As we know, one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to our children. Parenting Perspectives is a blog series which aims to share posts from other mums (and dads) that take an alternative view to “traditional” parenting, whether by choice or not.
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This week, Beth from http://bethschildminding.co.uk shares her story of the journey she takes with her transgender child and how she said goodbye to her little girl and hello to her little boy.
So where to begin, to explain the unexpected path we’re on?
I already had two daughters when I found out I was expecting my third. Another daughter, such a blessing. I was a single, confident mother with my own business, who enjoyed children and all that they bring.
N was born and life changed.
As a baby she was a miserable and hated people talking to her – hated people other than me. She was so unsettled and upset.
What could possibly be wrong with my beautiful little person?
Doctors and Health Visitors got involved, and Autism kept being mentioned. I researched Autism and although a strong possibility, some things just didn’t fit N.
As N got older, she excelled in her physical development and by age two she was clean night and day. Her speech was also coming on leaps and bounds. Then, when she was around two and a half, she said three words that would set us on a path that I never expected.
“I’m a boy”
Of course, the first time she said it I found it funny and assumed she was playing. But, this went on, and on.
At nursery she would tell her friends she was a boy and ask me and her sisters why we call her a girl. Nursery said we should try to be as gender neutral as possible and not upset her by saying ‘good girl’. They said not to use pronouns.
Confusion and upset followed.
I had a miserable little girl for approximately another year, then I did it. I listened.
Then, I took him to the Drs, who also listened. Like me, they didn’t understand, but like me, they wanted to help him. They referred us to The Tavistock and Portman. We waited.
Whilst we waited, something happened. N started smiling, laughing and playing happily. The 1st day I said, “good boy” to him was bitter sweet. He looked elated. I, however, knew I had just said goodbye to my daughter.
The one thing I have had to be very firm with N is around his genitals. He went through a phase of asking when ‘his willy will grow’. I had to be honest and realistic with him. Not to give him false hope.
We waited approximately 18months for The Tavistock referral and this has been one area they have helped so much with. They recommended a great age appropriate book called ‘The Body Book’ which shows our bodies and how they grow. N understands that a willy will not grow and this is something that as he grows older will no doubt be a subject at the forefront of his mind.
Everything about N now is a new experience. I have never raised a boy before. Sure, I have looked after boys but never raised one. I can liken it to having a Labrador; N needs way more running around! My middle child was very outdoorsy and loved “boy toys” but N loves to climb, take things apart and generally get ‘stuck in’. I don’t know if he’s trying to constantly prove his masculinity or just naturally likes these things? He is so loving though, love pours out of him.
So here I am, a single mother of three children. Three happy children.And a fulltime childminder to five others. Experienced in what I do, but clueless about this journey.
N is the happiest I have ever seen him as the little boy he was meant to be
He is content.
Often, he will ask me, “Do you remember when everyone thought I was a girl?”. Yes, N I do
Am I doing the right thing? I have no idea other than, right here, right now my child is happy.
Will N always be a boy? No idea.
What do I want him to be? Happy.
The future is scary and I don’t know what it brings. Motherhood is scary though right? My 13 year old daughter scares the hell out of me most days with her ideas and dream. My 11 year old starts secondary school in a few days. Scary.
This is just a new set of fears with N that yes, I would rather not be facing, but here we are.
Our trans journey begins.
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Brilliant and beautiful article, thank you. As far as I’m aware, the available research suggests that parents going along with their child’s idea of their gender identity is the way to give them the best chance of good mental health in the future, regardless of who they end up being, so there’s no reason not to be supportive. It’s wonderful to see so many people being open about this these days, and to hear of the increase and steps forward in societal support for transgender people of all ages. I hope it continues.
Although I still think we have a way to go, there is definitely a positive increase in people’s openness. I also hope it continues! Thank you for your lovely comment.
Thank you xx
You’re welcome! Thank you for sharing your story 🙂
Wonderful and honest post from the heart.