by Women Writers of Alaska

I was Seen

Two weeks ago Officer Wilson tells me I’m going on a trip to The Woman’s Health Center. I’m excited to go. To get even a short car ride, to be outside even momentarily while getting in and out of the car.

We get to the center. I’m dressed in full yellows and handcuffed… thoroughly embarrassed walking into the lobby. I’m checking in, filling out my health history, dropping my paperwork (there’s no easy way to sign paperwork when handcuffed). I feel like a fool. Everyone, it feels like, is staring at me.

I make a point to sit in the far corner, away from the family with children for the parent’s peace of mind. I’m a criminal, parading around next to an officer. My mind thinks back to what the judge said when I tried to get a bed-to-bed transfer. “You’re a danger to society.” That’s what I looked like, that’s how I felt. I wanted to melt into the carpet.

It’s my turn next. They bring me to the back, get my height, weight and offer me a water bottle so I can provide a urine sample. I’m waiting in the room for the doctor to come in with an officer old enough to be my father, wondering if I’m going to have to pee in this cup with him in the room.

They the doctor comes in. She’s wonderful – I feel it immediately. It’s like she doesn’t see the yellow jumpsuit or the correctional officer in the corner. She’s talking to me directly, as if this was any normal appointment for her. We talk for about 20 minutes. I break down and tell her that I’m probably going to be in a woman’s prison when this baby is born. She talks to me, asks me about my fiance, reminds me that he’s at home with our other children and tells me that we will get through this, and then asks me if I want to see this new life, this new love, on the ultrasound.

I shared an exciting, scary moment with her. I felt at ease – I was seen.

Daydreamer.

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