A son became a daughter. I love her, but I still mourn the loss of her son.

Stacey Chillemi (left) and daughter (right) are standing next to each other.

Stacey Chilemi and daughter.Stacey Chilemi

  • When Stacey Chilemi’s child came out as transgender, she had to mourn the loss of her son.

  • Thanks to therapy, she realized that her child was the same person inside.

  • This is the story of Chilemi as told to Luana Ribeira.

This so-called essay is based on a conversation with Stacey Chilemi. Edited for length and clarity.

As a mother, I planned the perfect little life for my three children in my head. I imagined them growing up, meeting a nice guy of the opposite sex, getting married, and having kids. I became a grandma and lived happily ever after.

but one of my kids transgender, realized that I had to let go of that vision. Through therapy, I learned how to accept my new daughter. mourn the loss of my son.

My son was different from other children from an early age

in the meantime my eldest son After dressing up as a Marvel character and pretending to fly, my youngest went to my daughter’s room to play with dolls and dress up as a princess.

he It came out At the age of 16, he was gay, and he said that he would always love and support him.

Years later, at 18, he said he was transgender and wanted to be a girl. I wasn’t shocked. He must have known in the depths of his heart. The fact of losing his son made me sad, but I knew I needed to be there for my child no matter what.

At first, I had to grieve over the loss of my son.

I have attended several virtual support groups where I have met other parents of transgender children who have confronted me with my emotional unpreparedness to cope. .

That’s when I decided to find a therapist to help me deal with my emotions.Therapist and I clicked right away. Technically speaking, I lost my son, so I quickly realized I was in a stage of mourning.

When my new daughter graduated from high school, I found myself in mourning. She used to call her by her real name until then, but she didn’t mind. However, after her graduation, she said she wanted to be called by a name of her choice, not by her dead name.

After her graduation, I knew I had to let go of my son and honor my new daughter’s wishes for a short period of time. The name I gave him is gone. My son is gone — the son I gave birth to and raised for years. It was unacceptable.

My therapist helped me release all the repressed emotions I had built up. I was finally able to talk to someone other than my friends and family who gave me an unbiased opinion.

I lost my son and realized I got a daughter

My therapist helped me realize that my child is the same person. Nothing had changed inside her. She is still kind, loving, and kind-hearted. The only thing that has changed is her appearance. This realization has helped me become more receptive. Happy that her daughter was happy and that she could be the person she always wanted to be: a woman.

I also realized that my daughter was proud of me for having the courage to live with integrity. It makes me so happy and it’s something to celebrate.

After the transition, my daughter and I have also strengthened our bond. We share more about ourselves and I support her in everything she does, including exchanging her clothes, which makes for a fun bonding.

I fully accept and love my daughter, but I am still coping with the loss

I have come to terms with the change in my child, but grief is still what I live by. Some days are easier than others.

On my days off, I try to be kind to myself and remember that being a parent of a transgender child is a journey. It’s not easy and it takes time to adapt to the changes that come with it. I had to confront my own prejudices and preconceptions about what my child’s life should be like. I had to learn to accept my child for who he is.

On my off days, I’m reminded that our bond is stronger than ever and she’s happier now.

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