in many eastern weddings (and not just in India) it is traditionally common for the bride to have her hands and feet henna'd in dense, delicate, lace-like designs. Something that is also very common is that the henna artist includes symbolism or pictures in the design, like an image of a bride and groom. I have learned, through henna, that in Hindi, (and, it turns out, in Bengali as well) the word for bride is "dulhan" and the word for groom is "dulha".
Of course this is entirely coincidental. Dulhan and dulha and doula have no common linguistic background. And actually, the word doula is borrowed from Greek and wasn't an English word to start with in the first place.
As I was driving home from my visit I was thinking about how much I like the idea of dulha and doula sounding so similar. I like the sound of being a woman's intimate partner in her labor and birth - since that's what I am. I am her support, to care for and nurture her. To hold her hand, rub her feet and stroke her hair. We agree to go through this together and become a team, working towards the same thing with love. In that respect, you could say it looks a little bit like a marriage.
She's the bride and I'm her doula.
Doula, Sisterhood Wellness Collective, Toronto
(henna by www.hennacraze.com)