Today’s post isn’t so fun. I’ve been invited to receive an award at a pro-life gala in November. Part of the whole shebang involves writing about not aborting the baby that I conceived through rape. A few (very few) people know pieces of the story, but this is the first time I’ve ever shared the whole thing. And thanks to all my wonderful prayer partners on Facebook, I got it done in record time and without any PTSD flashbacks or panic attack! So, like I said, this post is not fun, but it is important. Also, it should probably be rated PG-13. Here it is:
My first husband liked it rough. Not just rough like, “Harder, baby, harder,” kind of rough. No, he liked it really rough, like putting dents in the wall with the headboard, leaving bruises on my hips and thighs, shouting dirty words at me as I cried beneath his weight – that kind of rough. He was my first love, though, so I easily bought his claims that it was just his preference, that I was being too sensitive, that I was a prude. Until his fetish killed my unborn baby. Then I realized it wasn’t just me.
I tried many times to leave him or to kick him out, but nothing kept him away. We would separate for brief periods, he would calm down a little and apologize, and I would settle back into his seemingly loving arms. But after a while, it would all start again.
When I was 21 and we had been married for just over two years, he decided it was time to have anal sex. I didn’t want to – not just for the obvious reasons, but because I’ve had bowel problems my entire life. When I refused, he wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. He sodomized me until I collapsed, then finished in the usual way. I couldn’t sit right for days, but I didn’t tell anyone, because I felt like it was my fault for trying to deny my husband his marital right and because I was too proud to face the humiliation of admitting that I had been hurt in such a way. Plus, how was I going to raise my two children without him?
A few weeks later, I started to feel sick and realized I had missed my period, so I picked up a pregnancy test on our next trip to Walmart. Sure enough, it was positive. I sobbed uncontrollably for hours. I wondered how on earth I could bring another child into this world, into such a hostile home. What was God thinking?! By this point, I was aware that my husband’s abuse was extending to my oldest (he was 2 at the time) in the form of overly-rowdy horse play and unearned spankings. I also knew that seeing him degrade me would teach my sons to disrespect women. I did NOT want to bring another child home to live this way!
I cried every day for a month, and every night I cried myself to sleep. The abuse was a little bit better during this time, because my brother and his girlfriend had moved in with us. That meant that my husband couldn’t get away with much without his real self being known. But one night, he forgot they were there.
It was about a month after I had taken the pregnancy test, and two months after the rape. He wanted anal again, and what he wanted he always got. I didn’t fight it this time – I just laid there, weeping as quietly as possibly so as not to wake the kids. And while he pounded away at me, I made a decision. I decided he would never do this to me again.
The next morning, after my husband had gone to work, I told my brother what had happened the night before and asked him to stick around that evening so I could tell my husband he had to leave. When he got home, I calmly explained that he needed help. I told him that I had arranged for him to stay at the Salvation Army, and that I might consider taking him back after he’d successfully completed counseling. Then I helped him pack. Soon after, he headed to Chicago to be with his family.
Some of my friends told me I should end the pregnancy. Family members said, even though they were pro-life, they wouldn’t blame me if I didn’t think I could handle raising a third child on my own. For a while, I considered putting the baby up for adoption. I mean, there I was: jobless, no driver’s license, no credentials for a decent job, no money to hire a babysitter, no self-confidence, and he wasn’t sending child support. How was I supposed to care for the two kids I already had, let alone throw a newborn into the mix?
And then I felt a kick.
And then I heard the heartbeat.
And then I saw him in the ultrasound.
And I fell in love.
The next few months were amazing! For the first time, I got to experience pregnancy without an angry voice yelling at me for craving the “wrong” foods, for being tired, for wanting to relax and talk to my belly. I got to become the mommy my baby and toddler needed. I got to wake up in the morning and smile at myself in the mirror, knowing that today I would not be put down, today I did not have to be afraid.
When my son was born, I loved him right away. His little head, his tiny fingers, his scrawny legs – he was perfect! I won’t lie and tell you it was exactly like with the others. The bond was definitely different. With the first three pregnancies, I rejoiced as soon as I found out I was expecting. I thought that maybe having a baby would make my husband grow up; with this baby, it took longer for the joy to come. With the first two children, it was easy to spend quality time bonding with them; with this baby I was a single parent to a three year old, a one year old, and a newborn. But the love was still there.
Unfortunately, my husband came back when the baby was less than two months old. Life was even worse once he was back, and he stayed for another 3+ years before he was finally arrested for assaulting me in front of some friends. All of his offspring were hurt, and all have acquired some major baggage, so I can’t say what things would have been like had they kept on a positive path, but having one less child certainly wouldn’t have changed any of it.
This is the first time I’ve ever told anyone about how my son was conceived. Not even my mother knows all of it (though I guess she will now). When Juda invited me to share my story, I realized it was my chance to help others understand that abortion is never the answer. Sure, it may have been easier to have gotten rid of this unwanted pregnancy, but then I would be laden with guilt. And worse, I would never have gotten to meet my beloved little boy!
I know how hard it is to deliver a child that you didn’t really want, one that came from an awful experience, but I also know that with God all things are possible and work together for the good of those who love Him. Perhaps keeping a rape baby is too hard for some mothers. There are thousands of would-be parents out there who would do anything to have a child of their own and can’t. I believe that God can take your pain and turn it into joy and self-respect by letting you give the gift of life to an eager couple.
The baby that was conceived through this rape is five now. He looks more like his biological father than the others do. There are days when he or his oldest brother do or say something that reminds me so much of my abuser that I want to scream. Sometimes I do: I’m not perfect.
But it is not my son’s fault that he was the product of a sexual assault. It is not his fault that his face occasionally sparks a bad memory. And the times that I am overwhelmed with love for this beautiful, funny, smart, wonderful child far outweigh the times that I remember the pain of how he came to be.