From The Huffington Post: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/transgender-daughter-mother-body_us_5bec5a21e4b057089767c9f6
I stand in the dressing room, turning to the side, running my hand over the bulge of my tummy, dipping it in over the line caused by my underwear. I notice the way the dress clings just a little too much over my hips. At 45, there is no denying that I have my mom’s body, but on this particular day it is OK. Over the last few months, I have finally realized just how lucky I am to have her body ― a body that matches my gender identity ― because over the last year, my daughter Ava has revealed to me that she knows she was born in the wrong one.
I remember, years ago, watching my mother in similar dressing rooms as she tried on skirt after skirt in search of one cut in a way to flatter her body rather than draw attention to her “problem” areas. I won’t let myself gain that extra 20 pounds, I thought back then. I’ll keep my weight in check so the pear shape I inherited from her won’t be accentuated, I promised myself. I spent a good 30 years trying to keep my genetic predisposition under control, starting at the age of 12. It was three full decades of criticizing my reflection in every mirror and store window I passed and waging a war with everything I ate, or even thought about eating, before I eventually embraced an exercise routine. And though I’ve been able to successfully fight off that extra 20 pounds, there has been no denying the changes my body has undergone in the last five years since turning 40.
On this particular day, as I study ― rather than scrutinize ― my body in the dressing room mirror, I wonder what my daughter has thought as she’s watched me get dressed. I picture my teenage self observing my mom moisturize her entire body after her shower, her hands moving up her leg to her thighs and over her hips, and I think about how many times my kids have walked into my bathroom while I am doing the same thing. I wonder about the differences between how I would see my mom versus how my daughter sees me. I would look at my mother’s body and think of all things that were “wrong” with it, while my daughter looks at my body and sees the body we define as female ― a body she wants for herself.
“How long do you think I’d have to be taking estrogen before I start developing some breast tissue?” she’s asked me. I’ve spent years making jokes about how awful my sagging breasts look ― breasts that sag because they’ve had the privilege of nursing three kids. I’ve complained about all of the times they have been squished into mammograms and eventually MRI’d to keep close watch on some suspicious areas. I’ve lamented all of the clothes I can’t wear because I always have to wear a bra, while she awaits the development of her breasts as some kind of proof or validation of the woman she is.
“You know how most girls have thighs that are wider and curve at the top? Is there any exercise that can help mine become like that?” she’s asked. I explained to her that I think exercise will build up her muscles, but she should do whatever exercise she wants if she enjoys it and not worry about that. I think about all the times I’ve noticed my thighs splay out when I sit on a couch, or the times I’ve cropped them out of a photo. While I’ve always hated my wide “child-bearing” hips ― the same ones that my mom and all five of her sisters have ― she is eager for hormones to redistribute some fat to the same area of her body. Why have I always thought that my thighs and hips betray me ― even though they are, in fact, exactly as they should be ― when my daughter’s entire body betrays her?