Season 1: Episode 2 – Dr. Alissa

[00:00:00] Dr. Alissa: Welcome to thanks. It’s the trauma. I’m dr. Alissa, and this is a podcast with my friends, Mickey and Heidi. We’re connected by a unique and unusual experience. And we talk about it and other traumas with honesty, booze, cuss words, season one, episode two, Alissa. Welcome to thanks. It’s the trauma podcast.

Heidi: Alright, Alissa, we’re so excited to hear your story this morning and it’s Alyssa tells all, so let’s get started. Alissa. I know that everyone that listened to episode one, and if you’re just tuning in we’re aligned, this is going to be very confusing. Start at the beginning. So if you’re joining us for episode two, Then, you know, that Alyssa is about to take us on a journey and tell us her story of finding out that her spouse is transgender.

And so before we get into like that bomb drop Alissa, [00:01:00] why don’t you just walk us through or share with us a little bit of who you are and your background and kind of what led you to that moment? I really don’t even know where to start. Where were you born? I was born in bucks, County, Pennsylvania, and really, we can start before that because I was, we can go back to my conception.

Dr. Alissa: I was conceived in a Petri dish with a sperm donor. It was one of the very early IVF kids. And I wouldn’t find that out though until I was 15, but that’s how I was conceived. And that definitely impacts my story and the way that I, the lens that I see things through. Well, this is interesting because we’re actually recording on infertility awareness.

Heidi: So, um, I am so curious about, I know it’s timely, but I [00:02:00] really thought you were about to tell me you remembered your con, like you had a concussion or something. And I was like, I have a lot to learn. And there’s like, no. So your mom was, was she married or was she a single woman? She was married to a man named Keith and they were young.

Dr. Alissa: My mom was, my mom was I think 24 when she decided, or was when I was conceived and she was married to Keith who could not have children. That’s a very young to go through the IVF process. Do you know any. Like, do you know anything more about that story? Like did they talk for a long time or multiple? No.

So Keith was not always the most forthcoming person. He had had some kind of medical. Incident happened when he was very young, that meant that he was infertile. And he knew that [00:03:00] prior to getting married to my mom, but did not tell her that information until after they were married. And she was devastated because the only thing she ever wanted was to be a mom.

So after some time after they got married, I don’t know how he told her or how, how that came about that information came out. But then she just became very. Determined to have a child. And so somehow found out about this experimental program, temple university in Philadelphia and was free and she went and one time and she was pregnant with me.

Heidi: Wow. Okay. So you said you found out when you were 15, but before we get to that, what was your childhood like? 

Dr. Alissa: My childhood was confusing, sometimes lonely, and then sometimes feeling loved. So Keith was emotionally abusive. Occasionally [00:04:00] physically abusive to my mom. And so I grew up with them married together until, until I was, I think, nine or so my mom decided to divorce him and then I would go back and forth between the two houses, but mostly living with my mom.

And so living with Keith was frightening. It was hard. I, I, but I didn’t know for many, many years that the things he was doing or abusive, I wouldn’t know. I wouldn’t have called it that, you know, she just knew he was unpredictable and frightening, but, but yeah, it was abusive. But then my mom could be really loving and warm and I would spend a lot of time with my grandmother who was the most.

Maternal person ever. They were in light spots in there too, but most of the hard, I didn’t even have words for. So it wasn’t even like I talked to anybody about any of it. Now you’re using the name, Keith and not dad. Tell me why that is. [00:05:00] Well, a couple of reasons, one he’s not my biological father, thankfully, and two, like he never was.

I mean, I called him dad for a number of years, but he wasn’t ever a good dad. He was, he was not, he was not a good day. Yeah. I was 17. I completely cut off that relationship. One of the things we’re going to talk about a lot in this podcast is namesake and like the importance of names. And so I just wanted to kind of hear from you on making the decision to choose a name rather than an affectionate name, like dad.

Heidi: So now tell me, how did you find out when you were 15? What happened. 

Dr. Alissa: Well, that was Keith also. So sitting in a sports bar called bleachers and Franklin, Tennessee, and I’m getting hot dog and it’s a really [00:06:00] big, juicy, hot dog, and I’m excited to sit down and eat it. And then Keith says to me, my kidneys failing.

And this was a conversation. We’d have a lot. He’d had a kidney transplant back in the early nineties. This was at this time, late nineties or early two thousands. So he tells me his kidney is failing healing as one. And he had had a kidney transplant. His brother gave him kidney. It’s not working anymore.

So this was now I can see manipulative. What you know, why do you tell your teenage kid, your kidneys failing? Because you hope that she’s going to say, well, I’ll just give you my kidney. So that’s what I said. I said, can you set it up? I gave him exactly what he wanted. I’ll give you mine. And he said, well, you can’t.

And I said, wow, why not? He said, you tell your mother, you wanted to know this. You tell your mother. I was like, what the fuck? Wow. Still haven’t still, haven’t been into my. Juicy hot dog, by the [00:07:00] way, it’s just sitting there. Do you want from Costco to make up for this thing?

Tell my mom that I want to know what, and he says, I don’t even know the words he says. I remember this moment so clearly, and I don’t remember the words that he used, but in effect, he told me I am not your biological father. We had to use a sperm donor to have you. And my world just spun out of control at that moment.

Like I just, everything I thought I knew was a lie. Where did I come from? I’m not related to this person. And by the way, like up until this point, I had been at that time, my dad’s. Like caretaker his confidant in some ways, like the role of a wife is very dysfunctional relationship, but I was whatever he needed was I was that for him.

And so to [00:08:00] find out he wasn’t really, my dad was. I mean jarring isn’t even isn’t even just timestamping. And then I started crying and I got really upset. And then he got mad. I’m still your dad, you know, he didn’t really get why this was upsetting to me now you’re 15 years old. And so, I mean, do you have, like, I mean, I’m assuming at this time you have a concept of like how babies are made.

Heidi: Like have you already been sexually active yourself? Well, just trying to think they’re like a 15 year old mind on like, did you know what IVF was or insemination, like, were these new terms to you? I mean, where were you as a 15 year old maturity-wise well, this is another black hole moment because I really, I truly don’t remember any of the words that he said to me to explain what it was that happened, but in effect I did get the message.

Dr. Alissa: He wasn’t my biological father, someone else was, [00:09:00] I was definitely not sexually active because I was super Christian and was very committed to true love waits. And so, you know, I I’m sure that I had an under yeah, I I’m sure that I knew about sperm and eggs and all that. And that’s how you have a baby, but yeah.

Heidi: Now you said that some of the, like, looking back now, you know, you know, that there was a lot of emotional. Abuse and some different things, but was this your first experience with a major trauma? When you look back on your life? Like that moment. It wasn’t. Do you want to share what number that was? 

Dr. Alissa: You could go back live with when you live with somebody who’s abusive every day is somewhat dramatic, certainly a complex trauma, but then there is other types of traumas, you know, sexual abuse type traumas that I experienced from some peers as well before this happened.

Heidi: But yeah. Okay. All right. Well, [00:10:00] I’m not going to let you gloss over. I was super Christian, like, explain to me what that means for you and kind of like what your relationship with, you know, you said Christian, so God or Jesus, like was as a child growing up in the middle of trauma, like who was taking you to church and who is introducing you to.

Dr. Alissa: Your faith hypocritically? No, no, no. My family was not very religious. We went to church, some vague memories of going to church when we lived in Pennsylvania and we moved to Tennessee when I was eight. And when we moved to Tennessee, I feel like, yeah, we tried out a couple of years. There’s just my family.

Wasn’t super religious. My mom was not super religious. And then, so God was just like a concept. And then my mom married, my mom got remarried to Pat. Pat was very religious and church of Christ. And so we became church of Christ. And again, that it didn’t really [00:11:00] feel like a connection kind of thing to God.

But when I was 14 is when I really became a Christian because of my peers, my peers started telling me about Jesus encouraged me to go to church there’s youth group, you know, those kinds of things to second. And so I got sucked in and bought it all. Every single bit of it, you know, had no doubt or questioning every word that the pastor said was true.

And then I happened upon, I kissed dating goodbye. As a teenager. And so I kissed dating goodbye and ironically Joshua Harris who wrote that book now follows me on Instagram. He was fucking weird. Hey, Joshua will tag you in this.

Yeah. So went to school, told all my friends, I kissed dating goodbye, which nobody was asking me on dates. So it was the most [00:12:00] just don’t don’t do it. I’m not doing it. And, you know, I think like again, now looking back hindsight thing, I think part of buying into that so much security culture stuff. Well was also having experience with being sexually assaulted, you know, and like not wanting to open myself up sexually or being terrified of opening myself up sexually.

And so I think like those things partnered together were a perfect cocktail to create somebody who would buy all of it completely. 

Heidi: So Alyssa, with all of this, like tumultuous. Family life. And then kind of, you know, I’m sorry if you judge me, everyone, but like the toxic purity misconceptions that you were influenced by your peers.

When did you leave that town or that place or those people? Did you go off college?

Dr. Alissa:  I did not. I had intentions of leaving for [00:13:00] college, but. And got scared, you know, fearful of being on my own, not being able to make it on my own. So I went to community college. I stayed at home during that. And then I started working at a church and I was able to finish my undergraduate online through Liberty university for free, probably don’t need to tag them the day.

Go for free because I was working at a church and they had some crazy scholarship. And so I got my undergraduate online. Through them. And so I lived at home all through college. Did not really have that college experience at all. And then I moved out after I finished my undergraduate degree, but I didn’t move far.

I mean, I, we lived in Franklin, Tennessee. I moved to Nashville, Tennessee. So it was like 20 minutes away. And so really like, my family was [00:14:00] still a pretty constant part of my life at that point. And your family at this point was defined as your mom and your stepfather, Pat, and was in your life at all. So I completely severed that relationship, but when I was a teenager and he kept trying to come back in, he showed up at my work.

I was working at TJ Maxx. Showed up and was frantic and told me his wife had ODI on something and it was in the hospital. I didn’t know his wife because he wasn’t a part of my life anymore. He would make sure I knew that he could still reach me. He would send me letters even after I, I moved to it. It was very frightening and kind of had some stocker type behaviors, which sounds weird when you think about it as like a dad or something, but when it’s somebody that you’ve cut out of your life, It’s pretty frightening.

And I would have nightmares that he was gonna show up and kill my mom or show up and kill me. So, yes, I definitely, he [00:15:00] was not a part of my life at all. So where did you move to when you moved out? I moved in with a friend Morgan to a house in Donaldson, which is just a little East of Nashville. Yeah. This cheap house, her family owned it, um, had fun time.

Heidi: And so were you still committed to not dating? 

Dr. Alissa: No. Okay. At this point, at this point, I realized you actually do have to date if you ever want to get married, but I was still very committed to the purity culture stuff and was on the hunt for a husband. So now I want you to bring us kind of up to speed with knowing some of your background and kind of intersecting with your current life.

Heidi: So here you are today, right? Not identifying as a Christian, you know, divorced a mom, doctorate in [00:16:00] counseling. So how did you make that leap from where you were having just moved out of the family home, completing your undergrad degree to then, you know, having this master’s degree, this doctorate getting married, having kids kind of.

Bring us up to speed. Cause that’s a major girl. That’s a major leap. So in just a few years. 

Dr. Alissa: Yeah. So, I mean, my twenties were really spent very committed to evangelical Christianity, doing mission trips, um, leading student ministry. Searching for a husband, a godly has been. And then when I was 28, I met James and within three months we were engaged.

Heidi: Okay. Back up, back up. How’d you meet him? What happened? Where were you? How. 

[00:17:00] Dr. Alissa: It was new year’s Eve two of my friends, I went to a bar for new year’s Eve and one of my friends invited two of her friends who were guys to come out to this bar for new year’s Eve with us. And we did not know that she had invited anyone.

We have no idea. And then she starts talking to this guy across the room and this guy is gorgeous and he’s wearing this pink tie and he’s got this blonde hair and he’s just so cute. He looks like a Ken doll. And I say to my friend, Amy, like who is that guy that she is talking to? Like, he is so hot and Amy’s like, he is so young.

I said, no, he’s not. He’s my age. I’m telling you. He’s my age. Cause he looked, he looked young, he had a piece of baby face and it was James and we meet, I flirt a lot. She’s very drunk and remembers very little interaction. Which, [00:18:00] and if he wasn’t drinking still, remember

he remembered a little of it and then I was smitten. But again, he didn’t remember much about meeting me. And then I, I did everything I could to get in front of him over and over again, after that old. Were you then? And how old are you now? I was 28, then I will be 35 in two weeks, seven years ago.

Heidi:  Were you on Facebook where you stalking or you asking everybody about him?

Was he asking about you? How did you get together for, like you said, you tried to put yourself in front of him, but like, How did you nail them down?

Dr. Alissa:  I made Amy Adam on Facebook first and then he accepted. And so then I added him on Facebook. And then I, I don’t know if Jamie knows this to this day, but I have them.

I don’t want to use air [00:19:00] quotes accidentally. Message James, instead of somebody else, it wasn’t an accident. It was totally on purpose. Total ease of women. Yeah. And then we started talking on there and then my other friend who knew James at the time told him, Hey, Alyssa likes to go swing dancing. If you ever need a partner, because James likes to go swing dancing.

I had never been swing dancing. That is, I’ve never done that. It was a bit, it was. And so sure I do. Right. And so he had, he one day needed a swing dancing partner because his partner. Sick or something and reached out to me and said, Hey, do you want to go swing dancing tonight? And I’m in the middle of old Navy with my mom and my grandmother.

And I’m like, Oh my God. And I had already planned on like watching my nephews that night. Frantically texting my sister, like I [00:20:00] have to, I have to go out with this guy, like, this is super important. And she was like, go, my mom’s like, well, watch them. Cause my mom was ready to get me married off. So I have this date set up.

That was not really a date. Okay. Like it was not a date. It was supposed to be swing dancing in a church. Okay. And James single.

Heidi: Well, now that you know, own most everything about us. Let’s hang out on social on insight. You can find us on. Thanks. It’s the trauma podcast, everywhere else, including our website just thinks it’s the trauma. And if you have any questions or want to email us, we would love to get back to you. Thanks. It’s the trauma podcast@gmail.com.

Dr. Alissa: Yes. He was single only, fairly recently divorced. Okay. At that time only [00:21:00] divorced a few months, but yeah, let’s pause for our listeners because James, as you heard earlier, had already been married and had already had two children. And so, so you knew this going into the swing dance, right? Like the super hot guy.

Heidi: Recently divorced two kids. And you’re like, he’s that hot? That I’m all at a hundred percent. 

Dr. Alissa: Oh no. I, the kids sold it more for me. That’s awesome. Uh, because I had actually, at the time I met James, I was like, okay. So I’m going to be a single lady, the rest of my life. So I’m just going to adopt, I want to be a mom I’m going to adopt and I’d actually gone to Haiti.

A month before I met James to make connections, to see if I could adopt, I was ready to be a mom. And I felt like my kid was already out in the world. And so when I met James and was like, infatuated, him, having kids was a bonus. Really? I have so many [00:22:00] questions right now, Alyssa, because, so you’re still at this moment.

Heidi: Like you’re still in purity culture and you’re right. Like you’re still identity. You just have gotten admission. Okay. So this is where I have some, because I did not grow up like this. Like I was a huge slut. I had already had sex with a million people. By the time I’m getting into this very similar story, I am.

I stand by her story over here

and now Mickey and I are confused by each other. So you’re 28 years old. You’re a Virgin question. Mark. Question, Mark. Question Mark. Okay. This is amazing. And then so tiny business, there was no funny business. Not even like we’re not even just talking a technical Virgin, like no funny business was my next question because I grew up in [00:23:00] North Carolina.

In the Bible belt, but all my slutty friends did everything but have sex.

Oh. So a thing that some, some girls have anal technical,

a hundred percent. I was like, you could kiss. That was it?

No. At 28 years old, you still have no STD. This is amazing. Clear at 35. I also still have no STDs. Wow. Well, get on it. That means you’re not having enough.

Okay. Alright. So this sweet little Virgin purity, her vision is showing up for her date with the guy who’s. Clearly he had sex cause he [00:24:00] has two kids and has been married and is now divorced. And God, I mean, he’s at this point, he’s so hot, you know, because this is a lot for someone I would imagine that’s impurity culture.

So anyway, let’s skip to the date. So is it super obvious that you don’t know how to swing dance right off the bat?

Dr. Alissa:  100% and not only do I not know how to swing dance, I’m also very nervous about swing dancing, period. Like that made me nervous. Like this is not something I know how to do. And then terrified because I’m going on a date with this guy that I have been absolutely.

You know, Facebook stocking for two months at this point and had been jokingly calling my boyfriend for, for, since we met. Yeah. I might

call them your future.

[00:25:00] Heidi: If it makes you feel better, I just call it manifesting. Yeah. Instead of stocking done it all. Yeah. I have like had about a thousand. I am doing it right now. Let’s open up him. I’ll tell you is my next husband, my boyfriend. Andre says are right now. Okay. Sorry. Okay. So keep going. You’re swing dancing. You, did you break an ankle?

Dr. Alissa: I did not. And very quickly into it. James figured out, Oh, this is a date like this. Isn’t just, this isn’t just like two new friends getting together, doing swing dancing and he was into it. So that was good. Like we were both. Like very into it. And like, it became a date more than just focusing on swing dancing.

So then we, so we did the swing dancing thing and then we left and we went to a bar and we talked for hours and learned a lot about each other’s lives. Like way [00:26:00] more than you tell somebody on a first date, which to be fair is how first dates go with me. So I eat therapists.

Heidi: Yeah. Everyone’s on a first date with us right now. Right. It’s a hot mess. Welcome to train wreck. So did you walk away from that date thinking, like, I think I’m going to marry this guy. 

Dr. Alissa: Oh, for sure. I mean, yes, absolutely. 

Heidi: And did you kiss, was there like a man? No. Okay. 

Dr. Alissa: So here’s the thing at this time, James was also have heavily.

Christian and was not having sex outside of marriage either. And not only that. So it was, it would be three weeks later, James would sit me down a Mexican restaurant in Nashville and read me a note that he had written asking to court me, my,

[00:27:00] we would have our first kiss outside of the Mexican restaurant in the rain. Oh, that is so the notebook. Oh, that says, I love that. Just remember how this story.

Heidi: Okay. Well, let’s just keep with the happy times right now. Okay. So you date and you fall in love and middle of the lot, and you just dropped the bomb early that you were like, you got married three months later, engaged three months. We got, so yeah, we got engaged three months later. Oh, yeah, that’s fast.

Yeah. Okay. And how did he do it? Or how did you do it? I don’t know. Maybe you, no. 

Dr. Alissa: We were at a park in East Nashville and James starts to play me the song. And then my friend, Allie is a photographer and she comes walking up and I’m like, what are you doing here? And she’s like, Oh, I was just taking some pictures.

Do you want to see? And she shows me [00:28:00] the camera and shows me. James and the boys holding signs in the camera and it says. Will you marry me, you know, Alyssa, will you marry me? And the boys and James are holding signs that say this. And then I start, I didn’t realize this was happening. And I’m like, well, what’s going on?

What’s happening? And James gets down on Monday and proposes actually a little bit of that black because it was such a big. Moment, but it also was really, really scary and I’m shaking and I’m like, yeah. And I’m so in, but also just so scared because this is such a big commitment, but I wanted it so bad.

Heidi: Yeah. Now you guys, I’m assuming, had already told each other that you loved each other and. You know, all of that. How long until you got married so that you could have sex, sorry. 

Dr. Alissa: Eight months later, five months later, we got married after where’d you get married? We got married in spring Hill, [00:29:00] Tennessee, which is South of Nashville.

It’s just beautiful outdoor wedding venue. On October 4th and yeah, it was, it was a beautiful day. It was a very, very cold day. Turned out to be the coldest day of the month. Every day around. It was really warm and 60 seventies that day was in the thirties, unfortunately, but it was a beautiful day. All right.

Heidi: So dah, dah, dah, dah, dah. Did you have sex on your wedding night? Yes. Oh, good job. See those of us sluts. Like me and Nikki had already had plenty of sex. We were too tired to have sex on her.

everyone drank. I was, I wanted to go to bed. 99% of everyone I know does not have sex on their wedding night because they had sex every other night before that, Nikki, I don’t know about you. The only people I know that have sex on their wedding night are ones that are Virgin. [00:30:00] But yeah, I did have sex on my wedding night.

Dr. Alissa: It was not like the glorious, you know, that it should be. It was more of like, yeah, we gotta do this.

Heidi: Not to say it was a bad thing. I was just tired. I was too tired. It was also pregnant. We’ll get into that later.

yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay. So I just. So here you’ve dated for eight months. Everyone knows where the story is going. So what I think is on our listener’s minds, because it’s on all my friends and family’s minds. And so let’s just ask some of those questions, right. Is in those eight months of falling in love and like getting married and having sex and like moving in together and starting your life together, you know?

What was your [00:31:00] greatest fear? Like what did you think if you ever got divorced? What did you think would be the reason I was afraid that it would be growing apart. Okay. Or falling out of love just over time. So yeah. Or me missing the signs, like thinking this was God’s plan for me, but you know, like maybe it wasn’t and like this, it just would be really hard or, yeah.

So your inauguration and to becoming a wife was also becoming a mother stepmother at the same time. Yes. When did you and James decide to have your own biological child? 

Dr. Alissa: So the funny thing is, so my very best friend, Lindsey, she and her husband had been trying for, for a while to have a baby. And then you found out on Monday that they were pregnant and were so excited for them.

And then James said, well, should we [00:32:00] try to, and like, you guys could maybe be pregnant at the same time. And I was like, yeah, let’s do it. Like, that would be awesome. I found out Friday I was already pregnant. Oh, that’s so sweet. So you hadn’t been on birth control or anything? No, we’d done natural family planning, but I was kind of like loosey goosey about it at that point, because I was at that point, I was okay if I got pregnant.

Heidi: Okay. So now I need you to catch me up because you just said natural family blaming again. At what point does the Christianity piece drop for you and James?

Dr. Alissa:  It was after Jamison was born. So my, my son, my youngest son, it was after he was born. And for James and I still, I say James, because that’s, we’re talking about.

And yes, at the time, you know, it started to fall apart for him, first reading, Rob bell, you know, that heritage, some other more progressive theologically [00:33:00] Christian folks, you know, and there was a question of. I think it was, is there really a literal hell or something? There was something like that for James that was like, you know, struggling with this.

And I was like, Oh my God, my husband is losing his faith. What is it? This is the thing that tears us apart. Oh my gosh. You know, he’s not a godly husband anymore. And then really just a few months later, it would start to fall apart and unravel for me too. And what made it unravel for me? Was one day James said, did you know that the Bible is by definition, not an errand because there were errors in the early texts that they have in created the Bible from.

And I said, that’s not true because if that’s true, the whole thing falls apart. And he was like, no, it doesn’t. And it did. I was right. It did, it all fell apart for me after I really accepted. The truth that like there were errors in the early scripts. So [00:34:00] by definition it cannot be an errand. Once the Bible was not an errand, in my opinion, the rest of it just fell apart.

Heidi: So I they’re being judged for this next statement and I care zero, but I actually think it’s a very beautiful thing to let go of faith together. Actually more powerful than like you said, going separate ways. And on separate paths and journeys, but being able to be support for one another as you kind of just dissect a new reality and let yourself unravel so that you can rebuild in kind of spirituality, faith or nothing, you know?

So I kind of think it’s beautiful. I just needed to kind of catch up from like the 28 year old Virgin to like, I know today where you’re at in that. So Alyssa, your marriage pretty typical, happy, like, tell us about your marriage, any [00:35:00] signs that maybe the person that you were married to wasn’t their true self of who they were born to be?

What was marriage like? 

Dr. Alissa: Our marriage was great, right? I mean, we decided before we even got married, that we would be committed to growing together. We would go to, you know, marriage retreats every year we would go to marriage counseling. We were just really committed to having a healthy marriage. And so, I mean, we would go to these marriage retreats and do these little games that are designed to show like how well you communicate and things like that.

And we’d be. The best out of all of these couples, like couples, who’ve been together 50 years couples who’ve been together 10 years and we’d been married one. And we would be the ones that like did the thing faster than anybody. Cause we could communicate so well and we just, we liked each other and we loved each other.

And we, we did, we worked so hard at being good at marriage. And I think that was a goal, [00:36:00] James, because of having been married before and that marriage not working was wanting to be good at marriage. And I think like he really was, no, he put forth every effort. That he could into being a good husband. And so, you know, we had, we had a good marriage and there were no signs for me that James was really Jamie.

You know, the molest that I could say is, you know, James had a, a limited emotional range, which is not unusual for a man, right. In our culture. Lots of men. Don’t experience a range of emotions because they’re told that they shouldn’t. And so that made sense with his history upbringing, you know? And so that’s it.

And now knowing Jamie, Jamie has, Jamie has all the feelings. And so now again, hindsight, like I can put the two next to each other and see, okay. That. If anything, that would [00:37:00] be a sign that James was not fully whole, but again, like culturally, if it’s so even looking at it that way, like, no, there really weren’t any signs.

Heidi: So, and I’m going to dig even deeper in this because people are curious. Right. And so. So your idea of what sex should be or should look like that was good and normal for you and your marriage. It sounds like. And your dating life. I mean, I think that there’s a misconception out there. Like people are like, Oh, did you ever catch it M in your clothes?

Like, no. Why? Why? Like husband was wearing my thong? Why would I have been.

Like we all have children here, which means we were sexually very sexually charged and attracted to our partners. So, Melissa, I just wanted to kind of make sure that we said that for listeners in your [00:38:00] story, right? Yeah. There’s no, yeah, there were, there was no, there were no signs and our. In our marriage, that James was really a trans woman now.

Yeah. So leading up in episode one, we heard about the bombshell being dropped at the birthday party. What was it like for the couple of months or the week before that happened before James told you about becoming Jamie? You know, at that point we were both still finding our way through spirituality. And connecting to different things, faith wise or spiritually.

Dr. Alissa: And so, you know, that was part of where we were, was both kind of exploring on our own, our own individual spirituality. And so I think. Part of that is where Jamie is born. It was in that spiritual journey recognizing that she really was [00:39:00] trans. So, I mean, I was aware for sure that we were both kind of figuring some of that spiritual stuff out and that there were.

That was just a, it’s an uncomfortable process to kind of lay everything out and go like, what do I, and don’t type a leave and what stays, what goes. And so we were both kind of still in that process. So that’s kind of where we were the couple months before I would say, and maybe even, you know, butting heads at times on some of that and not landing at some of the same places, which I think is fine, but again, kind of led to where we ended up.

Heidi: So like the morning of. Pretty normal day on that day. Did you wake up still thinking I’m going to be married to this person? Forever.

Dr. Alissa:  Of course, absolutely. I was very committed to Jane. Yup. I think it’s important that this is where we talk about the introduction of trauma. So hearing Alyssa, you walk [00:40:00] through your whole story and the fun and the love and.

And the creating a family and changing and journey together and waking up in the morning thinking, you know, I love my life and it’s gonna be like this forever. And then a major trauma being introduced. And we each have our own unique stories that we’re going to go through, but that’s where banks it’s.

Nikki: The trauma comes from. Alyssa, thank you for sharing that big story. Next episode, we’re going to dive into my story and the episode after that, we’re going to dive into Heidi’s story. Then we’ll move into the aftermath and the coping and the healing and the grief of all of this and how each one of us are on different planes and levels.

But at the same time, in the same place. So, thanks. It’s the trauma.

[00:41:00] Thanks. It’s the trauma podcast is not a substitute for therapy or mental health advice. If you or someone you love is in crisis, please call one 802 seven three. Talk +1 800-273-8255. You can also text the word home to seven 41 seven 41. To reach a trained crisis counselor.

Thanks. It’s the trauma.

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