If Only I Had a Doula Walk Me Down the Aisle
There was a time in my life I could have benefited from the support a professional doula provides. A time that did not involve pregnancy, birth or caring for a newborn.
It was a life changing event where I had very little to no support.
It was the day I married my husband.
Like pregnancy and birth, weddings and marriage bring out the opinions and advice from well...almost everyone, whether you seek it or not.
Like pregnancy and birth, weddings and marriage bring out the side of people that must forget you are a person as well.
Mix their opinion with something you do, that they wouldn't do themselves and BAM!
A comment hits you....but lots of times they go much deeper. Comments and personal questions come at anytime. From anyone.
Judgment does not show favoritism.
"Are you going to breastfeed?"
"Do you plan on circumsizing?"
"You need to get your baby on a schedule"
"You have a boy and now a girl? You're done."
"You are going to name him after your father aren't you?"
Opinions are endless.
Getting married doesn't have a shortage of judgment or comments either.
I entered in to marriage at a time that, according to our culture, is incredibly too young. I was 18. My fiance was 21, barely.
He was away in the Air Force and I was home waiting on him, preparing for our new life. He was protected, by distance, from all the hurtful things that were said to me, around me, about me, and about us.
"They don't know what they're doing."
"They'll make it to their honeymoon and then it will be over."
"I hope you fall down the aisle in front of everybody and change your mind."
"I'm not going to their wedding, their stupid!"
"Promise me you will go to college."
If I had the emotional support of a doula for those months leading up to our wedding, she would have helped me process my feelings of uncertainty, frustration, loneliness, and isolation.
She would not have judged my decision, but instead would have helped me unpack my thoughts of being unworthy of the gift of my husband.
She would have physically been my continuous support when painstakingly planning the details of our wedding that I felt I didn't deserve.
I would have felt empowered and more than ready to tell him...I'm all his.
She would have provided me with her knowledge of the ins and outs of the facility we were to be married, helping our day run as smooth as possible.
I would have asked her for options on ways to say 'I do' and would have made some choices that were more private and intimate for my future husband and I.
She would have helped me navigate what was most comfortable for the two of us.
My doula would have been attuned to who I was and would have helped me explore what I really wanted when I was inundated with 'help'.
She would NOT have told me what I needed to do.
She wouldn't have tried to change my feelings, my mind, or my stance on anything. She would have been my best friend without an opinion.
If I had her 12 years ago, I would be able to look back on the experience of marrying my husband differently.
I would feel proud.
My doula would not have tried to be my mother, sister, or take the intimate connection away from any other part of my team of support.
She would have accentuated those relationships for me. She would have left me aware and appreciative of the support, though small in quantity, I was receiving.
Authored by: Whitney Teel