Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Ask Wednesday: Ask Susan

My son says he's a girl; what do I do?

By Susan C. Price

[Questions are followed by answers and then, inevitably by DID expect that...didn’t you?]

My son (25 years old) recently told me that he was born into the wrong sex of body, and he has begun a “transgender journey.” I am having so, so much trouble accepting this. I feel as though I am being expected to forget that I have a son (I gave him a special name when he was born!)—or to pretend that he is dead or never existed—and now accept this new girl person as a replacement, even though “she” looks and acts just like my son always has. It was a SON I gave birth to, not a DAUGHTER!
    Please advise me what to do, or how to think about this. –Mom

Dear Mom:
    This is big, for each of you. Allow yourself to feel, to mourn, if necessary( in private or with other people, not directly to the child). Sometimes, writing about it...even to yourself, can be helpful.
    You continue to be this child’s mother. One reason I bet you wanted to be a parent was to help grow and develop a being into a self-sufficient, healthy, happy person. As you know, this process often leads to independence and unexpected places. And this is one of those.
    But the point is that you are to be congratulated, you have managed to raise a person who is thinking for herself and who still wants to have a relationship with you, the mom. (I bet you don’t have to look far to see other parents shut out of everything in their childrens’ lives?) So yeah, this is a surprise...maybe, and a challenge for you and for your child. And, it’s not easy, for either of you.
    Strive to be the mom you intended to be to an intelligent, questing child. Lots of us change our names...cus we wind up not “fitting.”
    Life is change (and, yeah, I keep having to learn this over and over). The only good choice is to swallow hard, and roll with it :-)

[We would really like more questions to answer, so send ’em in….]
Copyright © 2014 by Susan C. Price

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  1. Your son tells you he's a girl. What do you do? ASK SUSAN! [Thank you, Susan!]

  2. I don't think Susan's answer actually answers Mom's question. How is she to deal with the many years with a son and now with a daughter? Basically the answer seems to be "just deal with it and move on." That doesn't seem to be what Mom wants or needs. The answer seems incomplete. Can Susan please say more in a comment? Thanks!

  3. Ah, i think i did miss some of the essence of this question. Going too frequent error. Thanks for the comment.
    Yup, 25 years is a long-time relationship.
    Maybe a good thought is to treat the first 25 years as you might best treat a friendship/marriage that was great, then good, then... not ...... Keeping the memories...however you keep them. Keeping at least some of the photos on the wall ("yup, this is how I/we/you used to dress or look"), and all that YOU want to keep in albums or on-line. I am not certain that this child is asking you to forget what was...just to walk beside her as the journey progresses into the a slightly different form from what you had envisioned. And I think that remembering that what children become, is not always as WE dream, might be useful.
    The essential person is still there, still the same. The past is not gone, nor should it be forgotten or ignored. It informs and helps to shape the present. And your child is not asking you to forget or wipe out life-to-date.