I Got You

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Words || Sarah Vanderfield 

My sister’s room is next to mine
I wondered if she could hear me crying
At night 
When I was alone with my body 
That no longer felt like my body
It’s a weird feeling
To want to escape the thing that sustains you.

My friend lent me a red jumper 
I wore it every day for three weeks 
It was comforting to have something big 
Covering me 
Separating me from my body 
Separate mind from body 
Separate mind from body

I went to work the next day 
After I’d found out 
I had to stop
And sit down on my walk there
Four times 
I dropped the bread loaves 
I went home early. 

I watched all the Pirates of the Caribbean movies
I watched Avatar the Last Airbender 
I watched Sweet Home Alabama
I slept 
A lot. 

I could already feel spirals of shame 
Winding down through my ribs 
And settling deep in my uterus. 
The misoprostol slid down with it 
Carving out a burning reminder,
You deserve this pain.

I found moments of solidarity 
With each time the bleeding was too heavy 
And it fell onto a seat 
And I had to apologise 
There was a caring word 
A certain nod 
A ‘I have been there’.

To the woman who ran into the bathroom to give me another pad 
Thank you 
To the driver who asked if I was okay instead of how to clean up the mess 
Thank you 
To the friend who had been through this just two months before 
Who stayed on the line and talked me through the process 
Thank you 
To the friend who called me two months later and needed to talk 
I hear you.

To the receptionist who smiled and explained how to fill in the forms 
To the GP I saw on Valentine’s Day who nodded ‘termination yes?’ 
To the woman taking my blood who maintained her gentle composure 
While I was crying everywhere 
To my family who made me laugh because what else 
To my manager who told me she could cover me if needed 
To my work colleague who gave me a hug 
To my friend’s mum who ran to the shops to get me Kool mints after I vomited 
Three times 
To the doctors and staff who stayed open during the pandemic 
To the activists who fought for abortion rights 
Thank you.

I know we must keep fighting to defend the right. 

To my gran who had to do this a much harder way 
I’m sorry 
To those who we failed to provide health care
I’m sorry 

To my best friend –
who slept next to me while I cried,
sat next to me at appointments,  
called the 24/7 nurse line for me, 
calculated when I could take my next pain killers, 
set alarms so I would not wake up in pain, 
gave me a safe space when I needed one, 
Thank you. 

And to anyone reading this 
I got you 
If you need.