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.
I was a latecomer to the mother status, as I had my son, Kevin (my firstborn) when I was 39. As you know, when a woman experiences pregnancy later in life, the chance of complications increases. I often wonder if this was responsible for my son’s issues. I knew things were different when I was pregnant, not from previous experience, but from what I had been told. Aside from some morning sickness, I hardly knew I was pregnant until my 6th month.
After Kevin was born, things were also not as I had expected. He didn’t sleep well, and he had nightmares early in his life which I did not realize were nightmares until much later. Kevin was a quiet boy, except when he wanted to talk. I tried to make a point of listening to my children (Kevin has a younger sister), no matter how “boring” it got. I believed if I listened to them when they were young, they might talk to me when they were teenagers. He would spend hours walking around the yard with a stick in his hand. When he started kindergarten, I worried about his social skills. His teacher asked for an ADHD assessment, although I was certain he did not have that problem, which he didn’t.
In grade 1, he acquired his best and only friend, who somehow stuck with Kevin even though he was different. Finally when he was in grade 6, Kevin was diagnosed with ASD, Asperger’s Syndrome. After a very steep learning curve, we learned to manage his situation.
When Kevin came out in March 2013, at age 19, I was devastated, but I vowed to love my son no matter what. Growing up in a Christian home and community, I was still on the conservative side of the theological debate, although, for the most part I tried to ignore the issue. Now, that was no longer possible, so I started dealing with it. At first, my son said to tell no one without his express permission. This was very hard for me as I am always in need of venting to a friend. I got permission to tell a few people, and after a few months of suffering in silence I sort of got used to it. I read lots of books. Our pastor at the time recommended “Torn”, by Justin Lee, and I found others. I also found a wonderful Christian female counselor who helped me sort out my feelings, and I am now fully affirming of my gay son.
In November 2015, I ‘came out’ to my congregation. I was not sure who all knew what, and I was tired of the uncertainty. With approval of the pastor/council, at an evening congregational meeting, I read a personal letter, detailing my journey, and talking about my concerns regarding all the bullying, etc. that LGBTQ young people are subjected to. That remains on my heart and I would really like to find a way to interact with youth in my town and be a support to them, as I am sure that many of them are in need of it.
After my son came out, he started educating me on all things LGBTQ. He is a very bright young man and had done a lot of research. I made a point of trying to listen to everything he said, no matter how uncomfortable it might make me. He also told me he would answer all my questions, but I should only ask what I really wanted to know.
One thing that my son discovered in his research and shared with me was the connection between LGBTQ and ASD. It turns out that the percentage of boys with ASD that are also gay is much higher than in the general population. This made me very sad, because in addition to struggling with social issues related to ASD, he also had to come to terms with his sexuality, and his fear of telling his parents. That is a lot for any one person to cope with.
But people do what they must and aside from periodical struggles, which is called life, we are doing well!
I recently came to the realization that, if I had a choice between my son being gay or being straight, I would choose for him to be gay. Otherwise, he would not be the exact person he is today, and I want my son to be exactly the person that he is!
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 private so only members can see who is in the group and what is posted in the group. It was started in June 2014 and presently has more than 1,500 members. For more info email firstname.lastname@example.org