It didn’t cross my mind. There was no pattern—if there should have been one. No, I had no idea. I thought puberty created the feelings of frustration, anxiety, and moodiness I had never seen.
As the body developed—bigger breasts—the shirts got bigger, and wider hips bought on discomfort that triggered the need to wear baggy pants. I used to wear baggy pants around that age, so I thought it was a tomboy thing.
Menstruation came with more anxiety. Then, with no particular style in mind, the long hair had to go.
One day, he said, “I don’t want to be a girl.”
“OK.” I paused. “So… like… you don’t want your breasts.”
“I need some time to process this,” I said.
I felt his pain, his frustration and the relief I could see in his eyes after he told me. I had to help him get through this. We went to therapy and everything made sense. I’m thankful that life had me in a place where I could receive the information and address it. I cared about his well-being, his happiness.
I’m more aware of what could have happened if he didn’t tell me. Now, younger than the majority of his peers, he’s now in his first year, in university, in another country, and he’s receiving mainly A grades. He’s receiving testosterone hormone therapy to match his body to his gender identity.
I don’t want to come across as a saint, but I’m coping fine. My biggest regret is not being physically there with him, but I might have stifled him if I were there.
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