So this blog post has taken a long time for me to write. It's been possibly the hardest thing I've written about because I'm still genuinely devastated by it. It's one of the things I've struggled with the most throughout my life (and that's no easy feat.)
As a re-cap, I discovered a few months after I was raped that I was pregnant. The rapist didn't use any condoms even under the knowledge that I was not on any form of contraception. I tried to take the morning-after pill but ended up violently sick. After that, the thought of turning pregnant was shoved firmly in the back of my mind. I believe this was down to a mix of absolute denial as a coping mechanism and the knowledge that I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) which would likely make my fertility compromised. It was only when I took a pregnancy test the day before my 21st birthday that the fact firmly slapped me in the face: I was pregnant and the rapist was the father. As I had done before, I went to the method of denial. No one even knew that I had been raped, let alone that he got me pregnant. How was I supposed to explain all this when I hadn't even fully accepted what had happened to me? I went about my day-to-day basis and celebrated my birthday without giving any indication that anything was going on. The turmoil inside was absolutely unbearable.
Many questions went around my head:
How do I explain this to my family and friends?
Can I continue my university education?
Do I have to reach out to the rapist himself?
Where do I live: where I was, back in my family home or elsewhere?
Do I keep the baby?
The last question I've emphasized because that was probably the key question, the most important question. I genuinely didn't know what to do: abortion, keep the baby or adopt-out. If I had had an abortion, I wouldn't have had to deal with a live-baby but then lived with the trauma of having an abortion. I am fully pro-choice but I completely understand that it's not an easy undertaking at all. If I had kept the baby and raised it as my own, I know I would've loved the child regardless of where they came from but it would've been brutally hard. I was dealing with a lot of incredibly heavy issues and would I have really been the best person to raise the child? I know my family would've supported me in the raising but we're all dealing with our own survivors' journeys. If I had adopted-out the baby then I could've given the child to another family more capable of giving them a good life than I but then I would've had to have dealt with not only the issues surrounding their conception but the fact that I gave them away. Just as my choice was taken away from me when I was raped, my choices would be taken away again when, the day after my 21st birthday, I miscarried.
As cold as it sounds, there were upsides: I didn't have to deal with a child anymore and maybe that was for the best considering all of the problems. Having said that, it was totally heart-breaking to realise what had happened. To realise that my choice was gone along with the foetus was something that didn't completely register for a while but when it hit, it hit hard in my heart. I didn't know what to do with myself and even now, I still really struggle to talk about it without crying or stopping myself just in time. It's a really, really hard thing to deal with.It is, without a doubt, one of the biggest losses of my entire life.
It took almost a year after the miscarriage, over a year after the rape occurred, that I told my family what happened and finally started telling my story in a more public way. It is still a work-in-progress sort of thing. As I said in the beginning of this piece, it has taken a lot to talk about this.
I often wonder whether the people who say that rape isn't a big deal or go on a justification parade for the perpetrator ever realise that this is one of the potential consequences? Because it is. I and many survivors know that for a brutal fact regardless of whether they opted to keep the baby or not. This is something that is always going to carry in my heart and no part of me will ever forget this. I'm awaiting therapy to try and deal with this and the rest of my problems. In the mean time, I am choosing to speak out in the hope I might fellow survivors in solidarity and raise the awareness of a giant problem that continues to this day.
Continue to follow my blog for more updates and pieces about my own journey to recovery. If you are able to, donate to my JustGiving page and click on the thick black line under the totals.
Lots of love and solidarity. As always <3 XXX