There is nothing wrong with your child
For the vast majority of intersex people, there is nothing physically wrong with them and there is no need for any medical interventions. If your doctor tells you that medical treatment is necessary, ask about the health implications and risks both of undergoing treatment and of doing nothing. Then take the time to make an informed decision. Always get a second opinion and carry out your own research.
It’s not your fault
When parents find out there is something different about their child, one of the first thoughts is often, ‘Did I do something wrong?’ or ‘Could I have prevented this?’. Having an intersex child is something completely natural and is not the result of anything you did. There is nothing to feel ashamed of.
It’s okay to feel confused or upset
When we have certain expectations, especially around something as major as having a baby, it is understandable that we experience many different emotions when something unexpected happens. Finding out your child is intersex might make you feel scared, angry, upset, worried, ashamed, guilty or a mixture of some or all of the above. Many of these feelings are caused by the unknown and will lessen as you learn more about intersex variations and talk to others about it. Try not to suppress feelings, even if they are challenging. Find people you can talk to and can provide you with the support you need. Ask the hospital or your medical practitioner about the options to get mental support. Reach out to organizations to get more information and advice. Speak with family or friends, if possible. You need to look after yourself, otherwise you won’t be in a good position to look after your child.
You are not alone
It’s easy to feel like you are the only person in the world going through this and that no-one else will understand. The truth is there is an increasing number of intersex organizations that can provide information, refer you to support groups (both real world and online), connect you with intersex peer councillors and connect you with other parents of intersex children. Talking to other people who have intersex children can provide you with information, advice and support. Talking to others is an important step in ‘coming out’ as an intersex parent. Don’t feel it’s a secret you need to keep, as this is not good for you or your child. If you live in a country where you feel coming out would not be safe for you and your child, we encourage you to connect with OII Europe, who can help you find to find parents who are in a similar situation with whom you can talk.
You don’t need to know all the answers
Over time, as you tell your child and others around you, you will be faced with a lot of questions. This can be overwhelming and create a sense of having to become an expert in the subject overnight. It’s okay not to know all the answers straight away. At the same time, don’t shy away from the subject. The more you learn about it and discuss it with others, the better prepared you’ll be to support your child when they start asking questions too.