I know You don’t remember me. I am but one face You have cared for over many springs, summers, autumns and winters, just a number on a wristband, one of many that graced your path.
But you see I remember You.
I remember the cruel and hurtful words You spoke that tore at my sole and left wounds deeper than the ocean. I remember as You called me silly girl, and told me I was difficult and weak. I remember the way You looked at me, eyes full of derision, how you whispered in the hallways, cursing me for needing your care. I remember how You were too busy to help me, too busy to take me to see my baby when she felt so far away, so unreachable. I remember too your scolding me for not trying hard enough to get out of bed, for not being able to walk despite my legs being to weak to hold me, for being unable to hold myself up in the shower.
I remember too the light all around me fading as darkness engulfed me, on the brink of death because You forgot to check in on me. I remember too You laughing as you injected me again into my leg hues of black and blue and told me I needed to toughen up. I remember as You all stood round me, a sea of faces, my dignity gone as you discussed me like I wasn’t even there, my scars lay bear to be stared at for you to gloat, your view of a job well done.
I remember too how hungry I felt when I was unable to wheel myself back to the ward in time for food because I was staring at my baby, her incubator like a glass wall between us. I remember how roughly You touched me, as I struggled to move because You had others to go to and others to wish on their way home.
I remember the loneliness, the fear and the pain. How I felt vulnerable and abandoned and a burden. I remember the desperation and the all consuming guilt. I remember the darkness and despair, anxiety holding tight to my heart.
But I know that You don’t remember me.
I wish You knew the affect you had. The life that You stole from me. I wish you knew how You changed my life. I wish You knew how many memories You have tainted. I wish You knew that I carry not just physical scars but emotional ones too. I wish You knew that for years I’ve suffered because of the time You cared for me. I wish You knew that I will always carry with me the pain that was inflicted on my mind. I wish You knew the nights I have lay awake, in cold sweats hearing your voices. I wish You understood the guilt that plays like a song in my head, because I wasn’t there for my baby, to protect her as a mother should or that I would hear my baby’s cry echoing in my head at night for months, because she had been alone and needing me.
I wish You knew the battle I’ve had to understand that it wasn’t my fault, that I didn’t deserve the way You treated me. That my healthy baby wasn’t all that mattered, but I, her mother, mattered too.
Yes, how I wish you knew that I remember You.
So please as you read my letter let your heart be moved. Let your eyes drink in the words and let your soul be touched. Let this letter help you remember me or others just like me who have suffered, and been touched by the pain that You inflicted. Let it soften your hardness and help you to think about the care you give everyday, the words You say and the things You do.
Because I needed You.
I needed You to give me kindness.
I needed You to hold my hand when I was scared.
I needed You to help me feel safe when I felt alone.
I needed Your compassion to see that I was hurt, struggling and in pain.
I needed You to see me as a person, not just another name or a number.
While I understand that You didn’t know that you hurt me this way, I have to make sure that that You know.
Because you changed my life, You changed the person I was into someone I didn’t recognise anymore. My life became a battle I didn’t understand, I wandered lost in a fog that I thought would never lift and for a while I lost my way, believing that I was worthless, because You made me feel worthless.
So please I beg You if nothing else remember this. The care You give women in birth can change them forever. It can turn joy into sadness, happiness into pain, excitement into fear.
Yes, You don’t remember me, but I remember You. Memories that I wish I could take from the corners of my mind and free, to drift on the wind to places unknown, so I could remember You no more.