Disabled & Pregnant in the Age of Trump - Rae Rose

Every time I arrived at labor and delivery
I was in more pain than I had ever been in,
and I was afraid for my unborn child.

Outside the hospital there was a garden of lush flowers.
I hated their brightness,
how certain they seemed to be of themselves,
how sure they were that they belonged
all rainbowy in that gray sickness.

Once, the doctors wouldn’t give me anything for pain.
My husband said,
“It’s because you said you were bipolar,
they think you’re trying to score drugs.”

I was at a fabric store the first time I felt my baby kick.
It seemed magical, as if she loved floral calico.
That week, Trump called Kim Jong Un Crazy Rocket Man.
I couldn’t use a step ladder or sleep on my stomach;
I was being so careful to keep the little creature
living inside of me as safely as I could --
while the president was calling an armed man names.

I couldn’t march.
I was in too much pain from a pelvic disorder.
I’d scream myself awake.
I needed oxycodone to get to the bathroom.
Other disabled women marched.
I hoped they were fixing the world
I wasn’t a part of anymore.

The nurse called and said a boy.
I was followed home twice in four days
before I was showing and still able to walk.
I thought, Thank god it’s a boy.
At 17 weeks in the ER, bleeding and cramping,
I found out she was a girl.
I thought, I’ll need a bigger dog.

The first time I heard my mother curse was
when we were followed home Live Oak Road.
She was trying to lose the other car
like we were in a movie –
but it was real. I was a girl.
I ducked down
and watched the oak trees.

Years ago I drove by a guy talking to himself at a bus station.
He had been at the same mental hospital as me.
At the hospital I woke up to a woman screaming,
“He stole my brush!”
When I opened my eyes he was standing there,
staring at me, the brush caught in his long gnarly blonde hair,
as he spoke to himself using two distinct voices.
The government did not care about him.

The government didn’t care about me until I was pregnant.
When I was 18, I went to the emergency room for a suicide attempt.
They turned me away. There were people with real problems there.
When I had a threatened miscarriage
everyone gave the biggest damn.
Holy crap, were they totally worried about my baby?
But I knew they wouldn’t care about her after she was born
if she was disabled.

I tried explaining to my husband
why the tests seemed wrong to me:
“They want to use the blood of my disabled body
to make sure my baby is not disabled.
If the baby is disabled
they’re going to talk about ‘options’ —
doesn’t that seem strange to you?
If you never found out the baby was disabled
no one would ever say,
Hey, you sure you want to keep growing that thing?”

Jews will not replace us was a chant from the tiki torch neo nazis
I got in my head. It was catchy and made me laugh.
Once I thought back to it while looking
through a book of Hebrew names.
Her name means Oak Tree.

Rise and Resist