Discussion of rape. Contains difficult content.
My sons footsteps in the sand on a beach in New Jersey. The impact of a choice made for me.
The white ceiling.
It’s all I remember
of his conception.
A joke cracked
as I rolled into a ball
his needs satisfied.
I dressed. I left.
What just happened?
Sitting on the bus,
In the very back corner
Trying to put together the pieces.
Trying not to cry.
I clutch my stomach,
It churns with anger.
I feel sick. Alone.
And I know,
I simply just know
I am pregnant.
That was almost exactly eighteen years ago but it’s still incredibly fresh in my mind. It would be Valentine’s Day before I confirmed my gut instincts. Sitting in the bathroom, shaking and feeling like the world, my world, had shuddered with a violent earthquake and cracked in two, swallowing my future in a single moment of utter chaos. All because he didn’t want me to say no to having sex. There were condoms not two feet away.
Was it rape? I believe it was. He knew I didn’t want to. It wasn’t the first time we had had a little fun, previously he would always ask and I would say no. I always said no. That night he didn’t ask, he just took, perhaps in his mind he’d been patient enough, perhaps he thought he deserved it or that it was his moment to take.
Neither was my future his to rearrange or my dreams his to squash but he did all that and then cracked a joke to break the tension, like somehow that would cleanse him of his wrong doing.
When I told him that I was pregnant, his response was to encourage me to “get an abortion” because I “was a child having a child”, like somehow making the child disappear would absolve him of his guilt.
I was enough of a woman the night he pleasured himself….
He was leaving either way, that was clear, so I made the decision for myself and I chose to keep the pregnancy and the child growing inside of me. Either way, no matter what choice I made, my life would never be the same so I had to make the choice I could live with.
I was blamed and shamed as a pregnant teenager. If I hadn’t been messing around, if I hadn’t had sex so young, if I had waited, if I’d kept my clothes on that night, etc….
He walked away. No one ever shamed him for not controlling his impulses, for not keeping his clothes on, for messing around, for walking away, etc… He never had to deal with the fall out, or take any responsibility for his moment of self-pleasuring greed.
He’s never even met the child he planted in my womb that night.
I tried desperately to find a way to end this entry on a positive note, but perhaps that will come in another entry. This entry was about what happened to me that night. The truth is that moment defined the rest of my life for better or for worse. Yes, I love my family, and wouldn’t trade them or send them back, and over the last 18 years I have found ways to make peace with elements of what happened but there is no denying this was a pivotal moment in my life and it influenced everything that followed.
There is still anger, a lot of anger. No one in my circle of friends and family truly knows or understands the depths of my anger and resentment that I carry. Or the guilt of also resenting my first-born child, and yet he is the most innocent of all.
How do you come to terms with such an emotionally devastating moment in time? How do you forgive? Who do you forgive? And probably most importantly, how does your soul heal? There will always be a scar, but a scar means you’ve survived. Some days this still feels like a gaping wound, oozing with puss….
But I’m working on it….