Opposite me at the table is a mother of three grown daughters. After a deep sigh, she candidly says that everyone always asks how her transgender daughter is doing. But, she says, no one asks how I am.
That sigh comes up regularly in the conversations I have with parents. The fact that the transition does -or can do- something with parents seems to be missed by many. The mothers I supervise often run into this. And I don’t think I’m revealing a very big secret when I say that parents have emotions, too.
Although every mother supports her child, some of them also feel worries and emotions. I’ve always said it was like walking on two paths. The paths run parallel to each other and do not intersect. The left path is the unconditional support for your child. In addition, the right path and that is the path of the emotions of the mother. So it may be that you are happy for your child and do everything for your child and still feel sadness. Those two don’t bite each other, but where the first makes so much sense, the second doesn’t seem logical to the outside world at all.
For years I have spoken openly about the grief I have felt at the loss of my daughter for the sole purpose of letting other parents know that they are not alone. I always get a lot of reactions from parents of transgender children. In their apps, emails and DMs they write to me how nice it is to read that they are not the only one. It’s just not positive messages I get on this. Not infrequently I get reactions that mean I should be ashamed. And oh yes, how awful it must have been for my transgender child to have me as a mother.
Many people have no idea what is involved if it turns out that your child is transgender and that makes sense. But it would be a lot nicer for everyone if we stop judging and start listening. And ask questions. So that the many of the mothers I guide feel a little less lonely with their emotions.