TRIGGER WARNING: Sexual assault/rape. Domestic violence. Reproductive coercion. Instances of victim blaming/shaming. Gas lighting.
I used to be one of those “I’m pro-choice but…” people. You know, the ones that say abortion is only acceptable if the woman’s health is in danger or she was raped. The type that slut shames without even realizing it. “Oh, well she should have used protection!” I was in my late teens; I thought I had all the answers.
At 19, I got together with my abusive ex; my daughter’s father. I never wanted kids. All I wanted was to go to college and work. Of course, in the beginning he wasn’t abusive. He was sweet and caring. He mentioned he wanted kids. I told him no. He never wanted to use condoms and after a while I didn’t fight him about it, because it was either get beaten and have him rape me, or have him rape but not get beaten. I consider what he did rape, because there was no active consent from me. (This may sound obvious but I’ve had people tell me I wasn’t raped because I “let him do it”.)
He would lament the fact that I wasn’t getting pregnant. He thought I was infertile. He was upset. It was my fault, he said. Finally, I became pregnant. I told him that I thought it would be better to abort. That I didn’t want to bring a kid to the world knowing I would struggle to raise them. That he knew I never wanted kids. It wouldn’t be fair to the kid. Then he told me I should have been on birth control, or made him wear condoms. Never minding the fact that when I would ask him, he’d threatened to beat me or worse.
I talked to him about adoption. But he wasn’t listening. I was forced to carry to term. I had to fake being happy. After my daughter was born I was diagnosed with Post-Partum Depression. My abuser made me feel like a failure because of it. He said I wasn’t a good enough mother because I had a hard time breast feeding.
I finally got the courage to leave him for good when my daughter was barely two months old. He retaliated by trying to have her removed from my care. He hasn’t been in our lives since, thanks to an order of protection.
I have to say this now:
I love my daughter. Honestly, she is what keeps me going some days. She’s awesome and wonderful and I’ve learned (and am still learning) a lot from her. She comforts me when I’m sad, and when she tells me she’s happy I know I’m doing the best I can. I would like for her to look back at her childhood and know that I did the best I could. It’s why I’m in college. It’s why I’m doing everything I can to get out of the shelter. She amazes me every day. She has the greatest personality. If this sounds like I’m bragging, it’s because I am. My daughter is just great. She’s smart and it amazes sometimes that this kid could be mine. But it took me a while to get to this point and sometimes I struggle with my feelings of resentment, not towards her but of how she got here.
I say this because most think that pregnancy is the best thing that could happen to a woman. That as soon as a baby is born a woman has an instant connection to her child. That if you don’t bond well at first, the woman is somehow lacking. She isn’t good enough. There must be something wrong with her. Indeed, if a woman wants to be child-free she is fighting her “natural instincts” because all women want kids.
During and after my experience with my abuser, I learned a lot. My views have changed a lot. I believe that abortion should remain safe and legal and on demand. Abortion shouldn’t be only for women whose lives are at risk or are survivors of rape. Abortion isn’t always a hard decision. Abortion is OK. Abortion is good and sometimes it’s the most responsible thing to do. I know now that every woman faces a different situation and that every woman makes the best decision as she sees fit. I said this in one of the earlier posts of this blog, that in my abuser’s attempts to make me into the “perfect” little housewife he created an even (bigger than I already was) feminist. Funny, how that works.
I’ve already discussed it with my boyfriend. I’ll be aborting if my BC fails. He is 100% supportive. In fact, when we were getting to know each other one of the first things I asked him were for his thoughts on abortion/reproductive rights. His response: “I’m pro-choice. It’s not my place nor do I have the right to tell any woman what to do with her body.”
No need to explain why but I will:
My current financial situation
My current living situation
My mental health
My first pregnancy had some complications
I need to stay healthy and happy for the kid I already have.
But, even if I had the money, or the house and no health problems whatsoever, I would still abort. Because I do not want any more kids. That simple; end of story.
No woman should be forced to carry a pregnancy they do not want.
I should add that lots of other women who’ve been forced to carry to term don’t end up loving their kids. I honestly do not know the right words. I struggle a lot sometimes with my feelings towards my pregnancy, and I hate how my daughter came to be here. I attend parenting classes. I’m aware that it’s not her fault that she’s here, and it’s not mine either. I really don’t know how to say it, I guess I’m lucky? The women who do not end up feeling a bond with their children should not be shamed either. This is a difficult topic. I set out to write how I feel, and I’m not sure it’s being communicated properly. The take away should be: we need to get rid of abortion stigma, some women want babies, others don’t. Some women end up with babies they didn’t want and end up loving them, some women end up with babies they didn’t want and the results often end in tragedy. We need choices and our bodily autonomy. Every child born should be wanted from the get-go.
Information and resources if you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship: http://www.thehotline.org/
For info and resources on abortion: