TPC-Journal-Vol 11-Issue-4

448 The Professional Counselor | Volume 11, Issue 4 It was scary at first because everybody goes to the same place, which is scared for your child. And then, you know, maybe this is a phase? Maybe he’s confused? Maybe—you know? And so, you go through all those things. Grief Over a Lost Parenting Narrative The most prominent inhibiting factor not directly related to lack of knowledge leading to fear or doubt was participants’ description of grief over their lost parenting narrative. A majority of participants (n = 9) reported that the change in their expected future with their child came as a result of learning that their child identified as TGD. Adele (32), a White, cisgender woman married to her child’s father and living in the Mountain West region, described an internal conflict consistent with her peers: There’s this creeping in of grief. . . . Even if you should be able to adapt, it’s still there. When we make these choices for hormone therapy, it’s kind of a step further in the direction of whatever could have been will definitely never be. Rejection A substantial subset of participants (n = 8) reported experiencing what could be considered some form of rejection, either from a parenting partner or a health care provider or payor. Of the six participants who reported that their parenting partner demonstrated signs of rejection, all were cisgender women; however, only two reported that their parenting partner maintained their rejecting stance in a way that ultimately put informed consent at risk (for legal reasons). Mellony (49), a White, cisgender woman married to her child’s father and living in the Mid-Atlantic region, recounted an experience that was more typical in the sample: My husband was a little slower, in the beginning, to get on board. I just think he had a harder time—you know, “Is this really real? Is this a phase? Did she learn it on the internet? What’s really going on?” Three participants described what they considered to be rejecting messages and/or behavior from health care providers. In response to a question about how a mental health professional was involved in her decision-making process, Journey (51), a White, cisgender woman married to her parenting partner and living in the Mid-Atlantic region, said that meeting with a counselor was one of the worst parts of the process, and they walked out of the session early: One of the things that was concerning me at the time was, “How do I tell my younger children.” And she said, “Oh, I wouldn’t do that. He’s probably going to change his mind.” And so we said, “Well, OK, there’s a lot we don’t know, but that’s not the right answer.” Adele described denials of reimbursement from her child’s insurance company as well as unwelcoming responses from front-desk workers at the clinic at which they were seeking treatment: “They seemed incredibly—I don’t know how to word it—off-putting in that, we were like, ‘one of those.’” Lack of Access A subset of participants reported a lack of access to affirming treatment. Five participants reported a lack of access due to their residential location; three reported it was due to insurmountable financial cost. Some drove several hours away and across state lines so that their child could receive treatment. Sharyn (47), a White, cisgender woman divorced from her child’s father and living in the Mid-Atlantic