I’m Not a Mom Anymore


A hand painted with transgender stripes.Ever since I learned to form letters, writing has been an essential part of my identity. I became a mom a little over a decade ago and I thought I could contribute to Westchester County Mom as a way to share my experience of parenting and pursue my passion for writing.

However, a few articles in, I realized that I’m not a mom, and thus, I felt like a bit of a fraud sharing my perspective on mom-related things. 

Now, before you attempt to investigate and report me, it’s not that I don’t love my child. I do! I don’t even dislike being a parent. It’s the “mom” part that I’ve always struggled with. 

The story of how I got there could fill up a series of articles, so I’ll give you the express train version and pull you up to a stop right near the destination. The pandemic period of the early 2020s gave me a lot of time to think and contemplate.

Slowing down made it unavoidable — my body and brain were out of sync, and it wasn’t just a 30-something-year tomboy phase. I was living — no, existing — at about 60 percent. Feeling disembodied from my mind took so much of my energy. I just lived with this knowledge and made subtle changes in my wardrobe. I began binding back my substantial chest so I wasn’t reminded of its existence every time I moved.

But that wasn’t enough to make my gender dysphoria disappear. I needed to make a more drastic change to feel whole and confident in myself at work, in social situations, in my marriage, and as a parent. 

Most transmasculine people who take exogenous testosterone will warn that it takes up to a few months for any effects to occur. My story is different. Just hours after my first shot, I felt this all-encompassing euphoria. And that stayed with me as my body started to morph into something imperfect, but it felt a lot more like home than the old version. My brain also made adjustments. I had so much more energy. I rediscovered the gym. My libido woke up. I had an easier time eating and sleeping. My whole sense of self improved. 

I did fear that my husband wouldn’t be physically attracted to me anymore and that my child would struggle to adjust. This is likely what took me so long to start my medical transition. But I am the luckiest person in the world regarding family. My husband, while at first nervous, found my new confidence in my body sexy — a better version of me in slightly different packaging. And my child wondered why I didn’t start transitioning sooner — a product of this new generation that increasingly embraces gender diversity

My transition isn’t without its challenges, however. I think my personality has changed a bit for the better, but it’s still an adjustment. I used to have extreme anxiety and would need to have plans A-Z ready to go in case something went wrong. Now, I approach life with perhaps a plan B or C sketched out in my mind, but I am confident that things will turn out how they should.

I can articulate my emotions with words these days, but the intensity isn’t as strong as it used to be, so I’ve had to use my words to fill in the gaps where facial and body expressions haven’t shown my feelings. I’ve had to consciously soften my voice when having any disciplinary conversation with my kid because I’m descending into a hearty baritone, which can have a more commanding effect than intended. 

Overall, I don’t “pass” as male (yet?) — I am still mulling over whether to get top surgery and when the ideal timing for that would be (binding takes care of around 80% of the “reflection in the mirror” issue, but anyone who is looking for hidden breasts can see them). I also can’t seem to grow any facial or body hair, even after more than a year of testosterone. And even after packing on 20 pounds of muscle and replacing my former hourglass with a “v-shaped” torso, I’m still on the smaller side.

Because of this visage, there is a good chance that I’ve landed permanently in “they/them/theirs” territory. I have no interest in dedicating a significant part of every social interaction to explaining myself or correcting people. I’m grateful for being even halfway released from what felt like a body and chemistry that wasn’t compatible with the computer chip that was doing its best to operate it. 

While every trans person you meet is different and has different experiences, beliefs, wants, and needs, I am not angry that I spent several decades as a woman and a decade or so as a “mom.” I am grateful for the perspective I have gained from that time.

I don’t get sensitive over a “dead name” because I am proud of the accomplishments I’ve racked up as that person. Because of my experience, I always empathize with how much “extra” work many women do because of expectations and tradition. I will always be aware that sometimes gender isn’t something we choose, and I will do my best not to stereotype. 

My child calls me by a neutral name based on an inside joke from a comedian we both like, and that is something special only we share. My husband and I have occupied non-traditional roles for most of our time as parents, so there isn’t much of an adjustment in our roles as parents. We continue to share based on who is more available to fulfill specific tasks at certain times. 

As a parent raising a curious child who asks questions about everything, I suppose I’m lucky to have experienced female bodily functions such as pregnancy and periods (even though I tended to disassociate while I was affected). So, I am at least familiar with the “how to” if not an expert at the emotional landscape of the female body. I can at least empathize physically with those who experience these physical states.

As for style, I was never into the “girly” things that cisgender, gender-conforming moms enjoy, such as nails, makeup, and feminine fashion. Little has changed there, except that due to my new body shape, I can’t physically fit properly into women’s clothes anymore, even if I wanted to. But if I need to know about any of these aesthetic or sartorial matters for my child someday, I can always ask a friend about it or do research, the same way single fathers or gay male couples have been doing for years. 

The love I feel for my family and the central personality traits I’ve had for my entire life have not changed at all. There’s more of it, and it’s more positive, less anxious, and bolder. Anything my child could possibly have lost now that I’m not a “mom” anymore is gained back in the form of a parent who is fully present and ecstatic to face each day.


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