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Dear Therapist: I Love My Trans Daughter, but I’m Still Struggling

He doesn’t pressure me to meet his emotional and sexual needs, but we don’t talk about what’s happened either

Last summer when my son came home from college, he told my husband and me that he is trans. He said he is a girl, and I am having trouble with this.

My son and I were always very close. I struggled to get pregnant and when it happened, it felt like a miracle. He is my only child, and I was a stay-at-home mom while my husband traveled and worked a lot.

Now she has a new name, one I had no say in choosing. She confides in my husband more than me, which leaves me feeling like an outsider. Although I’m assured that I’ve gained a daughter, my input on clothing and hygiene is no longer solicited.

I expected some loss when I sent my child to school. I knew I couldn’t be his best friend forever, but I didn’t think I’d lose everything. It feels like a death. I don’t know how to process the grief. It sneaks up on me, and I have to hide in the bathroom to cry. It’s overtaking everything.

I’m not conservative. I ache when she doesn’t eat or drink during the six-hour drive back to school, because she’s avoiding public restrooms.

The other night, my mom and I were looking at old photos of my child when he was young. His second birthday, his trains, his ripped-up blankie he wore like a superhero cape. It was too much. I told her to put it away, and I feel awful for that.

What you’re experiencing is a deep sense of loss, and one reason you might be struggling to process your grief is that several strands of it have been tangled into one. Some are related to the loss of your child’s assigned gender, some to the loss of your child more generally as she grows away from you and into her adulthood, and some to the ways in which you may have lost important aspects of yourself long before you heard this news.

Let’s start with the first one-the revelation that you have a daughter. Continue reading Dear Therapist: I Love My Trans Daughter, but I’m Still Struggling