OK, so I am doing these interviews with partners of FTMs, and after every one I’m blown away by their stories, and those of the transitioning folks they are supporting. Because thus far every single partner is a caretaker, someone whose sense of self is fulfilled by giving and loving and caring for their partner. Which is not to say, of course, that these women are not also kick-ass strong— ‘cause they are. And some of them are sooo hysterically funny. I wish the interviews weren’t confidential, in a way, since I’d like to credit them with some of the outrageously sensible things they’ve suggested. A recent brilliant idea offered by someone I interviewed was to have a community ‘doula’ who could come in and care for the transguy and the partner as well after surgery. Why not? People who have kids have doulas come in all the time. For example, my partner and I did. The doula helped take the pressure off us both, since we didn’t know what the hell we were doing, had just moved to a new scary place, and our families were far away. My partner had a c-section, and so was drugged out of his mind; the baby was tiny with a ravenous appetite and scary sucking abilities; I was exhausted and we were all smelly. Every time the doula came to the house, angelic orchestral music accompanied her. I think her email even had ‘earthmother’ in the title. She only charged $500 and she sort of saved our lives a few times, as she was also a lactation specialist. And it meant we were a team, then, at a time when we needed to be. So why not a trans doula? Someone who would come change bandages, check dressings, deal with accumulating fluids, make a stew, find some dvds, etc., crack a joke or two. Our doula, of course, was present at the birth of our son, and was our advocate in the hospital. A transition doula could come with a transitioning person to the surgery, drive him home, etc. Of course if the guy has a partner, the partner will likely be there too (or I should hope so). I am going into this with such detail because it seems like the first surgery was pretty tough on all the partners I’ve interviewed. Most of them dealt with it alone; some of the transguys, for obvious reasons, hadn’t come out to their families of origin, etc. Of course, many of the partners are now veterans of surgery, and have since dealt with other tough things, but looking back on this first surgery, it was a hard time for both people, especially when they need each other most. Why not get a doula? Hey, I’d volunteer to be one. I’m serious. Let me know. And I wouldn’t charge, either.