6:56 pm - 04/06/2013

Trigger Warning Pregnancy and Sexual Assault

I found out earlier this week that I am pregnant. By my calculation, I am about ten weeks along as I was raped exactly 10 weeks ago and I only have consenting sex with my female partner. I found out I was pregnant at a sexual assault follow up appointment where they routinely do a pregnancy test. The nurse who informed me gave me only information on abortion and made it clear that it would be a huge mistake to keep my rapists baby.

However, I am in my late twenties and I am worried that if I have an abortion now I am going to not be able to have children down the road. Plus I am not entirely sure that I want to have an abortion. Even though this child was created in bad circumstances, I find myself attached and having difficulty deciding to have an abortion. But the majority of people in my life (including friends, family and my partner) all thing that I would be incredibly "stupid" to have this baby.

Does anybody have experience with this? Any advice? Am I completely crazy for wanting to continue this pregnancy?
fun_tabulous 6th-Apr-2013 11:00 pm (UTC)
Ok, I kind of feel like maybe I shouldn't comment, because I have zero experience with this, but...

I don't really think it sounds crazy to me. :) I think it is a very personal and heavy decision to make and I kind of feel like it was wrong of the doctors to tell you to abort it.

I wish you good luck with whatever you decide. I just think YOU should decide it not everyone else telling you to abort it! Unless that is what you ultimately want.
elleonfire 7th-Apr-2013 01:05 am (UTC)
Thank you for your kind words.
elleonfire 7th-Apr-2013 01:07 am (UTC)
I pressed charges against the person immediately and have been dealing with the aftermath with my trauma therapist (was seeing her for CSA). I don't know how I will deal down the road with a constant reminder and that scares me but at the same time I think I can come to terms with this and raise the child.
wyld_dandelyon 6th-Apr-2013 11:12 pm (UTC)
You can go to see an OBGyn (at planned parenthood or elsewhere) to make sure that you don't have any condition that would make it hard for you to have a pregnancy later if you have an abortion now, but normally that is not an issue. I had an abortion in my late 20s and had no trouble getting pregnant afterward. Planned Parenthood is a good option because they won't pressure you either way, and will provide all the information you need.

As to how it can affect your life, any baby changes your life in many ways. If you don't get responses from someone here who has kept a baby of rape, I know someone via LJ who has and who is an active anti-rape-culture activist. I'm sure she wouldn't mind talking/online chatting with you, but I'm hesitant to post her name in such a big group. If you want me to ask her to contact you, send me a private message.

This is a big decision and one that you can't undo later. Good luck deciding what's best for you.
elleonfire 7th-Apr-2013 01:10 am (UTC)
Thank you very much for your suggestion of planned parenthood and for sharing your late 20's abortion experience .

I would like to talk to someone who has had their rapists child but I have no idea how to send a private message on Livejournal. How do I send you a private message? I cannot seem to figure it out.

Thank you for your wishes of luck.
madraykin 6th-Apr-2013 11:15 pm (UTC)
My general rule is that how you feel when you find out you are pregnant is a guide of your 'true' feelings, before other people or even yourself confuse you. I hope that made sense!
I don't think you're crazy but you need to be realistic. I hope you're in a good position to raise a baby. I don't mean materially (cause you can raise a baby on very little) but emotionally and mentally. Once you've made your position on the matter and are firm with everyone around you I think they will respect your wishes, whatever they may be.
Also, you could look into an open adoption!
elleonfire 7th-Apr-2013 01:12 am (UTC)
I did not think about open adoption and will definitely look into that as an option.

I was happy and scared when I first found out about the pregnancy. Happy because my partner and I do want a baby and have been planning to start "trying" in the fall. Scared because well I knew it was my rapists baby.

I am not sure whether or not I am in a good emotional place to have a baby. I am in therapy and making progress with trauma but it is still very fresh and I am still suffering in the immediate aftermath.

Thank you for your advice.
gloraelin 6th-Apr-2013 11:19 pm (UTC)
First of all, I am so sorry you are having to deal with this -- not necessarily the pregnancy itself, but the drama and such.

Second, no, you're not crazy. It happens sometimes, where a survivor decides to carry the child. Even if it weren't A Thing That Happens, you have the right to carry the pregnancy to term. Your body, your choice. I do not think it is fair or right for your support system [your partner especially!] to call you stupid and try to make your decision for you.

I think that... there is a narrative our culture has, that nobody wants to carry/have/raise a child that resulted from a rape, and this story has been strengthened lately by the push to protect abortion rights in a situation exactly like this. However... that doesn't mean you have to abort. Again, only you can make that final choice. You should feel empowered to make whatever decision you feel is right for you, and I am sorry you are not getting that support.

What I would suggest... if you can afford to, see a therapist or counselor, just to talk some of your thoughts out. It would probably be better if they were trained in trauma counseling, but it's not necessary, IMO. Perhaps talking with someone clearly outside of your current situation will help you get some clarity.

Regarding abortions and fertility, I don't have any cited studies or anything, but what I do remember is that, if done in a safe and clean environment, there should not be any risk of infertility. Now, does it still happen? Yeah, but that's because bodies are weird like that. But I wouldn't assume that you would "of course" lose fertility. One other thing that might help, is to have a consult at a place like Planned Parenthood, and go in with a list of questions exactly like that. They will be able to help with answers.

Good luck, best wishes.
elleonfire 7th-Apr-2013 01:15 am (UTC)
Thank you for the good luck wishes.

I have been talking to my therapist about this but she is generally on the side of my family, friends and partner. Possibly because she has known me for three years. Reading this I am thinking perhaps of getting perspective from a person who does not know me but can offer some advice and as a source to bounce things off of.

I know making the assumption I will lose my fertility is faulty. I guess I am just scared because we had planned to start trying for a baby in the fall and I don't want to mess things up now and put our schedule behind. Though, I guess there are no certainties that I would have gotten pregnant immediately in the fall with a donor.

I am going to see if I can get an appointment at planned parenthood to ask these very questions.
fallconsmate 6th-Apr-2013 11:20 pm (UTC)
half that fetus' DNA is yours. period.

if you want to keep it, and your partner can live with that? it is ONE person's decision to make. yours.

you are not crazy. what the heart wants it what it wants, you know? however, the idea that an abortion could cause sterility is not true any longer.

most people would not keep a pregnancy/child that was created under circumstances of rape not only because of the chance that in the future a person may feel resentment and anger at the child because of the way it was conceived, but also...there is a chance *depending on your state's laws* that the rapist may end up having parental rights also. that means that the entire rest of your life, you'd have to have that person around. PLEASE check for certain on your state's laws before making a final decision.

but in the long run? the heart still wants what it wants. you may have chances at later times to have a child, yes. you may decide not to. speak to a councelor and get some more solid information than internet strangers, though. good luck with whatever you decide. :)
faithful_summer 7th-Apr-2013 12:56 am (UTC)
I am sorry you're in such a difficult situation.

I see a lot of great advice here and actually came to comment to make sure you know what the commentor above posted-- that depending on the state and laws, rapists *can* still retain parental rights and even file for custody. I didn't bring this up to scare you, but I want you to be fully informed about all the possibilities in case any of these facts would affect your decision.

And like everyone else said... this is YOUR decision. Do what you decide is right for you.

Best of luck.
kaberett 6th-Apr-2013 11:24 pm (UTC)
I don't have any experience, but I can say that this is your decision. The circumstances of conception don't define the child. I can sort-of understand why the nurse might have been strongly pushing abortion, in the sense that many people might start out reluctant & having a figure saying "it's okay to do this" could be very helpful - but clearly she misjudged it (and badly).

Setting aside the issue of rape: have you and your partner talked about having children? What was the outcome? Are you in a financial and emotional place at the moment to support a child? Because... if you are, or you can make it work, and you want to make it work, and you'd decided that you wanted children... I think that sounds a lot like a decision on your part to me?

It sounds as though your friends & family & partner might be having difficulty themselves with the idea of seeing a child as symbolic, or a reminder, of a time that they may also have experienced as traumatic; it sounds a lot as though they may be trying to have you make a decision that makes them most comfortable, without necessarily having thought terribly deeply about why it makes them most comfortable? In which case, one thing I'd suggest that might be helpful is couples' counselling (if you can afford it/it's reasonable to get to/etc), or counselling for your partner by herself; or perhaps, as another commenter suggested, going to a Planned Parenthood or similar - with your partner, if she will listen rather than talking over you - and talking through things with a professional.

I believe very firmly that any decision you make is the right one. Good luck.
elleonfire 7th-Apr-2013 01:21 am (UTC)
I do get why the nurse said and encouraged abortion. She deals only with rape survivors and in most cases survivors do not want to keep the baby. At least that is what she told me.

We have talked about having children and we were prepared to start trying in the fall after marrying this summer. We already have the donor selected and things set up for the fall. We are both financially able to support the child and we were emotionally ready up until the sexual assault happened. Now I don't know if either of us is really ready. I am not even sure I want to go through with our wedding. Not because I don't want to marry her but because everything just seems to be off right now.

I really appreciate your perspective on my family, friends and partners perspective. The child definitely could be symbolic for them.

Couples counselling is a good idea. I am going to run the idea by my partner soon.
yazz_flute 7th-Apr-2013 12:38 am (UTC)
I don't have any experience with this either, but I wanted to say that I don't think you're crazy at all.
I would also suggest speaking to a therapist or counselor of some sort.

Good luck to you whatever your decision!
elleonfire 7th-Apr-2013 01:22 am (UTC)
Thank you for your good luck wishes.

I am currently seeing a trauma counsellor and we have begun to sort this out.
elleonfire 7th-Apr-2013 01:22 am (UTC)
Thank you for reminding me it is my body and my choice. Sometimes I forget that and want to let everyone have an opinion.
slinkslowdown 7th-Apr-2013 01:00 am (UTC)
Bottom-line, your body is yours and this is your decision. No one can tell you what you should or shouldn't do, there's nothing "crazy" about deciding either way in this situation.

Good luck with this.
elleonfire 7th-Apr-2013 01:23 am (UTC)
Thank you for reminding me of the bottom line.
bratty_lil_fae 7th-Apr-2013 01:07 am (UTC)
The joy of choice is that it works both ways. If you want that baby then that baby is yours to keep, if you don't want it that is a perfectly healthy choice as well. I would say trust your heart and get and tune the nay Sayers out. If you do keep the baby you will find everybody " knows" what you should be doing better than you with parenting too.

Internet hugs if you want them.
elleonfire 7th-Apr-2013 01:24 am (UTC)
Thank you for the internet hugs and for reminding me that people will have opinions regardless of what I do.
chibi_high08 Adoption Maybe?7th-Apr-2013 01:26 am (UTC)
I'd just like to point out that I've never had this happen and I commend you on how strong you're being right now :) i feel that a lot of people don't realize that adoption is also an option besides abortion. There are plenty of good adoption care facilities (idk where you live so I can't list any) You're not crazy for wanting to keep the baby, a classmate of mine went through the exact situation in high school; she decided to keep the baby, pressed charges, and is going to college :) she had a good support from friends and last i checked she was doing fine. If you feel that you can handle it then go ahead, you're not in high school so maybe your life is more stable than my friend's was but it all comes down to you. if you're close to your family and friends- even if they think you're crazy- tell them all you need is a little emotional support and to accept your decision whatever it may be :) I wish you the best
elleonfire Re: Adoption Maybe?7th-Apr-2013 01:34 am (UTC)
Thank you very much for your response. I am definitely going to look in to an open adoption. I am definitely financially stable and we were planning on trying for kids in the fall so in that sense we could keep the child. But I think adoption might be good too.
archangelbeth 7th-Apr-2013 02:08 am (UTC)
I haven't experienced this situation, but I do not find it crazy. We all react in different ways, and if you are feeling attached... You have to do what's best for your heart and situation. However, you may wish to research your state's laws; some will give parental rights to rapist sires of children. You may wish to conceal the parentage if you are in such a state, or otherwise find some way to sever these parental rights (such as visiting rights, etc.).

*sends lots and lots of hugs, for use or re-gifting as they will best help*

Edit: I see that people already mentioned the potential complication! I hope you can find out what Canada's laws are. And, if it would not be hard for you, emotionally, could you post back what you discover? I'm not finding any good information on a quick websearch, and it's obviously something that can play a part in other people's decisions in the future, too.

Edited at 2013-04-07 02:15 am (UTC)
rovylern 7th-Apr-2013 02:14 am (UTC)
I have been in your situation; I chose to continue the pregnancy and place the child for adoption. If you'd like to chat privately about it, I'm more than happy to share my experiences. You can PM me or send me an email at my lj name @ gmail.com.
jennifer0246 8th-Apr-2013 10:02 pm (UTC)
Thank you for commenting and offering to share your experience with the OP. It's brave and kind, and as someone who tries to help VP be awesome, I'm so glad to see others do the same.
thedorkygirl 7th-Apr-2013 02:53 am (UTC)
Ma'am, as a survivor of sexual assault, I think that you are a good and kind woman for opening up the possibility of loving this child. If you want to keep the child, then I support your decision. It is no one's choice but yours. Abortion is an option, but it is not your only option. You can have the baby and raise it; you can look at adoption choices. You are an incredibly brave woman.

I ask only that you please be prepared to love the baby with no hard thoughts as to its conception. That's the biggest question. If you can well and truly have the child without blaming him or her for his paternal line, then yes, do it. If you can't - again, you have other options. I say this coming from a family with extremely messed up mothers up and down the line. Be prepared to love love love - that is the most important thing.
frolicnaked Reminder for Commenters7th-Apr-2013 03:01 am (UTC)
OP, thanks again for trusting us enough to share your story. We hope that the comments you receive will be supportive and healing.

This is just a quick note to remind readers that VP has some guidelines for responding to posts about sexual abuse or assault.

Additionally, we'd like to remind you all of VP's rules, specifically with regard to abortion debate in VP on LJ:

"VaginaPagina as a body does not take a stance on abortion, or on any other controversial issues for that matter. It's not that we don't all have our own personal opinions, but political biases aren't what we're about. We're about health and access to information.

"We ask that our members refrain from arguing about abortion issues here as it's counterproductive to community cohesiveness."

For more information, please see our full policy on abortion discussions.

VP is fabulous because of its members. We appreciate you supporting the OP in making their own choices. :)

If you have questions or concerns, feel free to get in touch.
-- Tori
for the VP Team
contact_vp
salix_03 7th-Apr-2013 03:41 am (UTC)
My situation was different in some ways, and similar in some ways. I'd love to talk with you about it, privately if that's ok? (salix_03 at yahoo dot com) Whatever -you- decide to do, I wish you the very best. And no, you're 100% not crazy :) *hugs, if they're wanted*
nonnycat 7th-Apr-2013 08:37 am (UTC)
Everyone else has given some great advice, but one thing I want to address is your "now or never" concern. There is a lot of fearmongering out there about "older" moms, and I've seen it sometimes outright stated that if you don't have kids by the time you're 30, you're over with. None of that is true; my own mom wasn't ready until she was in her 30s and had me at 31 and my sister around 35. I know many, many other moms who have had SAFE pregnancies with healthy babies in their 30s.

I say this mainly because you're dealing with such a huge decision, adding fear that this is your "last" or "only" chance (that is not true whatsoever) would just be awful.

It is ultimately YOUR choice, and you have a lot of options out there. I think my biggest concern is what others have mentioned, about the rapist being able to sue for parental rights. (I would be especially concerned about this if you live in an area that is intolerant towards gay people, also)

Good luck with everything, and please feel free to keep posting here as you need. <3
rosewein 7th-Apr-2013 09:56 am (UTC)
If you think you can do this, i tend to think that you are the best judge. i was ready to tell you to totally go for it if its okay by you. but then i had a thought, the resulting child.
my own sons father is a kind but slightly mentally ill alcoholic. I do not regret the decision to carry to term for me. but sometime i worry about the effect on him when he realizes half of his self come from a weak selfish man. who ducked out of my sons life for near two years, during this time I had a answer a lot of questions from my son was 2. about why he didn't have a dad, if he was good would he come back, where and who he was. the questions you will get i'm sure will be different but you will have to prepare for it to possibly effect your childs self worth.

I also thing everyones life possibly effect there self worth and if you wait for perfect you may never get there. but it can be very hard, or at least it was for me when i can up against the guilt of making a whole person out of an imperfect siduation.

My friend whos parents are divorced said to me once he was glad his mother had maintained contact with his father for them as even know there are parts of his personality that are like his father and knowing him helps him understand himself better. there will be huge parts of his person of which you will know nothinG.

I also sometimes feel i'm raising my sons father, they are quite similar and its a creepy feeling.

I hope something in my ramblings makes sense to you and i hope you figure this out the best way for yourself.

shadesong 7th-Apr-2013 11:52 am (UTC)
Hi, Elle - I'm the person wyld_dandelyon mentioned above.

First off, I want to reiterate what I'm glad so many people here have already said - that is is your body and your choice. (A lot of people default to demanding that rape survivors handle things the way they think the survivor ought to. No. You just went through something about which you had no choice. You get to choose what happens next.)

My situation is a little nebulous; after I was raped, I had consensual unprotected sex with my then-boyfriend less than two weeks later. I felt like if I didn't go ahead and have consensual sex as soon as I felt capable of it, sex would be this big insurmountable Thing, so I did it to get it over with! And then I was pregnant. Based on my due date, yes, conception happened the night of the rape. But I had that desperate cushion of "maybe?"

So I told my then-boyfriend, and he offered to either marry me or pay for an abortion. And I decided to wait and think about that.

People are right when they comment below that a safe, legal abortion should not impact your future fertility, but I was in a different position: I'd already had three miscarriages, and I didn't know if my body was capable of bringing a child to term. So I thought that I'd wait and see. I assumed I'd miscarry.

And I didn't miscarry. So, given my miscarriage history, I began to feel like this baby was supposed to be mine. Like maybe this was my one shot.

Pregnancy was incredibly difficult - not physically, but emotionally. My then-bf had blue eyes. My rapist had brown eyes. I did not know what I'd do if my baby had brown eyes. I told myself frequently that it didn't matter where the sperm came from - especially when my ex-bf and I broke up, both of us really knowing that he wasn't the baby's father anyway. Yes, there was sperm involved from someone else, but this was my child.

And when I gave birth to her? She looked exactly like me, and not a bit like anyone else.

My daughter is 18 now. She still looks exactly like me.

And all her life, I have loved her utterly and completely - and honestly, within the first year of her life, I stopped correlating her conception and her existence. I was raped, and I have a daughter, and those things are connected by several hours almost nineteen years ago, which is a pretty tenuous connection. The main thing is that I have a fantastic daughter.

I do have a friend who made the same choice; I'd direct her here, but she died four years ago. She never regretted her decision either.

All of that said, our experiences aren't universal. My friend and I are the only people I know who've kept our children, but I do know people who've given their children up for adoption and people who've had abortions in this situation, and all of them have made the right decision as well. There's no right or wrong choice in general. There's just the right choice for you.

I recommend sitting and thinking about this a lot. Is there someone at your local rape crisis center you can discuss this with? Do you have a therapist? I volunteer with BARCC in Boston, and I know that our position, across the board, is that this is the survivor's decision about their body, and that no decision is "stupid"; your center may have similar policies. If not, hell, call BARCC and don't tell them you don't live in Boston! I trust our hotline people to be good listeners.

Good luck, and strength to you.
kaberett 7th-Apr-2013 01:17 pm (UTC)
Thank you, so much, for sharing your story here; I'm glad and relieved (on both a personal level and as a safer space maintainer) that you felt comfortable doing so, and comfortable with others' responses. Thank you.
nakedfaery 7th-Apr-2013 02:03 pm (UTC)
Do whatever feels right for you, other people's opinions aren't relevant. Do you have the support of your partner?
nakedfaery 7th-Apr-2013 02:05 pm (UTC)
Sorry that I missed the part about your partner being unsupportive. That is a huge barrier, but of course doesn't mean that you shouldn't do it if you want to. It'll just make it a lot harder.
shark_o_saurus 7th-Apr-2013 04:41 pm (UTC)
I absolutely agree with other commenters that this is your body, your decision, and your fetus. It sounds like you've gotten a lot of great advice and support already, and I'm very glad for that.

My only concern is whether or not your partner could stop viewing the child as a product of your rape and start viewing the child as your (plural - yours and hers) child. Normally, I would staunchly say that this is your decision and only yours, but since you two were about to try to have a child of your own together I think that's worth looking into. I hope that she's urging you towards an abortion now because she thinks it would be best for you, and that if you decide to keep the fetus she would love and support that baby as much as if you two had conceived it this fall. Only you two can know that though.
elleonfire 10th-Apr-2013 03:09 pm (UTC)
Thank you for your perspective. We are currently working through this very issue in therapy.
annabelle64 7th-Apr-2013 06:46 pm (UTC)
i have never been in your situation. but i believe its your body, so its your choice what happens to it. no one else can make this decision because its your life and you have to choose whats right for you.

i had a miscarriage in september and i still can't remember having sex or any kind of sexual contact. i believed i was a virgin. so i don't know who contributed to the miscarriage, but to me it was still my child and i would have loved it no matter what. and personally, no one could have changed my decision if i had actually got to make it.

i'm so sorry you are having to go through this. i hope you make the right decision for you, not for everyone else.
elleonfire 10th-Apr-2013 03:09 pm (UTC)
Thank you for your kind words and I am sorry that you had a miscarriage.
chipie 9th-Apr-2013 04:42 am (UTC)
I'm so sorry this has happened to you. I don't really have much to add, but since I'm in Ontario I really wish I could help with the legal side. I did a quick search and found some low cost resources: http://yourlegalrights.on.ca/common-question/82897.

Let me know if you're still having trouble getting legal advice. I can ask around or simply search online, sometimes even having a different person do a search can help uncover things.

One last thing: I'm sure you know this, but it can be hard to get an abortion past
12 weeks, unless you're in Toronto. Just a heads up!

Best of luck! I know if seems impossible now, but you will come to a decision you feel comfortable with.
elleonfire 10th-Apr-2013 03:08 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for providing me with some resources and for mentioning abortion availability in Ontario. I didn't even think about that while giving myself a cushion to make this decision.
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