When my child “came out” to my husband and me, I was scared and confused – and completely at peace. You can read about that journey here.
I remember feeling the tightness in my chest which I equate with grief (and that’s a whole different post) one day and it confused me. Why was I grieving? No one died… did they?
I called one of my best friends that day to talk through it. When I asked her if it was right that I was grieving, she said absolutely.
What I discovered was that I was not grieving for my child (as I know many LGBTQ+ parents do) but I was grieving for what I THOUGHT was going to be my life with my daughter.
When my daughter was born, I had no idea what to do with little girl. I had 5 nephews at the time and was much more comfortable with them. I mean, I liked to get dressed up and put on make-up as much as the next person but a GIRL??
As this precious gift grew, I started to dream. Having my sister help with her make-up (cause it wasn’t gonna be me. LOL), buying dresses, and any other “girlie” things I could think of. I don’t know that I did it consciously but it was definitely there.
When my child came out as transgender, those dreams went up in smoke. My child does not identify with either gender; they are not using the name their Dad and I gave them at birth. Wow, no wonder I was grieving.
As much as I write this from a calm, rational perspective (or at least I try to), pockets of grief still come up. Questions will come up as I continue to learn and try to be empathetic with what they are going through.
I also have to acknowledge my own challenges and pain, as I don’t know that I fully have… or it will come in waves as grief does.
I am writing this for two major reasons:
Parents, it’s OK to grieve. Give yourself the space to do that. Let the fear, the anger, or whatever you are feeling out because it’s not good to keep it inside.
LGBTQ+ peeps, let your parents grieve. They are grieving for what they THOUGHT was going to happen – not grieving what you are (and if they are, I am sorry!)
Let those emotions flow so you can be the parent you are meant to be for the child who is fully who they are.