The beginning of senior school- years 7 & 8

Senior school years approached and because of logistics the best school for Jess was a girls school, it wasn’t her school of choice, ironically the one she wanted to go and it possibly rates amongst the best in the country is 1/2 mile from our house. At the time of school applications we lived elsewhere so moving close to this school the summer before seemed ironic.
Jess moved up to senior school, in the full throws of puberty . She refused to wear a bra, something most teenage girls can’t wait to do, instead settled for sporty crop vests. She found the transition to such a large school very difficult, although she had moved up with some girls from primary school it seemed they had all been put into different forms so new friendships began to be formed albeit slowly. Jess hated the way some of the girls swore, smoked and behaved, she just wanted to learn, she continued to be a studious child but I began to see her withdraw.
It’s difficult to look back and remember those years as at the time I felt I existed through them, watching your daughter look so blatantly unhappy and knowing everyday you had to take them to a place that accentuated it was heartbreaking. She began to have panic attacks, numerous times we would get to school and she couldn’t get out the car, sobbing I would drive home and rearrange my working day and stay at home with her, obviously there came a point whereby we had to make contact with the school to explain the situation. I felt there was little support from the school and throughout her time there communication was never one of its strengths.
Jess started to neglect her appearance, not really bothering how her hair looked, not bothered about clothes, the typical things a young girl embraces, I just accepted it just wasn’t her, instead she became more involved with computer games and anime was discovered, cosplay became a passion, a love for her that has grown and she still embraces with enthusiasm to this day.
By the end of year 8 things began to settle down, she was excelling at school, had made a small group of friends, one in particular, Lucy, who became a very close friend over the following years ahead.
Those 2 years were tough, it tugged at my heart so much, no one likes to see a loved one in so much distress, but I guess being unsure on the cause left me without a path to follow, I just hoped she would find happiness.
There was happiness awaiting Jess on the horizon, someone that came into her life, maybe some would say a soul mate, someone who has remained a rock and I’m so grateful for. A person that has showed to me that love can conquer anything and maybe the happy ever after to my story will involve this person, who knows, I’m just eternally grateful that their paths crossed and together happiness, courage and love has evolved.

How to Be a Girl

gendermom

For several months now, I’ve been secretly working on a new project.  I just launched it, and I want YOU, the kind and gentle readers of my blog, to be the first to know about it:

logo My new podcast! Starring gendermom and M.!

It’s an audio podcast about me and M.  In each episode, I talk about what it’s like raising a transgender kid, and M. chimes in with her wise and witty six-year-old perspective, too.  I created an animation to accompany the first one, which you can view here:  http://vimeo.com/93816674

You can listen to the rest of the episodes on my new podcast website, www.howtobeagirlpodcast.com, or find it on iTunes.

If you like it, please spread the word! I’d like as many people as possible to learn more about kids like mine.

View original post

The primary school years

Jess attended a small primary school, the kind where everyone one knows everyone else. There was about 16 in her class, almost equal boys to girls. She thrived here, seemingly sailing through her education with ease. She had a group of girl friends but also quite happily hung out with the boys, she still loved the solar system and told me endless facts about it, but her love for anything technical had started, she knew her way around a Pc with her eyes closed, loved computer games and of course was one of the original Pokemon players 😄 surprisingly I still know most names of the first edition Pokemon and what they evolve to, one day I may need this information!
The older Jess got the more she had influence over her clothes, so a dress was rarely chosen, hair generally on the shorter side but nothing at that point that rang alarm bells for me, they I guess were to follow at senior school.

The baby years

image

So motherhood overtook me, I can’t say I was a natural, at times I felt totally out of my depth, but with each day and new challenge I learnt to cope. I realised quite early on that although I loved my daughter I really didn’t want to repeat the experience, one Would be enough for me, so I threw my heart and soul into raising a child that even though I had my own hopes and dreams for them, ultimately they would be happy, healthy and content with their life. It’s hard to imagine when you’re cradling your tiny baby girl, loving the way she snuggled into you, the way she reached up to twiddle your hair that one day they would grow up, become opinionated and ultimately your hero- it takes an incredible person with strength of character to stand up and say ‘ hey this is me and I’m really a boy,’

Jessica grew and developed according to age, I soon realised they she had an incredible grasp for the English language, I distinctly remember having a conversation with an 18 month old, one that could string sentences together and ask questions, I guess I felt this was normal but looking now at other children I see it was exceptional, but at the time it became my normal. She took great pleasure in visiting the library every week where she would choose her 10 books and we would devour them over the week, reading together, reciting the stories, loving the little worlds we had entered together. I guess the first time I remember her displeasure In wearing an outfit was at about 18 months when she had been given a beautiful wool coat in bright red, she flatly refused to wear it, telling me she didn’t like it and it was a clowns coat! Was that her first experience I wonder of realising something didn’t feel right and her own comparison in her little world was a clown?

Although she adored a particular Disney princess she also didn’t really play with dolls and typical girls toys. Her kitchen she would turn into a zoo, locking away the animals in cupboard, she loved dressing up, she became fascinated with the planets and I always remember her making a bee line for the brio train set in the early learning centre, I really wish we had brought her one, but she never asked so I guess it never crossed our minds.

Although Jessica during their childhood years didn’t fit in with the normal behavour I accepted her as being a special and gifted child, she had an incredible thirst for knowledge which I fed and encouraged. She became my world, I showered her in love actually never looked too far into the future. It’s probably a wise choice for how can you ever be prepared for your daughter telling you they actually were your son?

 

I’m just normal, what’s normal?

I would just say I’m normal, nothing special, an everyday person doing everyday things. Twenty years ago I had my  first and only child, wow time has flown by, at the time I desperately wanted a baby girl, I honestly couldn’t see myself as a mother of a boy, but during my pregnancy my lovely nan kept reminding me I was carrying a boy, eventually I realised I would have to accept this possibility , of course on the day of my baby’s birth, a beautiful sunny day where by they couldn’t wait to enter the world and appeared within 3 hours of arriving at the hospital, I was just relieved I had a healthy baby, at that time the gender really didn’t concern me, how could it? I had an amazing bundle of beauty, something I had carried, loved and cherished over the previous 9 months and to finally greet this little being was wonderful. I threw myself into motherhood, I realised very early on I had an intelligent child. I encouraged their love for knowledge, I embraced their individuality as they grew and actually felt proud my daughter stood up for what they believed in even if sometimes it would put them in a position of being the odd kid. Then things changed, we went through some distressing, turbulent times until finally 18 months a ago I was told they felt they were transgender and that’s where my story will begin.

This is my journey, as a parent who lost a daughter and gained a son. I will reminisce over the years and hopefully help myself and others with dealing with this in a positive way.

I welcome others wishing to add comments and their experiences, only by education can we make this just being normal too