Tricky subject but here goes!!
From the time of my birth until close to my 13th birthday I was sexually abused by my father.
Myself, and my fiance, have been dealing with this as memories and flashbacks arise, and I would like to think we are doing pretty well!!
Now we are taking our next step, in our relationship, and on this journey, and in a few weeks time we are going to start TTC our first baby soon after our wedding!!!!! (weeeee!!!!!)
We are both over the moon in love and excited!
I am looking for information to help us with what could be a very tricky time (I have heard from other survivors that due to all the changes in your body and the changes of roles it can bring up new issues in relation to the way I think about myself/my body/the abuse. Also dealing with the way people relate to pregnant women (random belly rubs), and exams surrounding pregnancy/birth)
Has anyone had any experience with this? Any handy websites? Books?.. If you dont feel comfy sharing on here, just PM me :)
I am hoping that homebirthing will make this easier on me :) AND i just Love homebirth!!
Am just curious about pregnancy/birthing/parenting after being sexually abused!!
Hope this all makes sense?!?! Thanks in advance!
ps I wasnt sure where to post this, so if you have a suggestion shout out :) I thought homebirth because that is what we are planning :) But would pregnancy etc be better?? Not sure?
Happy Vegetarian Gal and Techie Man- Newly Wed!!! Expecting "Albi" Christmas 2012
Looking forward to
There's no question it is the 800 pound gorilla is the room. (Or was it 500 pounds? I can never remember how big that gorilla is supposed to be.) I was sexually assaulted by a male pediatrician, which led to a lifelong fear and hatred of male doctors. I did my darnedest to avoid coming into contact with them during my pregnancy (planned to give birth at a freestanding birth center), and despite it all, wound up in the hospital for emergency c/s, with a male doctor. I begged and pleaded with them to find a woman, but they would not. And I got several months worth of severe PTSD out of it. So I take your concern very, very seriously. Have backup plan A, B, C, D, and E, and still know you may wind up in a bad place. Not trying to a downer here--I wish you the most wonderful homebirth, but please work on those backups. There's a reason the phrase birth rape is becoming more commonly used.
I am a sexual abuse survivor as well. I had some problems with recurring memories with my first three pregnancies. I started going to counseling while pregnant with my 3rd and had some definitely improvements. Unfortunately, this really can be an ongoing thing throughout your life.
As for choosing a home birth and hoping it helps, I fully believe in that. My first four were born in the hospital and were terrible experiences (I'm not saying all hospital births are terrible, but mine were). My last baby was born at home, and it was such a healing experience for me. I think due to the sexual abuse and also due in part to just the way I am, I don't like interference from people. I don't like people (especially strangers) touching me (except for those close to me), and I don't like people telling me what to do. I like to go inside myself and just deal with things on my own. This wasn't possible in a hospital setting. And the nurses were the worst. I swear I felt violent toward every one of them! lol At home however, things were totally different. My midwife left me to labor how I wanted to labor. She kept her involvement to a minimum. But she also knew my background.
When you do get pregnant, make sure you tell your midwife about your history of abuse. It can cause problems during delivery, but if she's aware, she'll know how to handle them. I know there are books out there, but I can't remember the names. I know there are a couple of books written specifically by midwives about pregnancy and sexual abuse. I'll do some research and see if I can come up with some titles.
Now for the parenting part of your question. I think it's changed my parenting a little because I am very open with my children. I'm also very protective of my children. I think these are only changes for the better. It might create more worries because, as survivors, we know the world can be a dangerous place, but I think in the end it just makes us more aware.
Good luck with everything!
Penny Simkin's "When Survivors Give Birth" was probably the most helpful book I read. I will also say that giving birth and breastfeeding were 2 of the most healing things for me when it came to my past. Having midwifery care was the third. I wish you healing on this journey.
"When Survivors Give Birth" is a great book. I think it is really important to explore all of the feelings you have/are having that come up with a therapist that specializes in pregnant survivors. I know that there is such a therapist in my area and she is amazing. She helps moms identify possible triggers that might happen during the birth and how to acknowledge and avoid those triggers. Also, maintaining your independence, autonomy, and freedom during your birth is paramount and I think choosing a provider that will give you those things should be the focus during the pregnancy.
Acknowledging that you may have issues during pregnancy is the first step as many women try to ignore the feelings they are having. Good luck mama and trust in yourself and your body :-)
Me & DH 38 y/o with 5 y/o & 2 y/o boys.
Labor & Delivery nurse and Hypnobabies instructor.
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