I was watching a documentary called What Makes A Woman. It got me thinking about why I believe I am a woman, am I woman because I have breasts and a vagina? It was the first time I had thought about it and realised that those body parts are nothing to do with why I feel like a woman. My brain or maybe my consciousness of who I am is what tells me I am a woman. If this is true then biology and my physical form are irrelevant. I believe I am a woman because I feel like I am a woman not because of the genitals I was born with. If I woke up tomorrow with a penis I wouldn’t suddenly feel like a male. If I grew a beard or no longer had breasts I wouldn’t believe I wasn’t a woman. I can honestly say I have never thought about this before which surprises me as I have a transgender child.
I think it’s possible for many of us that our gender is such an ingrained notion that we never question as to why we feel we are male or female. We just are.
So why is it such a stretch to believe that a person could have the biology of a gender but the brain of another? If you know so deep down inside yourself that you are a female or a male and having a different sexual organ wouldn’t change how you feel about your gender why is it so difficult to understand that you could have a penis but know you are a woman or vice versa? I have never and will never judge anyone for not understanding it but if you have never thought about gender in that way just for a second think about why you believe you are the gender you are. If you woke up tomorrow with a different sexual organ would it change how you saw your own gender? I don’t believe for the vast majority of us it would.
I feel like a lot of the time I have felt alone with worrying about Robyn’s future because I didn’t know or speak to anyone about who understood, then I got back in touch with Mermaids who are a charity who work with transgender children and their families. I met other families a few weeks ago who understand my fears and also have no judgement on the life Robyn is living. I don’t have to be worried around them about how they might react if they knew about Robyn or be afraid someone there will be cruel to her, everyone there understands and is compassionate and supportive. So I thought maybe its time to learn a bit more about what might happen for her in the future to be prepared. So this led me to today I went to an amazing bookshop in a lovely village with a friend, I found two books about being transgender in the children and young adults section. I think this shows how much the need for this kind of literature is out there in the world. I bought a book aimed at teens who are transgender and decided to read it then save it for Robyn when she is old enough to need to need or want the information it contains.
I spend a hell of a lot of time worrying about the future for Robyn but I think the more society learns from literature like this and from other avenues the more tolerant society can be of all transgender people whether they are children or adults. I hope after seeing that information is out there that this means in the years to come my daughter will be able to live the life she wants without fear of persecution from others. All I want is for her to be happy that is all I want for all my children.
This month is always hard for me so I have been employing some distraction techniques to keep me busy especially when the kids aren’t here. September is my least favourite month, well that’s putting it mildly actually I hate it. September is ‘the’ anniversary month, the anniversary of a day absolutely no one ever wants to celebrate. And I mean no one and I mean never. So September for me is a lot about distraction and a lot about being sad and wondering what should have been. In 14 years I have yet to find a better way to deal with September so I continue to distract myself. The problem is that each day has this habit of turning into the next day and then we get closer to D day and it takes superhuman strength to be distracted on those days. The last two days I have spent hours cleaning and baking to make sure I don’t have time alone to think. But then as always at night there is no more distracting you can do and you can’t help but think of all the things you have been avoiding thinking about.
So here it comes, tomorrow I have no choice but face the day regardless of how much I want to hide. Tomorrow I should have a 14 year old teenage son to spoil, a 14 year old to marvel at how much he has grown and how it feels like only yesterday he was a tiny baby. To think of all the memories we have made and all the other cliches we all know and love about our children growing up. I should be moaning about picking up his dirty socks and complaining about how he eats me out of house and home. Tomorrow like the last 14 years I will have none of those things, not one bit of it. All I have is a memory of you kicking me from the inside and the brief time I got to hold you and stroke your baby soft skin. It wasnt enough, nowhere near enough and even after 14 years it still eats me up that your not here. I can’t begin to describe how much I wish I could change things for you, the things I wish I could have done with you. I can’t pretend i wouldn’t be changing them for selfish reasons aswell.
There is no time limit it appears on grief, I’m still angry and I’m still broken from your death. I was pregnant for 8 months and I had a baby but I didn’t feel like a mother. I felt for a very long time that I failed you, like somehow I should have protected you but I didn’t. I know now that’s not true, I did my very best and I did protect you, I loved you and I made plans for you like a mother does. It sometimes feels like as a parent you spend a lot of time feeling guilty for the things you get wrong and feeling worried about what will happen to your children. That’s how I know that I did become a mother even though you weren’t here. I worried about what was going to happen to you and I worried if I made the right choices, I was a mother because I felt like every other mother feels when they have a child.
So tomorrow we will light some candles for your birthday and your siblings will blow them out and we will talk about you, I will answer their questions about you that always come and it will hurt but I will be so glad as always that they think about their biggest brother. I will bring you some flowers and talk to you, I will no doubt cry at some point and that’s fine, I will cry because I wish you were here to celebrate your birthday and because I’m your mum and mum’s do embarrassing things like cry on their son’s birthday.
And although I will always feel broken that you’re not here I’m glad it still hurts in some ways because it’s when it hurts the most that I feel closest to you and I wouldn’t want to ever stop feeling that. I’ll try to see it from different perspectives, I know that without having and losing you I may have been a very different person. I know that your death made me appreciate many little things that I may not have when I had your siblings, it makes me more empathetic to others who experience loss and above all having you made me a mother and I wouldn’t take that away.
So I haven’t written in a while and I think that a lot of that has been because I couldn’t find the words to say what I wanted to say. I spent a chunk of that time in a situation which made me extremely unhappy but I didn’t know how to escape from it. Life has now changed dramatically but definitely for the better. So the big updates (drum roll please), I met an amazing man who makes me incredibly happy (nauseating?). I have wonderful friends and family who have been an amazing support in the last year or so when I needed them most. I am now a divorcee and have had to get used to co parenting the kids with their dad. Sharing the time with your children with another parent can be both difficult and enjoyable in some respects. Having some free time is no bad thing but missing your children is not an easy thing to cope with. Co parenting is not something I ever wanted to do, in fact it was something I would have and did do a lot to avoid.
Being mature and amicable after separation isn’t always easy as any separated parent will tell you but we do it for the children’s sake and we seem to have fallen into a pattern that works mostly. I want my children to know that they come first and that we can put aside what has happened in the past to be good parents no matter what we think about each other.
So onto this year, I have had a lot of adventures this year and done things I would never have had the chance to do before which has been amazing. I have done a lot of ‘firsts’ this year, me and Steve went on holiday to Loch Ness in Scotland and we both loved the amazing scenery. We managed to see a wild dolphin on a boat trip in Inverness which is something I have always wanted to do. We made the long trek (in a car obviously) to John O’Groats (and took the obligatory selfie) another thing on my wish list.
We also went on our first holiday as a family with Steve to St Ives in Cornwall and although I don’t suggest a 7 hour+ drive to anyone with kids we had some amazing day trips and the kids had a lot of fun. I was so happy to get such a long period of time with the kids and to see them have fun getting to feed baby animals and go swimming in the gorgeous sparkly Cornwall sea. The kids have had a lot of changes to get used to in the last year so it was brilliant to see them so carefree.
So now things have come to a calm point in our house for the kids, they are all settled in school and about to start back for another year. They have been amazing coping with everything that has happened and I look forward to getting on with life without any major life changes for them in our home. Although it has been difficult in some parts this last year or so has taught me a lot and also given me a lot. I am very lucky to be in a very loving relationship and to get to have our little adventures and be spontaneous, to have someone love you and see past your flaws and your disability is a beautiful thing and I couldn’t be more thankful.