Anonymous Mom: My Child Is A Product Of Rape
My mind whirled like a cyclone: I had a full ride to a good school. I was getting good grades. I had no job. My parents would be devastated. I was setting a terrible example for my younger sisters. I couldn’t take care of a baby, I’d never even changed a diaper. Why did he do this to me?
And perhaps the most insidious question of them all—why did I let him do this to me?
It would be years before I would call what happened between us rape. I had been taught that if you so much as kissed a boy, you were consenting. That you could say yes to some things, and no to others, or that you could rescind consent if the situation changed—these ideas were utterly foreign to me. I knew that it felt wrong. I knew that I felt wrong. I felt dirty and used. I was hurt. But rape? No. It wasn’t what I had imagined. It wasn’t some stranger. It wasn’t some dark alley. It was someone who I knew and trusted. Who I cared about. Who I thought cared about me.
And now a pregnancy? I couldn’t imagine it.
Our state allows abortions to 20 weeks. I considered it. I had been raised to be vehemently pro-life, to believe that abortion was murder, and yet I thought about it. In the end, it came down not to principles, but to cost and fear—I had no money and I was terrified that my parents would find out.
Throughout my pregnancy, the specter of fear loomed over me: Would I be able to love this child? I still didn’t call what had happened “rape”. Thinking about it left a distasteful sensation in the back of my mind, so I tried not to. I focused on my pregnancy. “Have a healthy baby,” became the mantra that played in the dark recesses of my mind every time those feelings rose. Sometimes I resented the pregnancy. Sometimes I resented my coming child. Sometimes I resented my son’s biological father. Sometimes I resented myself.
I contemplated suicide. I’d struggled with major depressive disorder for years, and had been hospitalized the year before for an attempt. I had decided to go off of my medication during my pregnancy because of the potential effects on a baby. “Have a healthy baby,” played through my head over and over, pushing the thoughts back down.
I spent nights unable to sleep, my mind constantly running between all of the various fears that pregnant women have—would I be a good mom? How likely is SIDS? Should I breastfeed? How will I raise a good person? And still that question: Will I love my child?