**Trigger warning – birth rape; birth trauma**
When I’m writhing in the hospital bed during a contraction and you shove your gloved hand into my vagina and I scream, “No! Stop!” and squirm and push myself to the top of the bed to get away …
It still means no.
It still means stop.
You violate me in the strangest of ways -
your unquestioning authority,
a scrubbed up audience,
my partner and labor companions
silent, unsure what will happen if they speak up.
Like a shamed twelve-year-old girl
I shrink back, hold my breath, and dive inside
where the dark, downward spiral of sensations from all ends consume me
my cervix is angry with every touch, my body begs me to get up, to kick, to fight -
but I’m afraid so I stay still; do as I’m told.
I feel you pull out and hear the snap of your gloves and the squeak of your shoe.
I wonder how different these post-birth months would be
if I felt like I had a voice,
if I knew that my opinion mattered
that my experience mattered
that I wasn’t selfish
If No Meant NO.
Today I gag when my partner pulls out a condom
the stench of latex brings me back to that room,
your blue gloves and piercing eyes and still hand,
your stern voice that breaks me like glass….
I’m still picking up the pieces,
it’s hard to reach them all with a baby on my hip.