The Mama Bear Story Project is a collection of portraits and autobiographical essays from members of Serendipitydodah for Moms – a private Facebook group for open minded Christian moms of LGBTQ kids.
It was at a family dinner for my son – who had just come home from a holiday overseas – that it all happened. Before he left he had told me “I need to go away and find myself”. I gave him my blessing and told him I would always be here for him.
During dinner my son took me aside and expressed he wanted to share something very important with me and he hoped I would still love him and respect him as I had for the past thirty-six years.
I felt uneasy. Did something terrible happen to him while he was away? I knew that whatever trouble he was in I would support him because he was my son.
The words I was about to hear next were to change my life as I knew it. “Mum” he said “I’m gay. I cannot hide this anymore, I cannot live this lie any longer”.
It seemed like an eternity before I was able to comprehend what he had told me. My first thoughts were about me and I wondered what had I done wrong to have a gay son?
I cannot describe the overwhelming shame I felt as my mind was rushing to process the information I had just been given. Minutes earlier I had told myself that whatever was wrong I would support him because he is my son.
But all that changed when I heard the word “homosexual”.
How could he do that to me? How could he hurt me like this? How could I face anyone? How could I live with the shame of having a gay son? That only happens to other people, it can’t be true!
The next time I saw my son I was still in shock and drained of all “motherly” feelings. I could not face him or be in the same room as him.
He pleaded with me to say something. All I remember is saying words that I now and forever will regret – words that were full of rejection and shame.
I questioned later what kind of mother am I? How could I turn my back on my own flesh and blood?
If I had known from conception that he was gay, would I have felt differently towards him the first time I held him in my arms? Would I have not comforted him when he was hurt or sick or not told him how much I loved him?
Sure it was a shock – no parent wants to hear that their child is gay. But if we as parents don’t love, support, nurture and accept and respect our gay children, how can we expect society to accept and respect them for who they are?
They are the same wonderful loving children that they were when they trusted us and felt safe enough to emerge as their real selves with their dignity.
To say it has been easy for me would be a lie. It has been a painful journey, one of great discovery and new challenges. I have learned that to move forward can bring much pain, but with it comes a new understanding of ourselves and of our children.
I have learned to look at my son through the eyes of a mother who is warm, loving and humble. His sexuality is only one part of who he is and of all the wonderful qualities that he carries within. We have been able to heal from the wounds I caused with my initial reaction. My son has forgiven me and I am so grateful to him for his forgiveness.
I want to reach out to as many families as possible to tell you that it does get better and that there is life after “coming out”.
You are not alone – we are all traveling the same journey with our gay children.
Serendipitydodah for Moms is a private Facebook group for moms of LGBTQ kids. Our official motto is “We Are Better Together” and our nickname is “Mama Bears” The group is secret so that only members can find it or see what is posted in the group. It was started in June 2014 and presently has more than 1,600 members. For more info email firstname.lastname@example.org