What is a Doula? Why do I call myself a Doula? And why should you have a Doula during some aspects of your transition?
The full spectrum doula movement has been growing rapidly around the country. Doula is a Ancient Greek word translating to “caregiver.” While traditionally doula care has been specifically for assistance during the birthing process, the full spectrum doula movement is expanding the concept of doula care in order to meet people’s needs across the full spectrum of pregnancy decisions, experiences and outcomes.
So why a transition doula? According to the Full Spectrum Doula website, “A doula is a non-medical, trained professional with expertise in providing compassionate and nonjudgmental support for people throughout their reproductive experiences.” I have always been attracted to the idea of a doula. Having somebody present during a pregnancy or abortion who is there specifically to meet your needs is invaluable. The doula model of care is brilliant and I see no reason why it shouldn’t be expanded to other types of medical situations, especially other stigmatized medical procedures such as SRS.
Sex Reassignment Surgery is a big deal. I was flat on my back in a hospital bed for a week and then spent another 3 weeks confined to a hotel room with very limited mobility. While many people go abroad for their SRS alone and they do well, it became clear to me that the women who have a support person to help them have a much more positive overall experience. In any hospital in the US or abroad, nursing staff is busy. They aren’t by your bed 24/7 to rub your legs when they lose circulation. They accidentally leave your water just out of reach and they certainly don’t leave the grounds to get you a real meal when you become sick to death of hospital food. And I’m not saying they should, they are there to make sure all of your medical needs are met, and they do a terrific job of it. Having a doula handy to advocate for you if a medical need is not being fully met, or simply to help meet your non-medical, comfort needs can turn a challenging and potentially uncomfortable stay into a fabulous life changing experience. I want everyone to have as wonderful an experience in Thailand as I had.