Give Birth To Me

Tatiana Rakočević


To the victims of obstetric violence, whom no one has yet managed to count.

Six fingers, he said wiping his knuckles from the glistening secretion.

There was something deeply disturbing in it: perhaps, before he made his rounds, he had picked his nose, or in the worst case scenario, – I hated myself for even thinking of it – he had examined another postpartum woman, one with a more relaxed approach to hygiene, in the same, the very same, way he examined me. On his way over here, he must have touched at least three doors, with the palm of his hand or elbow, which under such circumstances was not feasible or certain given that last time, on his way out of the operating room, he reached right for the knob. He shook hands, as far as I could tell, only once, with a new father, which we surmised from the fact that he did the rounds with a bottle of brandy, and, on that occasion, having licked his thumb passionately, he scratched the surface of the metal kidney basin to remove traces of dried blood. And he succeeded: now it was under his nail.

When, after much hesitation, I tried to remind him to rinse his hands – I hoped he didn’t mind, just a little if he could –, he looked at me as if I’d just told him I got pregnant by him personally. And, then, to set an example for others:

“Who’s the doctor here, me or you?”

Out of fear or merely out of surprise, I said nothing else.

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