Childbirth is one of the toughest, most emotional times in a woman’s life. But for women who have been victims of rape and sexual assault, giving birth can trigger terrifying memories of their attack.
In a BBC News story, three victims opened up to the news outlet and shared their vivid, frightening, and confusing childbirth stories.
Kim, 28-years-old: “I cried and cried hysterically”
During labor, I couldn’t stand being physically out of control and I wouldn’t let the contractions come. I couldn’t give into the process of labor, because I felt that I needed to fight back this time, now that something else was in control of my body.
The midwife was shouting at me about why I was stopping my contractions and that I wasn’t normal and it wasn’t natural to be doing that. But I couldn’t help it.
Eventually I started crying and shouted back at her about what had happened. I cried and cried hysterically, forever, and after I’d got it out of my system and let out what had happened from my mouth, like magic, my whole body began to open up.
The rest of the labor went smoothly. I needed to open up mentally to open up physically. If only this clinic had been around when I had my baby. It would have saved us both so much agony.
Next page mom says ,“I started hallucinating, seeing my rapist”
Melanie, 27-years-old: “I started hallucinating, seeing my rapist”
I was given gas and air whilst in labor and I started hallucinating, seeing the man who had attacked me in the room. I managed to articulate what was happening to my husband, but he didn’t know what to do.
He wasn’t equipped to deal with it at all, and there was no-one else in the room who was either. I was terrified and screaming. Nobody asked me; I wish I’d had some control.
I feel my rapist was allowed to hijack the birth of my child because no-one stopped enough to care.
I had to explain to every different staff member that I had been attacked. I was also not coping well with strangers touching me and I felt that the staff were blaming me for being oversensitive.
I wish that they were equipped to deal with what I would experience, that my body was respected and I didn’t have to debate it.
Mom Jessica says, “Talked to like I was a terrible mother.” Read her account on the next page
Jessica, 34-years-old: “Talked to like I was a terrible mother”
At 12 weeks I was told I had to have a trans-vaginal scan. I didn’t want it because I was raped when I was 13 years old. I said I didn’t want it but no-one listened to that, and I was talked to like I was a really terrible mother for not having this scan.
Then when I experienced flashbacks as they did it, someone said: “Why are you becoming hysterical? You need to calm down.”
It was as if the entire thing was my fault. The whole thing was based on victim blaming. I felt it was another way I was being blamed, again, for having been raped.
It turned out that the scan wasn’t required at all for my baby, and it was to do with research to do with the length of cervixes.”
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