I was at a clinic that does, amongst many things, abortions. A lovely, fit, healthy and agile security guard let me in at 8am. He was helpful and clear. This was pretty much the only time a security guard near me has created a feeling of security. (I mention him because I get really into noticing how people act and work in medical settings. So much of the environment is pinging and harsh and neon and shunting, that those micro-interactions where some empathy or courtesy can be passed on mean even more. Ok, the low-down: overall, I had fair interactions with the medical staff, I give them a high pass, and one high credit each for one reception-man and one male anaesthetist, which just goes to show, Annalise, don’t rule them out because they are older White men, even if it’s early and you haven’t had coffee or much sleep).
I was thoroughly administrated, signed, and checked, and went through my medical process. (Also, what is anaesthetic? What is it? I mean the black time gap, that isn’t even black, and then the coming back, but knowing that it is taking a while for your consciousness to come back to fully knowing itself, that all-pervasive sense of ‘me, watching’ that is life? What happens when you are gone, and then slowly coming back? It is truly weird).
When I came out, a little woozy and not really, quite, myself, the security guard helped me with the gate (see, love his work) and there were four people, old men mostly, in a huddle on the footpath singing something lacklustre. The anti-abortion moralists, I guess.
I heard my baby going “HAAAAAAAA” at the sight of me as she and my partner rolled towards me. We made our way back to the car, then realised the cafe we want to go to is back past the clinic, so we walk back past it and nod at the security guard again who says “see you later”, or something, and one of the old men is clocking us and then says, “lovely baby you’ve got there” and my partner says half-explosively, half-under his breath “what would you know about having a baby?” because, Jesus Lord, WHAT WOULD THEY KNOW?
There is no way that anything to do with any of these women’s bodies is their business, or something that they know. This judgement I own. Whatever the reason or backstory. Sexual assault. Consensual. Forgot. Accident. Drunk. Unplanned. Planned, but changed our mind. Her mind. Lost a job, broke up. Whatever it is, or isn’t.
Bullying women? Oh yeah, brilliantly Christian that is. I hope Jesus smites every one of them.
When whoever walks out of that clinic, probably coming out of anaesthetic, into a crescent of strangers judging them with a mumbling hymn and stare-y-man eyes: fuck off.
Who are you going to convince of your wonderful opinion by standing on a cold footpath with a security guard watching you, anyway?
(This clinic was also a weird mix of public and private and intimate and awkward. Most medical places are, but this one particularly so. I honour the private aspect, even as I am writing this on the nets, and even as this place of private women’s business was also a part of daily life with it’s phones and it’s trying to figure out parking and wondering how many waiting rooms there can possibly be. Still, I noticed the stressed faces and red eyes of women waiting in there and) –
The. Last. Thing that anyone there needs is these dripping hypocrites outside. Who assume that my partner and I would possibly want to hear their comment about our baby and be on the side of the good procreators.
I am on the side of women. Sentient, conscious women who live in bodies and deal with all kinds of shit.
Pro women. Pro women choosing. What they can, when they can. Pro women’s lives.