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How can this be? I know I am a woman at heart, but am a father... of four boys, nonetheless. As if raising four boys to become amazing men wasn’t full of its own challenges. Throw my being transgender and it’s quite an adventure. How lucky am I though to be a parent of blood borne children! I am so blessed!
It is not an easy road. A year ago I shook the family with the news. “I want to be a woman,” I said as I dwelt in the behavioral health institution. I spoke with my wife at the time of 10 years. It would be a year later after much soul searching and attempting to re-bury these long held feelings that I took my first steps toward my femininity.
I dressed up and was elated at surprising beauty looking back at me from the reflection. Maybe I wasn’t so ugly? Fast forward another year and I begun living full time as a woman. Well... mostly full time.
My kids found out about a year ago, which was six months before full time. I had discussed it with the ex-wife after I really decided it is truly what I wanted. I would share with the boys in a counseling session and slowly work toward the ultimate goal of being the woman inside and being a father/mother of my beautiful boys. A “fommy!!!"
The plan failed for a slow introduction as they saw my car only to see me inside as a woman. The shock was immense. The pain and confusion they experienced, searing. How could it be that the father they looked up to... that manly figure... desire to be woman?
After many counseling sessions, they continue to feel a pain of loss. They already feel as though they are losing me. I am mostly full time me, except when I am with them. I have continued going as “David” for a year now in their presence. We have had some incredible bonding and openness. The discussions are always raw. Yet we continue developing and processing what this new change will be like. “It’s okay to feel sad,” I always tell them. The ex and I work well together and have tried to make this as easy as possible, allowing them as much time as possible for them to come to an understanding of what this might truly mean. It is none the easier, but I continue to love them as I always have.
We have been making mountains of memories. They ask questions about bathrooms and whether we will still do the same things. They want to know what changes.
Nothing. For me. I love them. Still the same.
They are so brave.
There are no manuals to grip the gravity of parenting as a transgender woman. It is not easy on any of us. But we continue in the hopes always that love wins out. And it will!
Many times we joke about me being a woman. They tell me I should go into someplace and challenge someone to an arm wrestling match and surprise that person by my strength. We have many laughs about it. But also many tears.
Today I embraced my eldest as he was hit with a wave of sadness today about the thought of me completing the transition. They don’t really ever see me as woman in the day to day. They see pictures though. The fear of the unknown continues to plague their little, big hearts.
It breaks my heart to see them hurt and feel lost in confusion.
The alternative? Should I stay as a man? I constantly feel the tear of living as two different people. I don’t know how long I can keep this up. Keep letting them hang in the mystery of wondering. I can’t live two lives. I don’t want that example for them.
Before making this decision, I was in the mental hospital in Montana after having a breakdown. I lost grip and hurt myself. I struggled so deeply and was distracted all the time with the deep thought that the woman inside needing to be released. They tell me I can never be a woman. And they’re right. Much to my deep sadness.
I have since been able to feel free to be me! Alive and well. Focused. Working on my music and finding creativity again. Should I go back to the old dead me I fear I might fall back into and have a hard time functioning again?
The debate is whether to be present and look differently or whether to appear as they would like and risk the depression crippling me and making me a non-present parent. There is deep sadness right now. But also joy and memories and bonding.
I wish there was some help with learning how to navigate a transition while having kids. For now, I blog and journal this journey into Ayla, father and mother of four. I believe this to be an ultimately positive thing with them and myself. I would give anything to be what they want me to be, but I can’t. I can only be me, the woman I have always been inside.
I hope to be able to share the triumphs and setbacks of being a parent as a transgendered person. I will be sharing more of my adventure with my kiddos as we head out into new territory. I hope to find support for them firstly, and then myself as well.
What is life if we don’t have love?
Please continue to stand with us even if you don’t agree with my choice. Stand with me as a community to raise my kids. I know one day in the not so far off future I will be able to be the beautiful lady I am on the inside and a parent of the most amazing kids. Sorry if you have kids! Lol! But mine are the best!