To all of the new mothers: my name is Natalie, and I’m not a mom (yet). I’m a 34-year-old trans woman from Brooklyn, New York, who did not, in fact, die. I also didn’t write a memoir about the loss of my baby daughter, but I do live in Brooklyn, and I work as a consultant on projects like “Reimagining the Sisterhood: Trans + Community and How They Intersect,” an exhibition that features work by 29 artists from nine countries that asks people to ask themselves what it means to be transgender and black.
This season of “This American Life” was devoted to the voices of the trans and intersex community, and there I was, right where I thought I’d always be, leading and explaining the life events we so often take for granted. My heart sank as I heard a moment of my own past unfold on the radio.
I was, first and foremost, a mom. Like most people, I almost didn’t have the courage to come out, but once I did, I threw myself into being the mom my daughter deserved.
Yes, it was hard. My family has been estranged since I transitioned, my boyfriend and I have had our ups and downs. I never thought that being a mom would turn out to be so hard. It was hard enough to let her go. And being the mom of my young son was really, really hard.
And now, after I’ve had my moment on “This American Life,” I realized that every parent I know is living a story like this. And it all makes sense.
These are our stories: the hard times, the awkward times, the joys, the struggles.