I had been told that doctors had recently diagnosed one particular incoming teen girl with multiple sclerosis and she was being admitted for further work-up. When I went through the intake questionnaire with the patient's mother, I expected fatigue, irritation and nervousness. What I got was complete and utter denial of her daughter's condition. The mom was looking forward to our doctors "fixing her girl up" and going back home to the life they had left behind.
It has been my experience that some form and level of denial is a constant, fluid part of being a special needs parent. It protects us from being overwhelmed as we try to adjust to massive changes in our lives, expectations, and future plans. In the beginning I denied/shut out the significance of Hannah's heart failure. These days I deny/shut out the significance of being her caregiver for the rest of her life or mine; whichever ends first. This mom of the teen with multiple sclerosis would come to terms with their new reality eventually, as she could handle it; there was no point in me trying to jam it down her throat at two in the morning.
Then there are bigger issues to grapple with, like the decision to agree to hormone treatments. If you do, there's the overwhelming sense of "no going back"...but at the same time, doctors suggest beginning them before puberty, because it's much easier for a trans person to prevent an adam's apple or breasts than to try to get rid of them later. I don't envy Allan and Tabitha in decisions like that at all!
Another big issue, though, is allowing yourself to mourn the loss of the child you thought you had while simultaneously accepting the "new child" you are being presented with. Tabitha is in deep mourning over the loss of her daughter, but appears to feel somewhat uncomfortable expressing it, for fear people will misconstrue it as lack of acceptance of Alex. This is something I can completely relate to. I still fear the judgement I anticipate, should I openly talk about mourning the loss of the [healthy, "normal"] child I once thought I had - and Hannah is 22 years old now! The sense of loss never went away, but neither has my fear of speaking about it.