So many things get lost in a long life; keys, umbrellas, gloves, scarves, even money. Much of it, we never see again. How we react to that depends on the extent of loving and how bereft we feel without them. The more important a thing is, the closer to our hearts; the deeper it hurts.
Trans Men and Women come in for a huge amount of loss; there’s a whole chapter warning you about it in the handbook, or rather there should be. Even if the handbook did exist, would we heed the warning? Probably not. If you’re Trans you feel driven by an inexorable force: One which destines you to never be happy, not content until your body matches more closely who you are inside. Two stark realities slowly begin to filter their way through the other horrors of being Trans; 1. If you transition you may never have children; 2. If you have children, you may lose them anyway.
Aged 9, I still cherished the thought of growing up a woman like every other girl and giving birth to children. Being a Mum/Mom was a huge life goal for me; a fulfilment I very much wanted as part of my life. Aged 9 I had only vague ideas about where babies came from; High School and puberty changed all that. As an older teen I wept for the babies I would never bear even though I hoped that one day I might have a family. Growing up a girl, even if only on the inside, you still have maternal feelings and longing to give birth. You can’t help that and it hurts so very much. You still think of baby names, a home and a husband even if you know they can’t be yours. Those never born children are lost to you, for ever and for always though you cradle them in your mind and in your heart.
When I did enter marriage, dysfunctional as it was, it also brought me a huge joy and relief. I now have two children born to me; both girls, both women now; both resemble me in some ways. They are individuals with lives and loves of their own; their names Beth and Meriel. One of them I lost along the way and I still cry for her as she’s no longer in my life. Not long after I began my transition, my eldest daughter then aged 16, walked out my door and then out of my life, slamming both behind her. From that point on; her Dance Recitals; her successes and failures; her milestones, birthdays; ups and downs; lows and highs were taken away from me. I no longer know her address or where she live. I know she lives in Surrey. When Meriel graduated College, she didn’t want me there and when she settles down with a family I will probably be closed off from that too. I lost her good and proper. Though I hope and cry sometimes, I wonder if she will ever return to me or acknowledge me as her parent.
I almost lost my youngest daughter too; repeatedly. It happened through recurrent bouts of depression. Beth suffers from Cyclothymia and with it comes periods of feeling like she can’t carry on. She is so precious, my one remaining daughter. Maybe sometimes I cling to her and fret more than a mother should but I love her so: Lesbian, Dyslexic, Dyspraxic, beautiful and incredibly caring; the one daughter I have left has looked out for me too when things have been tough. I owe so much to her. She acknowledges me as her Mum and fiercely defends my right to be me. She is a Trans ally like no other; a young woman with amazing depth and insight whose blogs you may have read. She is the child I am so glad to have when so much else was lost.
I realise when talking to other Trans women, how incredibly lucky I am. So many of them have lost more than their children and their marriage. By some good fortune I kept my ex partner as a sister, one daughter and so many of my friends. Reading this you will probably have your own story, your own losses, possibly way worse than mine. I’m sorry. That must hurt so much. It always does doesn’t it?
On St. Valentines Day last, I had the most wonderful evening with my boyfriend. It was perfect. It felt even more wonderful for being the first time and I am so in love with him. Deeply in love in a way that I suspect neither of us have ever been before. I love resting my head on his shoulder. That feels divine as well. Another woman sat at an adjacent table said ‘I’m sure I can hear Wedding Bells’. It made us both smile. And now I’m wondering, wishing and waiting….When I do get married, as I know I will, will both my daughters come to my wedding or even be my bridesmaids? I know that one will. I wish the other could be there too.
Hugs, Jane xx