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 couldnâ€™t take care of a baby, Iâ€™d never even changed a diaper. Why did he do this to me?
And perhaps the most insidious question of them allâ€”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 changedâ€”these ideas were utterly foreign to me.Â I knew that it felt wrong. I knew that I felt wrong. I felt dirty and used. I was hurt.Â But rape? No. It wasnâ€™t what I had imagined. It wasnâ€™t some stranger. It wasnâ€™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 couldnâ€™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 fearâ€”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?Â I still didnâ€™t call what had happened â€œrapeâ€. Thinking about it left a distasteful sensation in the back of my mind, so I tried not to. I focused on my pregnancy. â€œHave a healthy baby,â€ became the mantra that played in the dark recesses of my mind every time those feelings rose.Â Sometimes I resented the pregnancy. Sometimes I resented my coming child. Sometimes I resented my sonâ€™s biological father. Sometimes I resented myself.
I contemplated suicide. Iâ€™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. â€œHave a healthy baby,â€ 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 haveâ€”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?