happy. Thus, I was very relieved and happy. I know there will be some bumps along the way, but as I told transmom, I’m making progress. Attending the local support group meetings, seeing a counselor, and reading some very good books, (the most recent book – Two Spirits, One Heart by Marsha Aizumi & Aiden Aizumi) have really helped me with this challenging journey. My learning how to swim analogy really makes sense to me. Although my husband was able to swim laps much sooner than I was….I think I’ve finally completed a lap, and am no longer afraid to be in the deep end of the pool! My son is still the same person. However, now he stands a little taller, smiles a little wider, shines a little brighter; as he is now able to let the world see his true colors. So glad your son has found a job and has had the courage to come out in front of his colleagues. You must be so proud!! Thanks for the hugs lulusones, as it really means a lot to me!!

      • transmom October 10, 2015 at 5:37 pm #

        Great to hear from you, joanne2sons!! Keep healing and taking such great care of yourself- it makes you a fabulous momma- able to be there for your boys!!

  5. Kiki August 11, 2015 at 12:05 pm #

    Hi, I’m new to all this. Searching to find others to connect with and really struggling to find others I feel safe to talk to right now. My new son just informed me at 20 years old that he is transitionsing FTM. I’m finding it hard to find people that will be accepting to talk too. I’ve tried with a few family members only to get uneducated responses of mental disability, or depression, or is this the latest popularity thing to do. Really?!! that one blew me away, as if they want to be popular by risking their lives. I’m afraid for my son and want to be supportive to make this most comfortable on him. Thank you for helping me find a site to share. I hope to find and connect with people in my area, and struggling to find a support group to attend right now.

    • transmom August 14, 2015 at 2:22 am #

      Kiki- do you feel comfortable mentioning where you are located? Another mom did so recently and a fellow reader gave her FABULOUS information!! I can certainly “hook you up” if you are I the LA area!!

      • Kiki August 14, 2015 at 10:57 am #

        Well its not LA. LOL A far distance away. I’m in OH, now residing in Wellington, which is near Oberlin College if anyone knows where that is. Can you send it to me through this website or do you not have my email?
        I’m not even sure how this blogging works, but I need help blending my family and not sure where to post my struggle with that. My son wrote to me from TN, where he and his wife of one year now live. They are in the bible belt area. They have become born again Christians. I love him to death and his passion for helping young people in college find a path that is not destructive. He is a campus minister. BUT he is only seeing the Christian view, that is narrow minded, towards his new FTM brother. He wont call him a him, and thinks the family ought to be encouraging mental help and NOT T-therapy. I’m in pain, aching for my 2 kids that are not so accepting as me and his Dad are. (And we aren’t even married anymore!) He had some research quoted that said even when transgenders make physical changes they still suffer from depression and the suicide rates are still the same. I’m not sure where he’s getting that, and after searching myself for articles I saw a Christian writer that is putting that out there. Is it True? I don’t know where to go myself to find out more accurate details to share with he and his wife. Help anyone?

  6. lulusones August 19, 2015 at 6:05 pm #

    Hi Kiki, my heart aches for you-being stuck between your two sons and seeing potential problems between them in their future. However, this is out of your control, as I think everyone in the family has their own journey to acceptance. We all need to adjust to the new situation at our own rate. The only thing you can do is love them both unconditionally and make sure they know you are there for them, always. When your son in TN mentioned therapy, did he mean family therapy or therapy for your son who is transitioning? I thought all people who are transitioning are encouraged to go to therapy, so I am assuming your son is already doing so.
    I wish I could tell you what the statistics were, but I do not look for them. It is too scary to contemplate. I simply do my share in supporting my son, and keeping the lines of communication wide open. I know he has wonderful friends, who support him all the way. He came out at work last week, and he received many positive comments from the people with whom he works. He feels much more at peace now then he did when he was a female. In my view he was more likely to commit suicide as a female than he is now, as a male. Unfortunately, we cannot keep them from harm, like we did when they were babies, but what we can do is love them-always.
    Hope this was helpful, Kiki. We are all in this together, as mothers. Just keep on loving!

    • transmom September 1, 2015 at 11:36 pm #

      lulusones- so well stated- thank you!! While the statistics seem horrible, I, too, do not focus on those…I strive to make sure I am doing all I can to be supportive. Dealing with families and different opinions is terribly challenging…I hope Kiki can follow her heart!

  7. George Davis September 5, 2015 at 4:09 pm #

    Glad to hear your family is doing well.

    • transmom September 6, 2015 at 3:58 pm #

      Thanks, George! We ARE!!! We had the joy of spending a week together in Yellowstone this summer. We surrounded ourselves in joy, laughter, and love. This mommy’s heaven on earth!

  8. Andrea Warren September 22, 2015 at 3:48 pm #

    So glad I found your blog. The last year has been up and down for our family. Sarah turns 24 at the end of October. Living in a progressive city, Portland, Oregon, we thought there would be more support. My husband says it the best, “There have to be parents out there who love their child as much as we do, want the best for them, and are not ‘in crisis’ ” When searching for a parents support group and not finding anything appropriate, our doctor says we should start one. I feel like we could learn from other parents. This summer, I focused on the legal paperwork with her name change. I couldn’t find any ‘how to’ list, so I followed my gut. That’s what we have done on this journey. I’ve learned so much, but I feel like it’s a unnecessary struggle. I’d rather focus on strengthening our relationship with our daughter instead of wearing ourselves out, emotionally and physically. Thank you for your blog, I appreciate your experience.

    • transmom October 4, 2015 at 9:32 pm #

      Great for you, Andrea!! I thought it would be easy to find support in LA when I started on this journey with my son…it was tough initially. That small group that I found has now expanded!! There are so many families now in contact and sharing the critical info about such things as name change, doctors that are skilled, how to deal with school problems, etc. We often reach out to the Gender Law Center for assistance. I would THINK that Oregon would have the same- but it wouldn’t hurt to start with this site- call and ask questions about how to locate the state specific info you need!! Good Luck!
      http://transgenderlawcenter.org/?s=name+change

      • Andrea Warren October 5, 2015 at 5:00 pm #

        Thank you. Feeling lost at the moment. Finding the resource book you recommended, Tran Bodies, Trans Selves helpful.

      • transmom October 5, 2015 at 9:17 pm #

        Great to know, Andrea! It was sometimes such a confusing time and lonely space for me. It’s painful to watch changes that are difficult to understand much less relate to, right?!! I hope you will continue to read, talk, reach out, and hopefully during your process, find other moms that can stand alongside you as you love your newly emerging child.

  9. Darlene Tando, LCSW October 5, 2015 at 5:26 pm #

    I’m so glad I found this blog, thank you so much for sharing your story, for being so supportive of your son, and for offering hope to other parents who are struggling. Your voice is invaluable! I have shared your page on my professional Facebook page. Thank you again!

    • transmom October 5, 2015 at 8:58 pm #

      Thanks so very much, Darlene!! You made my day!!

    • joanne2sons October 6, 2015 at 2:44 am #

      Glad you shared this blog on your FB page. As a mother of a recent 21 year old transgender son, this blog has been so inspirational and helpful to me. It’s as if Transmom can read our minds!!! It’s been so comforting to read her various blog posts. I even read her May 2012 blog – “Fear vs. Reality” at a recent Gender Support Group that I attended in Sacramento. Although I got emotional and cried a little when reading it; by the time I got to the last 2 paragraphs, I was no longer crying, and I began to feel empowered by her words. I agree with you 100% that her voice is invaluable.

  10. Jolene October 6, 2015 at 10:28 pm #

    Thank you! My daughter just turned six the transition thus far Has been very smooth with lots of family and friends supporting our decision to let our daughter be who she is. School and the community have also been a huge support on our journey!

    • transmom October 10, 2015 at 5:39 pm #

      Great to hear, Jolene!! I can only imagine how hard it is to be the mommy of one so young going through transition! But you are there for her and she is going to be perfect with your support and love!!

  11. Agave333 December 18, 2015 at 10:20 pm #

    Thank you so much for this site! I am struggling and have the 2-fold issue of my 25 yr old choosing to be separate from family for 5 yrs, plus coming out as trans MtF last Spring. Had a loving close relationship for 20 years. All of this has been complete surprise. I continue to send messages of love, support, proud of you, I’m always here….I find myself stagnating w worry, and waiting for connection or response! I am 30 miles east of L.A. if groups in that area? Thank you for all of your experiences, it really helps!

    • transmom December 22, 2015 at 7:52 pm #

      Hi Agave333- so sorry to hear that you are struggling with your connection with your now daughter….I am so happy to hear that you continue to send out positive and loving messages! As with any kind of relationship, BOTH persons need to be ready to share and accept…it sounds like your daughter is just not there yet. This doesn’t mean that will always be the case -ESPECIALLY if you continue to be supportive!!- so hang in there! What it DOES mean, is that you are on the right track: you are seeking help for yourself as you navigate this often difficult terrain!! I am not sure of specific support groups east of LA- do not know of your exact city– but there is a fabulous group out of Children’s Hospital, LA- I will ask them if they know of a group out your way!! Meanwhile, keep reading and continue to love your child!!

    • transmom December 22, 2015 at 8:18 pm #

      There is an amazing mother ( Marsha Aizumi) who wrote a book that I recommend in my blog’s reference section. She leads a parent group in San Gabriel Valley API PFLAG each month. Please check this out:
      http://www.sangabrielvalleyapipflag.com
      There is also a mother that way that would be willing to speak with you personally!! If you go to my Facebook page, you can message me privately there and I can send that info to you!!

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