March 22-28 is World Doula Week, and this week on the blog Doulas of Memphis is taking the World Doula Week Blog Challenge hosted by Louisville Area Doulas! Today, we’ve been challenged to tell you all about a time where we felt judged and how that makes us a better doula. Doula Lindsey Hanna is sharing with us today.
Do you ever step on the scale and feel disappointed at the number you see there? Yeah, me too. I’ve actually been on both ends of the spectrum and neither are fun. When I was a teenager and early twenties I was considered “too thin.” I remember people asking me all the time if I had an eating disorder or telling me that I just needed to eat something. Everyone saw me as a number on the scale. Then after nursing school and getting married the pounds came they didn’t settle on my body in the way that society deems healthy. The comments changed to maybe you shouldn’t eat right now or how about spending some more time in the gym, but the judgment was still the same.
Your weight is wrong.
What all those people who saw me as a number on the scale didn’t know was that I didn’t choose that number. They didn’t know that years of ADHD treatments had caused me to remain thin. They didn’t know that in my twenties my PCOS flared and influenced my weight gain. They didn’t know how their words burned in my heart. You aren’t good enough, you aren’t pretty enough, you need to change. I wanted to change, because I thought it would make me fit in better. I wanted to be something else to them besides a number on a scale.
It didn’t work.
Through this experience I’ve learned a lot that will help me be not only a better doula but a better woman. You never know where someone is coming from. Just like you can’t judge a book by it’s cover you can’t judge a woman by her appearance. You have to dig a little deeper to see what’s really going on on the inside. I will never look a woman as a number on the scale. That number does not define me and it doesn’t define her either. For all of those women out there that look at the number on the scale and don’t like what they see, don’t forget that who you are on the inside is what really matters.
As a doula, I carry this with me to each and every client. If a client decides something in the middle of her labor that differs from her original plan, like wanting that epidural after all, I respect her and support her as she is right now. She isn't a number on a scale and she isn't a plan on a page. She is strong and worth knowing. She is intelligent and makes the best choices she can for her family. It doesn’t matter what happens during your labor- my joy as your doula is to support you as you are in the moment, no matter what.
Authored by Lindsey Hanna