"I was pregnant when he hit me and here's why I stayed": A Singapore mum's story

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This man, who asked for my permission when he wanted to hold my hand for the very first time, just slapped me across the face while I was pregnant with his second child.

Domestic violence is something we see everywhere but rarely talk about. It's almost as if it's taboo to speak about, a topic that you'd avoid in case something happens. But domestic violence is happening right now, even as you're reading this, and it's more common and serious than we think. It can happen to anyone, anywhere and it's not something to be overlooked, excused or denied.

The hardest part that comes with domestic violence is to actually acknowledge it. No one deserves to live in fear with the one they love. The bottom line is, abuse, whether it's physical, emotional or psychological, is never acceptable. And if has happened or is happening to you, please seek help and get out of that relationship.

 

Lina, a 35-year-old Singaporean housewife, and currently pregnant with her second child, shares her story...

I first met Zaid when we were in University. He was a year older and I chased him first. It must have been his mysterious, popular and charming exterior that appealed to me. I've always had a thing for bad boys (which of course, now I regret).

We were the same orientation leaders for a group of freshmen and that's where we started talking. We clicked right away and I knew almost instantly that I was head over heels for him.

We were the same orientation leaders for a group of freshmen and that's where we started talking. We clicked right away and I knew almost instantly that I was head over heels for him.

During the course of our relationship, Zaid was a total sweetheart, not having the expected bad boy demeanour I thought he'd be. He respected me and even asked for my permission for holding my hand for the first time.

Time flew by and 6 years later, we got married. I was a primary school teacher and Zaid a music teacher at an arts school.

We were the happiest married couple, even more, when our first child, Aaron came along. It was as though everything was going as God had planned for us. And things just got better after I became pregnant with our second child, Aiden.

Or so I thought.

Things didn't change for the worst all of a sudden, but I definitely noticed the signs here and there as time went by. Zaid had started a freelance night job where he'd do gigs at clubs. He had some music background and experience. He said that this money would be helpful for the family, especially after I had stopped working since Aaron's birth.

A part of me thought that it wasn't a good idea because clubs would lead to frequent drinking and... I needn't say more. It was just something I wasn't so comfortable about. But the other part of me looked at the situation realistically and thought that we really needed the extra cash and we were barely surviving through the month. And so I agreed to his new freelance job.

What started out as a job that he'd take every alternate weekend turned into something more frequent and he started excepting gigs every other day. Some weeks, he'd only come home early once or twice and return in the mornings the other days, drunk, tired and super cranky.

One morning, after I had dropped Aaron off to my mum's place, I waited for Zaid to come home. We were supposed to go to the doctor for a checkup and Zaid had just returned home, one hour before the appointment.

I told him to get ready quickly and he started going on about how I should just go alone because he was exhausted and that I didn't understand his situation.

I was ticked off and baffled. How could he say something like that when I had informed him of our appointment the day before, and that he should be home early? I wasn't about to leave the house alone, considering the fact that I wasn't even sleeping well the night before.

"I reminded you last night about our appointment, and now you're suddenly saying you can't go?" I said, almost screaming.

"I told you, I am tired. You can go alone anyway, I'll pay for the cab," he replied cockily.

"What, with the money that you earned from your gigs which never really helped this household?!" I knew right then that I had said something wrong in the spur of the moment. But before I could apologise for it, I felt his palm strike across my face so hard that I swung backwards, hitting the wall behind me.

Hot tears streamed down my face immediately, and Zaid stormed off, slamming the door behind him hard.

I was shocked beyond words. How could he hit me? And especially when I was carrying his baby inside me. Did he not think of the implications of that?

This man, who asked for my permission when he wanted to hold my hand for the very first time, just slapped me across the face while I was pregnant with his second child. 

I didn't know what was going through my mind, but I immediately took the keys and went to the doctor's clinic straight away. When I returned home, Zaid was in the living room watching TV while reading the newspaper, as if he never hit me. He was acting like as if nothing had happened.

When he saw me coming in, he apologised, expressionless. It was as though he was just throwing the word, "sorry" out.

I know what you're thinking- why didn't I just leave, right there and then?

I couldn't bring myself to do it. To leave Aaron behind and with little Aiden still inside me was unthinkable at that point of time. To be honest, I still have a little hope, that maybe Aiden's arrival will make everything better.

We have spoken about that night a few times, but every time I start the conversation, Zaid just brushes it off. I don't know if it's because he feels guilty, or because he just doesn't care (or want me to keep nagging at him for an apology or an explanation).

I am hanging on to the glimpse of hope that the arrival of Aiden will soften his heart, and things will go back to normal- to us being the "happiest married couple" we once were. Till then, I pray every night that he comes home sober and never gets into a fit of anger to strike me again. I may be living in my own world and 'covering up' for him, but leaving him is not something I can bring myself to think about right now

*All names have been changed to protect the identity of those involved.

 

Mummies, what are your thoughts on domestic violence? Do share them with us.