Guest Blog

If you are interested in sharing your experiences as a “trans mom,” send me a message at transformingloveblog@gmail.com!

GUEST POSTS:

Another Mother’s Amazing and Inspirational Experience

I am THRILLED to have a place to share the experiences of other “transmoms”! Below you will have the opportunity to share in an incredible story. The warrior mom (aren’t each of us fighting for our kids?!) below, chose to take what could have been (understandably!!) a sad reminder  of what she once enjoyed and was no longer, and transformed her feelings into a most positive, loving, and supportive experience. Transmoms- we can ALL learn from this wonderful mother’s example of LOVE!

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Last week I was reorganizing a drawer when my fingers grazed something hard.  I reached down and found an old key chain I had saved from when my kids were little.  It was made of worn out ceramic beads that spelled my kids’ names– Spencer and Nick.  I blinked back tears as I immediately thought about the court hearing just a few days away.  Nick was changing his name to Kaylee, and his gender to female.  It’s been 11 months since Kaylee told me about being transgender, and I have really calmed down a great deal about the transition.  But those ceramic beads temporarily re-opened feelings of loss.  Sometimes it’s a photo, an old pair of sneakers, an old toy, and there I go, thinking about what was.  I put the key chain back in the drawer and pushed away the sad thoughts.

What better way to deal with my feelings than to go to the mall and find a name/gender change gift for Kaylee.  My sister calls it “retail therapy” and, wow, I needed it.  I chose a beautiful jewelry box and had the inside engraved with these words: “Start living the life of your dreams today.  We love you,  Mom & Dad.”  I also added the date of the hearing, October 3, 2012.

The day arrived and my husband and I went to court where we met Kaylee and her girlfriend.  The judge asked us all to come into her chambers, and she could not have been more sensitive or kind in conducting the hearing.  She asked who we all were and how Kaylee had chosen her name.  She approved the paperwork and signed the Decree…Kaylee was elated and we were happy for her!!!  We all hugged and left the judge’s chambers.

The celebration continued at a local restaurant, where my sister and brother-in-law joined in.  Just after we sat down, I got a phone call from a friend back east who I last saw in July.  She said she had something important to tell me about Kaylee.  We are not the kind of friends who talk to each other a lot, it’s really our husbands who are close friends, so I thought it was strange that she would call at that very moment.  She said she had been to see a psychic that day and in the middle of the reading, the psychic asked her if she knew a Kaylee.  My friend thought of us and answered yes.  The psychic said that Kaylee’s parents were the perfect people to help the sensitive soul that Kaylee is.  She said that Kaylee was very happy within herself,  with feet planted firmly on the ground and that she would be successful in the world and would give back.  I was stunned.  What were the odds of getting a call from this particular friend immediately after the hearing (of which she had no knowledge) with such an incredible message about Kaylee??

It was strangely magical, just like Kaylee’s transformation.  We all marveled at the beauty of the morning’s events as we started eating breakfast and enjoying each other.  The day I had been sad about,  had turned into one of the best days, as new memories formed.

“Blurred Gender” by Lisa

I am happy to introduce you to a warrior  mom! It will be clear as you read the following guest blog that we ARE able to embrace our children and support those around us in the process! Please pass the word!

I am the mother of a son who blurs the lines between boy and girl. For many this is a non-issue. However, for many we know it is the only issue. Navigating the confines of our society’s gender binary when you are a child, like mine, is foggy. Since the age of three my son, Morgan, blurred his parents idea of what is acceptable for a boy – his version included practically living in a Tinkerbell costume (and a couple years later wearing that same costume to a performance at the Pacific NW Ballet).

My husband and I have long advocated for equal rights for the LGBTQ community. So we saw this behavior as proof that human sexual orientation is part of our DNA. For about a year we went bounding down the road of stereotypes, proudly claiming that our son is probably gay.

We quickly learned that people are not comfortable talking about any child’s sexuality, not to mention one that’s outside of heterosexuality. In addition, I started to question gender identity separately from sexual orientation. Is he gay? Could he be transgender? (I would convince myself of reasons why he’s not). The truth is we do not know, nor does my son…yet. More importantly it’s irrelevant. What is relevant is my child’s happiness. The beauty of happiness is that it looks different to each of us. For Morgan, today, it looks like painted fingernails, a purple scarf, lipstick and his favorite LEGO Star Wars t-shirt, and tomorrow is a new adventure for all of us.

I also knew that we weren’t alone. As Morgan approached kindergarten, I wanted to create relationships with other families like ours. We hadn’t met any other boys who played the same way he did. We felt if we had a network Morgan’s transition into school would be less bumpy. My husband and I worried about the unknowns of letting our child, that we nurtured, protected, taught, guided and loved with every ounce of our being, walk into a building of strangers, out of sight and out of reach. Fortunately, we have an amazing family, friends and community that embrace us exactly as we are with love, support, and encouragement. Born out of that, I created My Purple Umbrella.

With the help of a dear friend, Jane, we brought My Purple Umbrella to life (http://www.facebook.com/mypurpleumbrella). The mission of MPU is to provide a fun, safe, and creative environment for gender variant children 13 and under through play. Also, to facilitate a support network for families and caretakers by providing resources via educators, medical specialists and media. Since our inception, we’ve expanded our criteria to include families with same sex parents, transgender parents, relatives, and friends of MPU kids. It is our belief that through MPU we can increase self-esteem, sense of worth, confidence, and skills for these children. From this mom’s perspective, it is my responsibility to create a space for Morgan to grow into a beautiful, loving, giving, and joyful human – whatever form that takes.

“Happiness Is” by gettrich

The following is from a blog that I regularly enjoy. The author has been kind enough to give me permission for me to share it with you. While the author does not write about transgender issues…she is a mother that is a terrific writer- one that regularly (even though both my children are grown) hits the mark on parenting concerns and family issues. I invite you to enjoy more of her writing at:

http://unmotherlyinsights.com/

I heard something interesting on the radio the other day about happiness. Happiness, the philosophical talk show host explained, was different depending on your stage of life. He went on to say that when you are young, happiness comes mostly from thinking about your future. Then, in middle age, it comes largely from being in the moment and living life, often quite hectically, in the present. Old age finally, finds happiness predominately from memories of the past.
I haven’t been able to shake this concept. I find it sad and disturbing. Mostly because I think it’s true. I don’t want this part of my life, where I’m caught busily racing from present moment to present moment, to ever end. I am happy where I am. Yes, I’m stressed out, overwhelmed and run ragged 98% of the time. But I love my kids, my family, my husband, my work, my creative time. I’d like life to go on like this indefinitely. The thing is, I know it wont. I feel the present slipping away from me with each tick of the clock. Honestly, it’s a curse to be so hyper aware of time’s passage. My ardent attempts to suck every bit of marrow out of each passing moment often feels more like a futile attempt to build a lasting sand castle right in the middle of high tide. Try as I may, failure is inevitable.
I remember at the very end of my paternal grandfather’s life, we were all sitting around his bedside celebrating his birthday. He was very old and frail by then, a mere shell of his former self. As the cake emerged with a scattering of representative candles, my maternal grandmother, the only other elder remaining in our clan, posed this question defeatedly to my grandpa. “Oh, Irwin,” she sighed, “Where have all the good years gone?” He smiled weakly, looked around at his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. and with the same sparkle we’d seen in his younger eyes said, “They’ve been replaced by better ones.”
I will never forget that moment. Somehow, my grandfather had managed to keep his consciousness focused on the beauty of what was right in front of him. He had escaped the trap of only living in the glory of the past. As we age, we can lose sight of the good that stands before us and idealize earlier times when we’d been untouched by loss, pain and trauma.
The truth is, there will always be moments of joy, beauty and wonder, no matter what our age. We just can’t ever stop looking for them.

13 Responses to “Guest Blog”

  1. Gail April 19, 2012 at 2:12 am #

    You hang in there! I think about both of you more than you can imagine.

    • transmom May 14, 2012 at 11:34 pm #

      Thanks sooo much! We mommies just keep loving- it is what we do best!!! My heart is also with you!

  2. Bev June 3, 2015 at 10:49 pm #

    I have a different reality than many of you who have posted – one that I continue to struggle with every day. My son who is almost 39 revealed about 6 years ago that he was a cross-dresser. Without taking everyone through my journey of handling this, I will just go to the present which is that he is transitioning from male to female. His journey included a marriage and three children: two girls and a boy ages 3-11. If I only had my son to be concerned about, I could handle this much easier. I now have these precious grandchildren who do not know about their father yet. They are young, innocent, and I have this ache in my heart about what the future may hold for them. I know the way society is today is not generally accepting of those who are different. I’m afraid they will be bullied, I am afraid they will be mad at their dad, I’m afraid, I’m afraid, I’m afraid.

    My son’s personality has also changed. He was once a very caring and thoughtful person. To his Dad and me, he now seems to be all about doing what is “right for him” regardless of who it may hurt. I don’t know if this is a result of him taking a prescription drug for ADHD which he has abused in the past, or if it is his own internal struggles. I struggle with protecting and supporting my son and the thought of protecting my grandchildren. That “mom” instinct kicks in and I have this internal conflict going on with protecting him from harm and protecting his children from harm. Some how, they just don’t mesh together in my mind.

    I know some of you may think that I am a terrible person, but I just think it is important to be honest in sharing my story. My “golden years” have been turned upside down. I blame myself – “Did I do something during pregnancy? Was it wrong for me to let him play with whatever he wanted to play with as a child?” (he played mostly with boy toys and did typical boy things) We didn’t care if he played with his sisters dolls or dishes so he did on occasion. But, still there is blame in my heart for seeing my child go through so much pain. I want to protect him. I want to go back in time when he was a baby and just hold him in my arms for hours. I feel so inadequate. I feel so broken that I can’t protect my child and his children from the discrimination of this world.

    • transmom June 4, 2015 at 4:20 am #

      Dear Bev,
      I don’t think there will be a mom here that won’t sympathize with your pain! There are so MANY emotions that each of us feels as mothers of transgender children- no matter what their ages!! Of course you want to protect your child and your grandchildren- you love them. And of course this is not at all what you had in mind for them. We often find ourselves on these journeys that, frankly, for which we don’t remember signing up! But, in fact, we did! When we chose to bring our babes into the world, we, in fact, signed up for whatever they brought along in the journey. Nope- we don’t have to like it. We don’t have to agree with it. We can even question their choices. But the people our children become have less to do with us than we would think or worry. I asked the same thing when I went to a therapist specializing in gender: my (now) son and your son’s gender identification have NOTHING to do with what we did or didn’t do as mothers!! They are the individuals they are. Whether struggling with ADHD or other issues- their genders are their own. I think one of the most difficult part of THEIR journey for us moms is to step aside and let them make these choices while loving them from the sidelines. It’s hard work to watch from the sidelines!! I also worry about the world and how my kid will survive, Bev! Will he always be safe? Will someone “out” him or scrutinize him publicly? Will he be accepted and appreciated? Will he remain happy and loved? I work hard at remembering that my worries have only a negative impact on me- no positive influence on my child’s precious life or well-being.

      Hang in there, Bev- your grandchildren will always love their father, no matter how he appears, just as you will always love your son!

  3. stacy September 16, 2015 at 1:46 am #

    So happy to find like minded mothers on line!! Looking for advice for my son (mtf) in coping with two suicides within his friend network this year. one was local, went to school together but not in same grade, the other tonight but in another country? wish all parents could be accepting of our kids and not put them through additional pain for being different? any advice would be welcome. just want to be good mom and support my son and all the other kids looking for acceptance . hard enough to be teenager in this time? why shun your own flesh and blood because you dont understand?

    • transmom October 4, 2015 at 9:19 pm #

      It must be devastating for your son/daughter to endure such losses in her young life! You sound like you are already loving and supportive- just keep letting your child know you are there for her NO MATTER WHAT!! You may want to consider having a conversation about why folks turn to suicide and how she can prevent herself from feelings of hopelessness…steps that she can know to take if she begins to feel the same way. If she is not in counseling yet- now is a great time!!

  4. laura January 26, 2016 at 10:12 pm #

    I have a problem dealing with my step daughter being transgender. When she first said she was lesbian I had no problem with that, but now she says she’s transgender and want to have a sex change. I am having a real issue with this. She’s only 14 soon to be 15 and I don’t think shes really thought about what transitioning to a man might involve. I have been as supportive as I can but I can’t take it anymore. She’s going over board with it. I’m tired of hearing it, I find it disgusting. I now have found myself avoiding her when I know she’s going to bring it up.

    I dont understand why I get so upset? Why am I infuriated every time she mentions wearing means clothing, looking like a man, and having a sex change? There are people who are born with severe deformities and she wants to destroy a perfectly functioning body so she can look like a guy. I don’t get it. And if she does decide to do this is she ever going to have a relationship with a woman who is ok with the fact her boyfriend used to be a girl. Girls go after guys because they are attracted to guys, not girls who are turned into guys.

    I asked her how she would feel if she found someone she cared for and found out it was a guy who transformed himself into a girl. She said she would have to break it off because she wants a “whole” woman. I said you will be doing to the same thing.

    Please no negative or hateful comments, I’m trying to understand my situation better without pushing her away. I love her to death but I can’t grasp this.

    Another thing I have a gay nephew who has a great boyfriend and I have no problem with them. I greatly enjoy their company. I even have some great lesbian friends. So why does this eat at me so bad.

    • transmom February 1, 2016 at 1:21 am #

      Hi Laura. I think the difficulty in what you may be feeling may be rooted in understanding. You have an understanding and acceptance of your gay nephew and other gay folks. I think you are tolerant of them because of your desire to be open and you have had experiences that have allowed you to come away with a positive notion of gay individulas. I think you may be expecting THAT knowledge and experience to be easily translated to your step-daughter’s experience. But, honestly, transgender and homosexuality CAN’T be compared. Being gay is about sexuality and the partners to whom one feels attracted. It is great that you are open to this difference among people. It doesn’t inherently change who your nephew or others are, so I believe such a difference is easier to comprehend and tolerate. However, being transgender is NOT about a person’s sexuality at all..this is a question of idenity! A person doesn’t come to this conclusion based upon their attraction to someone else. There are many young children that discover this dissidence years before they ever discover they are sexual beings. This change DOES mean changing the way in which that person goes forward in the world. This kind of change DOES impact you and other family members. It CAN “mess” with our sense of who that person is and how we relate to them. There are expectations that may suddenly be challenged. It’s a huge deal! It means you and her family having to accept what is EXTREMELY difficult to understand…and believing what a 14 year old believes is true about herself. Imagine that your 4 year old is screaming out that same thruth for themselves: this requires parents and loved ones to take a huge leap of faith in something THEY cannot see or feel! No wonder it is eating at you!!!
      I appreciate your asking and trying to understand, Laura!! It will be helpful for your relationship with the step-daughter you love, for you to continue to reach out. Not only to her personally, but by reading and seeking other parents also challenged in the same way! Personally, I would discourage you from talking to her “about what might happen if…” types of senarios…she is 14 and doesn’t yet know how she will react in every situation. She doesn’t know what her sexual preferences will be when she is 30. I suggest, instead, that you both focus on where she is right now. What feels authentic to her? What makes her happy? What is reasonable? I hope you will also keep in mind that you are dealing with an adolescent. All adolescents struggle with independence and identity so this is especially a difficult time…her hormones are going one direction while her sense of self is heading in another. Imagine how difficult this is for her! I hope you will be able to find support for your family so that you will be able to make sound decisions together.

    • Pam May 18, 2016 at 8:25 pm #

      Laura, Your written questions are refreshing, reminding me of my own journey, and my journal where I rage against the Universe, writing all my thoughts that are too risky to say to my daughson.

      They said they were lesbian at the age of 18, at age 19 they said they were bisexual, by 20 they dropped the T-bomb. That’s the way it hit me, being told they were transgender. My therapist said, in a nutshell: it’s just a phase.

      As my husband calls it the “ultimate masquerade”, that leaves just my journal to talk to as I struggle through these thoughts and feelings. The longer I sit with my feelings, the more things I discover about myself and unresolved memories of my own gender and sexual experiences as a young adult.

      I also read everything I can about transgender and this site is a great find! In my journal I have this quote from the book Far From The Tree: “Even a kid who is fully supported is still hugely at risk… Do not ever assume as a parent that you have time to have your own pity party.”

      My daughson had chest reconstruction last week at the age of 24… while I raged in my journal about the insanity of lopping off perfectly good breasts, Getting a grip on my own feelings (fear, anger, confusion) is paramount to becoming the whole person that my young adult child needs to be there for their support.

      Best wishes on your journey.

      • transmom May 20, 2016 at 3:43 am #

        Wow! Pam, you are amazing! Despite your own struggle with fear and doubt for your child, you are putting your child first! I love the quote- “Even a kid who is fully supported is still hugely at risk… Do not ever assume as a parent that you have time to have your own pity party.” Thanks so very much for sharing it!! You have reminded me that it’s time to reread Far From The Tree!! Please let us know how your journey continues!

    • Renee January 19, 2017 at 2:58 am #

      Dear Laura, It’s been a year since you posted about your step daughter. My daughter just announced to me via video that she is a boy. I am currently where you were a year ago. I’m wondering how things have progressed for you and the family.

  5. Sarah July 10, 2016 at 7:21 pm #

    Good afternoon I just sent you a story about my transgender child it was about 1 hour ago.I was wondering if you got my email and story .I was wondering if you can let me know I sent it to you on an email address that I am closing down so if you can reply on this new one .If it’s ok if I can contuie sharing my transgender daughter story please let me know thanks .Have a great day

    • transmom September 10, 2016 at 4:00 am #

      I’m sorry, Sarah, I never received it

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