Your child constantly surprises you.
Where did she learn that little habit she has? How did he figure out something you never showed him? What kind of thought processes go on inside that wise little head?
Almost every day, you learn more and more about your own offspring including, maybe, something you never saw coming. Or did you? In the new book Transitions of the Heart, edited by Rachel Pepper, you’ll see how other mothers have coped with their biggest surprise of all.
Unless you’ve experienced it, you can’t understand the feelings of confusion or isolation that come when your son says he’s really a girl, or your daughter swears she’s a boy trapped in the wrong body.
When that happens, you might think you’re alone—but that’s not the case, as you’ll see in this book. Other mothers have gone through this with strength and acceptance, and you can, too. The thing to remember is that this is a transition for both of you.
Maybe, like so many moms who tell their stories here, you aren’t really that surprised after all. Everything might make sense now: your daughter isn’t just a tomboy. Your son isn’t “just going through a phase.” More than one mother admits she knew her child was different when she was firmly corrected on pronouns and clothing choice.
Many women felt relief, and were astonished when they realized that, as their children were allowed to openly express their true genders, they were seeing their sons or daughters happy for the first time. As the stories unfold, it’s especially poignant when this joy has followed suicide attempts.
Still, it’s a process. More than one mother has hoped her child might have a change of heart. There are rants in this book, heartbreak and pain. There are moms who can’t believe this happened—and, in some cases, it happened more than once in the same immediate family.
And yet, most of the women in this book admit they’ve come to respect their children and the difficult things they’ve done. For one mom, he’s “someone I would not have missed knowing for anything in the world.”
And from another, to her child: “I’ll always love you.”
Sometimes, the “T” in “LGBT” seems to hide behind its fellow letters. Your friends and family might not even know what it stands for, but Transitions of the Heart explains in a gentle, celebratory way. That’s a very useful beacon for anyone who feels isolated as their transgender child begins to embrace who (s)he is.
But it’s also important, I think, that Pepper included stories that aren’t so rosy, mixed with the stories of acceptance and encouragement. That added a stronger, more authentic message to this book and quashed the Pollyanna-ish tone it might’ve had otherwise.
Though this book is for mothers, I think it would be helpful for dads to read, too. If you’re journeying with your child on a trip you never imagined you’d take, Transitions of the Heart may be surprisingly helpful.
Artist, teacher, native-arts conservator, author and storyteller, Pauline Hillaire works to carry on the heritage of Washington’s Lummi Nation and is one of the most knowledgeable living resources of the… more »
Happily ever after.
That’s how things go at the end of a fairy tale. The handsome prince weds the beautiful princess, dragons are slain, wicked witches become dust, peasants… more »
The first time I saw Jack McCarthy, I was in line at Stuart’s Coffee House, then a haven for local artists, Bellingham bohemians, students, loners and poets.
At the time,… more »
The first rule of Ladies Night Out is: You do talk about Ladies Night Out. The second rule is that sometime during the course of the evening, you share an… more »
Don’t be alarmed if you see a large group of people whacking each other with NERF bats in Maritime Heritage Park this weekend. Plus, you’ll want to remain calm if… more »
Some people write books that are designed to transport readers out of their everyday existence and into fantastical worlds. Other scribes, however, draw upon their own experiences to share larger… more »