Rape-Related Pregnancy and Pregnancy Loss

Finding Out

So, you've taken a home pregnancy test, considered re-testing in case you have a false positive or negative result, and, if your test was positive, a doctor's confirmed it.  What happens next?

 

If you thought you might be pregnant and you've found out that you're not, please don't be surprised if you're upset.  The whole situation has been very traumatic for you and it's natural that with relief come some of the feelings you've been holding back.  If you've been trying to adjust to the possibility of being pregnant, then you may feel a sense of loss when you find out you aren't.  It doesn't mean you're crazy or that you wanted to be raped and pregnant by it! You're not alone in feeling this way.  Be really gentle and kind to yourself.  There's more than enough in the situation for you to be justifiably upset about!

If you find out that you're pregnant, first take ten nice slow breaths.  You're stronger than you think and you'll find a way to get through this, as many women have before you. You're going to be OK.

Next, whatever your circumstances, remember you don't have to deal with this alone.  Think about whether there's anyone you can trust - your partner, a family member, a friend.  It's OK to ask them for help!  If they're people who care about you, they'll want to help any way they can.  You can also call any of the services on the Crisis Links page here and they'll help you talk it through till you feel more able to deal with the situation.  Free counselling services are usually available through your local rape crisis centre or women's health centres.

These sites might also be very helpful:
Pregnant From Rape Online Support Group
Pregnant by Rape Online Group
Haullie's Page on Pregnancy After Rape 
Donna's Page on Rape-Related Pregnancy  
Pregnancy.org My Adoption Story - from a rape-related pregnancy 
ProjectBecky - tells Becky's story.  Becky had a termination.
Hope for Healing
- tells Lori's story.  Lori kept her baby.
A Mother's Song
- this mother placed her son for adoption.
Voices of Strength: Pregnancy After Rape
(there's a pro-life ad. on this page)
Adolescent Acquaintance Rape Survivors' Experiences of Unwanted Pregnancy
(a thesis)
SECASA Pregnancy Following Rape
 
Letter from a Mother to a Rape-Conceived Child
From a Mother Who Kept Her Child
 
RAINN Rape-Related Pregnancy
SA Childen, Youth and Women's Health Service: Pregnancy by Rape
 
ACT Health Rape-Related Pregnancy
 
Pandora's Project Rape and Pregnancy 
Pandora's Project: Pregnant by Rape
Pandora's Aquarium: Pregnancy and Parenting Forum
YPPAC Yarrow Place Pamphlet Pregnancy by Rape

If you're in Australia, the Australian National Department of Health Pregnancy Helpline should be able to direct you to a service near you.  The Women's Information and Referral Lines can also help you find services near you.  Go to Sexual Health and Family Planning Centres to find centres near you.  This Australian Government Community Services Page has many useful links, including other services you may be interested in, like:
Children By Choice, "Pro-Choice" counselling in QLD 
National "Pro-Life" Pregnancy Counselling Network 
Marie Stopes Not-for-Profit Sexual and Reproductive Health Services - counselling and abortions, Australia-wide network of centres.

If you're not in Australia, you can use the Crisis Links page here to track down services near you.  If you're in the USA, you can search for a centre near you at the Planned Parenthood website

Telling People:

Pregnancy is a challenging time for any woman.  You're going to need help and supportBut being pregnant through rape can make it very hard to tell anyone.

You may be desperate not to think about being pregnant.  You’re not at all alone in feeling like that.  But, even if you have a miscarriage, this experience will never just go away.  Please treat yourself gently and ask for the help you need and so deserve.

If you’re planning to have a termination, you may wonder if you need to tell anyone at all.  Can I suggest you tell someone, even if you do it anonymously through a telephone help line or support website?  A pregnancy, whatever the outcome, is a significant event in your life.  If you can’t talk about it and need to keep it secret, it’s likely to make you feel cut off from the people round you and very much alone.  You’re not alone in your experience and there are many people who care about what you’re going through.  Talking about it is difficult but can really help in the long run.  If you can’t talk about it directly with your partner, family or friends, perhaps you can just let them know you’re having a hard time and need their support.

You may have been told that if you tell anyone you, and/or they, will be hurt or killed.  Many people assume threats like this are just bluffing, since the intent to manipulate is clear.  But rape is such a violent crime that anyone capable of it may be capable of further violence.  I was threatened by my grandfather and he carried out those threats.  You are the only person who can assess these threats and decide what risks you're going to take.

Your caution is entirely reasonable.  An Australian study found 20% of pregnant women experience violence during pregnancy.  A US survey found women are 60.6% more likely to experience violence if they’re pregnant than if they’re not.  It’s a dangerous time for women in violent relationships.  Your first experience of relationship violence might be during this pregnancy.  It’s possible that pregnant women report violence more often, but violence is still the leading cause of death during pregnancy.  Violence during pregnancy is a real problem.  So it’s right for you to consider your safety very carefully.  If you feel you're at risk, it's a good idea to make a safety plan.  Here's the Australian Federal Police worksheet on making a safety plan, which isn't country-specific.  Here's a good source of information about domestic violence and  how to stay safe.  Please see the Crisis Links page for domestic violence crisis numbers and services.  This page from the White Ribbon Day Campaign against violence might help.

Don’t forget (however you feel) that your life is precious.  You have no obligation to risk it for something you didn't choose (or even for something you did).  Remember too, that if you take a risk you’re not choosing to be hurt.  That choice always belongs to the person who hurts you and is never your responsibility.  Remember you can always ask for help anonymously and discuss the risks with trained, experienced people who’ll understand.  You might also need some legal help and advice.  Here are some international legal aid links, and here are some links to women's legal services and community legal services in Australia.

You may find it very hard to deal with the assumption that you're pregnant as a result of consensual sex, especially if you've been raped by your intimate partner. Aphrodite Wounded is a website about partner rape which might help you.  Please know there's support for you if you're in this situation. 

If you're a child or a teenager adults may assume you became pregnant by accident during consensual sex.  They might express their concern for you as frustration and disappointment.  They may be angry at the changes it could mean in their own lives.  If what they say matches anything you were told by the person who raped you, please try not to take it in.  Even if the person who raped was your boyfriend and you think they didn't mean to hurt you, they made a big mistake.  If the person who got you pregnant said mean things to you that was because they had their own, very wrong, ideas and intentions.  Other people only seem to agree because they don't know or understand what's happened.  Any right-thinking person who does understand won't blame you in any way and will only want to help you.  If someone doesn't act that way they're in the wrong, not you.  These pages might help:
When Love Hurts 
Bursting the Bubble
Australian Childhood Foundation - Find Help if You're a Young Person
KidsHelpline - People to Talk to About Child Sexual Abuse
UK Childline - If You're Being Sexually Abused 0800 11 11  
Should You Tell if You Were Sexually Abused and What Happens When You Tell? - US site
When Girls Have Been Sexually Abused: a Guide for Young Girls - Canadian booklet
Sexual Abuse - What Happens When You Tell: a Guide for Children and Parents - Canadian booklet
Child Sexual Abuse: Information for Teens
Teen Relationships Advice, Information and Chat
Teen-Help Forums  
Promote Truth - support and information about sexual violence for teens and their communities
Support and Information for Sibling Abuse
- support and information if the person who raped you is your brother, half-brother or step-brother.  If you're being sexually abused by a member of your family or extended family, you're not at all alone.  80% of children under 18 are abused by someone they know and trust.

For more information about being a teenage parent, please see the Deciding What to Do page here.  For more information on parenting in general see the A Pregnancy After This? page here.

You may feel too ashamed to tell anyone.  You’re not alone in feeling this way.  Shame and self-blame seem to be an almost universal response to being raped.  But it’s a feeling, not the truth.  Your body’s taken hate and is turning it into new life.  You have nothing to be ashamed of in that!  All the bad in this situation comes from someone else - the person who raped you.  Try to be kind to yourself about this.  Pandora's Aquarium is one good place to talk to people who know what it's like and might help you feel better.  Or you can find other online support groups, message boards and chat rooms at Herodes' Cave.

You may feel worried other people will judge you.  That's an understandable fear.  Pregnancy and parenthood are things everyone seems to have an opinion about!  For young mothers, especially, this can make things very hard.  Here's one creative solution that might help a bit.  I'm sure there are many others!.  I'm so sorry for any prejudice you encounter.  Remember there are lots of people like me who think it's wrong.  When people don't have all the facts they can't make a fair judgment.  Even if they know the full story, they may not understand.  If you're feeling judged or pressured by a partner, family member or friend, you might suggest they join an online support group like Herodes’ Cave.  Here they can gather their own strength, talk things through, gain a better understanding, and hopefully support you better.  If you're feeling isolated you might be helped by organisations like Meet a Mum Association UK, or your local community centre's mother's groups.  There are other links about finding support and friendship on the A Pregnancy After This? page here.

Some people have very wrong ideas about rape and who’s to blame for it.  If you encounter someone like this, please try not to take it to heart.  Their attitudes speak only of their own ignorance and thoughtlessness and have nothing to do with you or with the truth.  Sensitive and non-judgmental medical treatment is your right.  If a health care professional treats you disrespectfully, please consider making a complaint.  Even an informal complaint may change things for the better.  If you don't feel able to do that, please be gentle with yourself.  It’s not just OK it’s completely necessary to look after yourself first.

It’s up to you how much you tell people.  But please do ask for help from trustworthy people close to you, from medical practitioners, counsellors or therapists, online support groups and perhaps anonymously over the telephone.  These people can help you to be safer and give you the physical and emotional support you'll need to get through this tough time.

How to Decide Who to Tell:

Your first consideration has to be: how do I keep myself safe?  Everyone's situation is a little different, so it's best to get the help of trained and experienced people who'll listen to your own circumstances.  Make an anonymous call and discuss your options.  For people to contact see the Crisis Links page here. 

Before you tell anyone, make yourself a list:

  • Who do you think is most likely support you?
  • Who can help you?
  • Who will be most affected by your decisions?
  • Who might find out you’re pregnant and want an explanation?

The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Abuse has some questions to ask yourself when choosing someone you hope will support you:

  • Does this person care for and respect me?
  • Does this person have my well-being in mind?
  • Is this someone I’ve been able to discuss feelings with before?
  • Do I trust this person?
  • Do I feel safe with this person?

I’ll add: Will this person be able to keep what I tell them confidential and share it only with my permission?  This is a big thing for someone to leep to themselves, but you can make it easier for them. 

They may be very worried about you. If you can, let them know what else you’re doing to look for help and suggest someone they can safely talk to: a counsellor or therapist, who’ll be bound by confidentiality; someone else you’ve trusted with the information; or a crisis line or online support group.  If you can, let the people who know and support you also support one another.  You might also suggest an online support group such as Herodes' Cave, or sites for finding information, like this website and the sites it links to.

Some of the people in your life will need to know because they’ll be affected by your decisions.  You may be worried they’ll pressure you.  Please remember, even if this does affect their lives (perhaps significantly), you are the person most affected.  It’s your body, your life, and possibly your child, and you need to make the decision that seems best to you.  Sometimes your decision will cause upheaval for people you love.  Please remember you’re not to blame for this – the person who raped you, in making that choice, chose to hurt the people who care about you.  You’re doing your best from a starting point that was forced upon you.

Make a list of the people who’ll be most affected by your decisions.  Think about the help (practical and emotional) you might need as you terminate your pregnancy, or go through pregnancy, birth and beyond.  Write next to each name the kind of help and support you’d like from that person, how you hope they'll react, how you think they might react, and how you think their life might be affected.  Thinking about this may help you be clearer and more sensitive when you let them know about the situation.  For more information about telling your boss and colleagues at work, see the Study and Work page here.

Consider other people who might find out you’re pregnant and ask for an explanation.  What do you feel safe telling them?  What’s likely to produce the best outcome for you?  It’s up to you who you tell you were raped.  You don’t have to tell anyone you don’t want to.  If you want to and you feel safe enough, you also don’t have to keep it a secret.  You have nothing to be ashamed of!  You can be proud of your courage and strength in getting through the rape and dealing with this pregnancy. 

Be extremely careful before letting the person who raped you find out that you're pregnant. Some people try to hide the evidence by attacking the mother and causing her to lose her baby.  This is a very serious crime and if it's happened to you my heart goes out to you.  Take steps to ensure your safety before there's any chance the news might get out.

What to Tell:

If you're still in danger, I recommend you start with that.  You need to be safe.  Be simple and direct.  You might say, for example: "I'm in danger and I'm scared someone will hurt me".  You can choose whether or not you name the person you're worried about.  I think it might be better not to name them till later, just to make sure the focus stays on you and on your safety.  Explain why you're afraid.  You might say, for example: "They've already hurt me.  I'm worried they'll do it again.  They said they would if I told anyone.  They raped me".  I recommend telling them you've been raped before you tell them you're pregnant, since it puts the pregnancy in context and should help avoid any blame or anger directed at you.  The person you're telling will need some time to take that in and get over their initial shock enough to hear the rest.  You might say, for example: "That's not the only problem, though.  I'm pregnant". 

The person you're telling may have no idea how to react.  If you can, let them know what you’d like them to do, both immediately and in the longer-term.  Let them know if you’d like a hug, or would rather not be touched, if you don’t want to go into details, if you want to tell them the whole story, if you’d like them to just listen, or want them to ask questions.  Think about the ideal reaction for you (including space and sensitivity to work it out as you go along).  It will help everyone if you can ask for the reaction you want. 

You might also suggest the next practical step, which will give them something useful to focus on and help them feel less helpless.  You could ask them to go with you to discuss the situation with a counsellor or therapist, or someone from the rape crisis service.  You could ask them to drive you to your next doctor’s appointment.  You could ask them to help you work out good things to eat if you’re experiencing “morning sickness”.  You could ask them to help find baby equipment, or search for a service to  help you.  This starts the pattern right from the start where you make the decisions but value their help and support.  It also gives them something practical to do while they process what’s happening.

It’s very common for people to feel shocked, helpless and angry when they hear this kind of news.  Remember that even people who love you and want to support you might say something stupid in a crisis.  Try not to take it in.  If blame or anger’s directed at you, remember those are very understandable emotions, but going in the wrong direction – you're not to blame.  Try to give people time to process the new, unexpected reality and change the way they react as they do.  If you feel hurt and overwhelmed by someone’s reaction, turn to someone else you trust.  If you feel unable to trust anyone, don’t suffer alone – call your local rape crisis service or a crisis line and talk it through with them.

I’ve had times when I’ve been so traumatized and terrified I just couldn’t talk.  Think of things that might comfort you – a favourite teddy bear, some warm milk, music, a soft blanket, or try these self-soothing techniques.  Perhaps you can still write, even if you can’t talk.  This might be a time to use an online support group.  Some groups have chat rooms where you can sit and be with other people and only write a little.  I found them very useful when I was unable to talk and felt very alone.   Perhaps you can write something down and call your local rape crisis service or another crisis line and read them what you’ve written.  It might break the ice and help you start talking again.

How to Tell:

How you tell will depend on who you're telling.  Try to pick a time when they can listen to you properly, without distractions.  Let them know the basic information as soon as possible.  Consider questions they might ask and worries they might have and try to answer if you can.  Give them some clues about how to respond to you in a helpful way.  Consider writing a letter so they have time to digest what you're telling them.  If you do that, use the letter to help structure a later conversation you have with them.  These pages have information about how to have difficult conversations.  They're not all specifically about telling someone you're pregnant through rape, but I think they might help:
Preparing to Have that Difficult Conversation
Difficult Conversations
How to Have A Difficult Conversation
PTSD Diagnosis: Telling your Family - has some tips for when communication is hard
Breaking the News of Teen Pregnancy to Your Parents
- what's said about including the father of the child doesn't apply when you've been raped.  If you're not sure how to relate to the person who hurt you and whether they really intended to, you might want to handle things differently.  Read the page When Love Hurts and ask for any help you need to work this out.
Pregnant Teens - 12 Articles on How to Break the News to Your Parents
 
How to Tell Your Parents and Friends That You are Pregnant
How to Tell Your Family You're Pregnant
How to Break Big News in a Relationship - Unexpected Pregnancy - when the pregnancy's the result of rape this is naturally more complicated!  If your intimate partner is the person who raped you, be very careful about your safety when, and after, you've told him the news.  See earlier on this page for information about safety planning.  

If you're telling your parents you might want to refer them to some of these pages.  Even if you're not a teenager, this advice might still be useful.  Reading it might give you an insight into what your parents are feeling too:
Helpful and Harmful Reactions to Disclosure of Sexual Abuse
Treating Child Sexual Abuse: Advice for Parents 
Child Sexual Abuse: A Resource for Parents
Child Sexual Abuse: A Parent's Perspective
Pregnant Teenager: A Parent's Guide to Becoming A Young Grandparent
Accidental Grandparents: How Should You React When a Teenager Becomes Pregnant 
Raising Your Grandchildren, Kinship Parenting 
How to Survive Your Teen's Pregnancy 
When Your Teen is Having a Baby
Pregnant Teenagers - Unplanned Teenage Pregnancy

Pregnant Teenagers - What to Expect
Helping Your Pregnant Teen Make a Decision

If you're telling someone else and want an idea of what to ask for, or somewhere to refer them, these pages might help:
Rape Treatment Centre: How to Help a Friend

So Someone Tells You They've Been Raped
What Can You Do if Someone You Know Has Been Raped?

Hope for Healing: When a Friend Becomes a Victim of Rape
Helping a Friend: What Can You Do?
Information for Partners, Families and Friends
There are many other pages about helping a friend.  Try searching the internet for "rape helping a friend".

Telling Other Children:

If you’re planning to continue the pregnancy and you have other children, this information might be useful.  But it's important that you talk to a good counsellor or therapist about how to tell your other children about an unexpected, rape-related pregnancy.  You'll also need to talk to them about how to minimise the trauma your children may feel because you're traumatized.

Telling the Police:

If you can, it's a good idea to report the rape to the police.  But remember it's OK to put your own safety and ability to cope with the situation first.  If you're worried about your immediate safety, call the police on your emergency number (000 in Australia, 911 in the US etc - see the People Who Care page here for more information about safety).  If you're concerned about your safety but don't feel safe involving the police, call one of crisis lines and let them know you're feeling threatened.  They may be able to help you find a way to deal with the situation safely.  Domestic Violence Helplines (see also Crisis Links) might be particularly helpful.  Pregnancy might increase the chances of being able to prove what happened to you.  But it might also increase your danger, and it certainly increases the number of things you have to think about.  Reporting a rape to the police is a genuinely difficult judgment call, so be kind to yourself if you're not sure what to do.  It may help to speak to your local police anonymously over the phone about what they can do to help and what they'll need from you to do that.

These pages may also help:
QLD Police Service Rape and Sexual Assault
NSW Rape Crisis Centre: Reporting to Police
SA Reporting Rape to the Police
Canberra Rape Crisis Centre: Reporting the Rape
SECASA (VIC Australia) Reporting Rape to the Police
Australian Federal Police (AFP): Abuse and Family Violence
NZ Reporting to the Police
Home Office UK: Reporting Sexual Offences
RAINN (Rape Abuse and Incest National Network, US) Reporting Rape
Pandora's Project Advice on Reporting Rape
Rape Crisis Information Pathfinder Reporting Rape
Reporting Rape: South African Police Service

Feelings and Thoughts:

About finding out, please see this page.

About telling people, see below.

Please be aware that this section may be upsetting and contain graphic details. 

Questions I asked:

1. Who did you tell that you were pregnant?
2. Did you tell them you'd been raped?
3. How did they react?

Answers:

1. No one.  I was too scared to even let myself know - I had traumatic amnesia over being raped and though one part of me knew what was happening and was terrified, the conscious part of me had no idea till I miscarried.  I'd been told that if I told anyone they'd be hurt.  I'd also been threatened myself.  And at one stage the baby was threatened too.  I shut up and told no one.  I was so very much alone through the whole process.  I'm relieved to be able to talk about it safely now and get some much-delayed comfort and reassurance.  My youngest one would be 23 now. 
2. I told my partner, family and close friends after I recovered the memories of the miscarriages and then of the pregnancies too.
3. They've always believed me and supported me.  My sister immediately accepted the little ones I'd lost into the family and said she was sad to have lost her nephews or nieces too.  My mum helped me by answering my questions and sharing her own experiences with miscarriages.  She was very gentle and kind.  My husband (boyfriend when this started) found it hard to understand and accept but was very supportive and persistent in listening and learning what it meant to me.  I feel that I'm very lucky.  And then I remember the 23 years of silent and blocked in pain and I feel sad.

1. I told my husband and a friend of mine at the time that I was pregnant.
2. I didn't tell my friend, and I only told my husband many months later.
3. My husband was really upset, I am sure you can imagine. Anyway, I believe that if the man that had raped me had not been in jail when I told my husband, my husband probably would have killed him. It's interesting, my husband is from Brazil, and in the state that my husband is from, if a man rapes another man's wife. The husband has the right under the laws there to kill the rapist.

I followed this up with a few more questions and she answered me very generously - thank you very much!

1. Did your husband know you were pregnant before he knew you'd been raped? My husband knew I was pregnant before he knew I was raped. 
2. Did he think it was his? At first he thought the baby was his until after I told him that I was raped, then he thought the baby was the rapist, because the timing wouldn't have worked, at least he didn't think, for the baby to be his.
3. How did you tell him that you'd been raped? I told him that it was my fault, that the man wouldn't leave me alone, and that I didn't know how to stop it.
4. Did he suspect something was wrong before you told him about it because the dates didn't work too well? Well he thought something was wrong, but not because I was pregnant. He thought there was something wrong with me because of the way I was acting.
5. Or was it a complete surprise to him? I think that the rape was a complete surprise to him, obviously, you don't expect that from a friend of yours. The baby he still think was the other man's.
6. How did he feel about the baby? My husband just told me, that even if the baby had been the other man's than he would have still loved that child like it was his own.
7. Did any of his (very justifiable) anger get misdirected at you? At first yeah it did, but that didn't last to long, I understand that he was angry and couldn't take it out on the man responsible, and he was hurt and didn't know what to do with the anger. He has now apologized profusely for the way he acted back then.
8.  You felt like you betrayed him (though you really didn't, dear friend - I can imagine how you'd feel that) - did he feel that way too? I think at first he did, because of how I told him, but after we were able to talk about how everything had happened he didn't blame me anymore, and now he has to keep reassuring me that it was not my fault.

When I told that I had been gang raped, my youth group leaders first question was she wanted to do a pregnancy test, but then said well that doesn't happen and went on telling everyone I was lying about being raped just to get attention. So I knew I was alone. One good friend did know Calvin, he was the one who took me to the ER when I was loosing her. Somehow she made everything OK, I was going to give her all I never had. Then I miscarried and did that all alone too. There wasn't any help or any comforting. I think what bothered me the most is that she, the evil youth group leader wanted to do a pregnancy test not for me but to prove I was lying about being raped. That entire situation was so crazy. I was only 13, I will never understand why they didn't believe me , but then continued to spread rumors all over the church and even told my parents I was lying I was the unpopular kid why would anyone rape me . Such a terrible situation, I will never understand why people didn't help me, My mom took me to the doctor the next day but I couldn't have him touch me. That's one thing I regret I wish he could have seen the damage that was done so people would have believed and I wouldn't have been so alone. That probably would not have saved my baby but would have helped me and let people know I wasn't lying and I just didn't want attention. I would have given anything to change the situation.  I am sorry I hope this makes sense , my situation was so crazy there are parts I don't remember very well, hope this is OK.

I got pregnant at the age of 11. I told no one, and about a month later I overdosed on pills which caused me to miscarriage.

I found out I was pregnant at the doctor's office I went in because I was sick they wanted to give me medications so they did a pregnancy test and it was positive. I was in shock. I didn't tell any one. I didn't tell the doctor about the rape I just left. A few months later when I was losing the baby I called a local crisis line and I told them what was happening and how I got pregnant and she came and got me and took me to the hospital. I told my boyfriend at the time now my husband the next day and he was very supportive but kind of sad I didn't call him. Later he understood that I just needed time and I was scared I would lose him. 

Miscarried before I could tell anyone.  Wish I had the chance to have told.  Only discussed it after the fact.  Wish I had done so when I was pregnant. 

I am pregnant at the moment. The dad is my step-dad and his reaction was fear. He is scared that I will have the child and tell on him so he wants me to get an abortion. But no one else knows. I was 14 when I found out I was pregnant.  Now I am 15.  I am 8 weeks pregnant.  

Another person I asked some follow up questions - thank you again for answering so generously!

Questions I asked:
1.  Did it feel very different losing the baby you had through rape and the ones that were both yours and your husbands?
2.  Were you married when you were raped?
3.  How did your husband react?

As to your first question it is hard for me to answer because I was in different places of my life. However I do think it was different. When I got pregnant from the rape I didn't want the baby in me. I felt like he was still there all the time and that terrified me. At that time I was not married but was dating my husband. I was raped by the same man several times including after we were married but only got pregnant from him the one time. At first my husband was supportive of me and was angry at him then he withdrew a little. He has come around and is very supportive in my healing. I think what helped is he did get some counselling for the feeling he was going through. When I lost the babies with my husband I was heart-broken.  We had been trying to have a child both times. We gave them names and buried them together. I had the first with my husband, J, in March of last year and I had H in August of last year. After I lost J I got pregnant again right away so maybe I wasn't healed from the first loss.  With my husband or maybe both me and my husband, who was very supportive, we've done several projects to remember them. I never did this with the first baby (from r*pe).  I guess I did have completely different feelings it's just hard to admit because they are all my babies.  I hope this doesn't make me a bad mom?  Sorry I guess you didn't need to know that part.  As to me being raped during our marriage my husband was very supportive - he tried to make sure nothing changed in the way he treated me. I changed but he has been very understanding and competent. Sometimes he get a little upset when I have flashbacks but over all he is a great husband.

Another comment from her - thank you!

The only other thing I can think of is its so much harder to tell people when the baby is not made from love. I felt as ashamed I didn't want anyone to know, in fact most people in my life still don't know about that first baby or the terrible thing in my life. 

1. Firstly I told my two close friends, and then told my boyfriend a few hours later.
2. Not until afterward ... I didn't know I'd been raped until (about) a week after I found out about the pregnancy.
3. To the pregnancy:
Incredibly supportive. J and L, the friends I told, were like "We're here for you whatever you decide, whatever A [my boyfriend, at the time] thinks or says, we'll support you. We can take it if you want to freak out." And A was amazing too. He was shocked, and baffled as to how he could have made me pregnant (which was understandable as, as it turned out, he didn't) but he paid £350 for a train ticket the very next day and booked a hotel in London so I could go to him, and called organisations like Marie Stopes just to get all the information so we could make an informed decision. When I started to lose the baby that same night, his response was "Thank F***", which was less supportive and incredibly hurtful, but... I sort of see where he was coming from. I don't think he meant it as cruelly as it came across, he did try and rephrase it better later on. Then again, it was an awful thing to say and even if he didn't know how much it hurt me, he still said it, and I've had enough of making excuses for him, so... yeah. That was a bit out of order of him. 
To the revelation that I was raped and couldn't remember:
My friends were, again, incredibly supportive - J found out everything she could on how to get help, and L seemed to know just what to say. A, however, broke up with me for not telling him right away that the baby wasn't his. He said had I told him right out I'd been raped and pregnant, he'd have still come down and done everything exactly the same, but not being honest was "unforgivable". He said, he didn't trust me anymore or know what to believe, and when I tried to explain that I'd told him the truth as I knew it, I simply hadn't remembered the rape and had no reason to think he wasn't the father, he said "That doesn't happen unless you're drugged or it's something like child abuse, you can't just forget being raped." For a day or two he still said he wanted to help me, and spoke to a counsellor for me and told me he still cared and still wanted to help and it didn't change how he felt... then he sent me an email saying he no longer trusted me, he was incredibly lucky to still have his own health after being stresed about a baby that wasn't even his, and that he didn't know how I could do that to him. And that's when he broke up with me 

Answering for a friend (with her permission):

She refused to tell anybody. I did go with her to the doctors to get it confirmed and to midwife appointments. She eventually agreed to tell her parents but not that it was rape. Her parents are staunch catholics and were devastated to say the least. They were extremely angry and threw her out of the house. Saying she had sinned and had brought shame on the family and stuff. They also said the child would be the child of the devil, which terrified her more then anything. She refused to tell anybody else because of that reaction and dropped out of school. She moved in with us when her parents kicked her out.

1. I told one of my closest mates and she told the police (as I was still in an active police investigation).
2. Yes, I was asked if it could have been from someone else, but I hadn't slept with anyone for about  6months or so before hand.
3. (Friend) Shocked, in denial, couldn't quite believe it, was told that I should keep the baby so I could have a DNA test done it to find out who attacked me (I hated this comment, and then felt so awful when I miscarried), She wasn't at all sympathetic when I lost the baby because she thought it was "really for the best, although had it been born I could have had it adopted so I didn't have to see it"... (Police) calm, asked me to go to doctors to confirm it, asked me to do test in police station for her, told me that sometimes home tests can be unreliable (but I assured her that 9 tests weren't!) and then didn't really react at all when I lost the baby because I just turned and said to her there's no point in all this crap I'm bleeding and miscarrying, that's it- the baby has gone :-(

1. That would be one close friend, and my first love's mom, she was like a mom to me.
2. Supportive, but tentative, if you know what I mean, but they helped me talk out the situation as I saw it, even though I did not give them all the information that I had (like who had raped me) and my very valid fears of what could happen if I made a specific choice.  They believed me which was real important, but there was enough "damage" visually that it was never an issue exactly.
3. After the termination, I never talked about it, and actually the first "therapist" I went to reacted extremely badly, so I never went back to her, or tried "therapy" again until a couple of years later, after the second rape, and my then boyfriend gently pushed me there ...

1. I first told only my therapist who I knew would not judge me and would be supportive. I then told others who worked at the same domestic violence agency as my therapist and eventually my close friends whom I knew would be there for me no matter what the situation. I guess I just needed that unconditional support first to give me the confidence in handling others' reactions before telling anyone else.
2. Yes and no. My therapist already knew as she was also the first one I told immediately afterward and one of only three people I told it happened. I did not and still have not told anyone outside of the domestic violence agency as even though I know it was not my fault it is complicated to explain and I am afraid of being judged, even by my close friends so I have let them think it is a young man I have went out with on occasion over the past year and that he doesn't want to be involved or I say it's complicated which they know really means I don't want to talk about it.
3. My therapist was incredibly supportive and encouraging in helping me cope with the rape and the pregnancy. She helped me understand my options both after the rape and after finding out I was pregnant which I felt to be extremely helpful since both times I really had no idea what my options were as I was sort of in shock. I had varied responses from the individuals within the agency. All of them were supportive regarding the rape but I seem to get one of two reactions to the pregnancy. Either they have and express strong opinions regarding what they feel the best decision is in my situation and feel that they are being supportive in that way even though I haven't felt this has been the most useful response or they completely dwell on how this is not my fault, shouldn't be happening, etc and though that is validating in a way it is also not very helpful as I obviously already realize this but it doesn't help alleviate the situation or help me be better informed to make decisions regarding the pregnancy either.

1.  The only person I had told this to was my English teacher in high school.  She had invited me into her office to talk. I think she sensed that something bad had happened to me.  I don't know how she figured it out. But she did.  My other classmates in school found out as the months went by, and as the evidence of my pregnancy became more obvious.
2.  My teacher was the only person who knew that I was raped.  I did not exactly say those exact words "I was raped" but I from what I told her "rape" was already implied based on what I had told her.  I am a survivor of incest.  So when I told my teacher that the father of my baby was my own father.  She obviously knew that I was raped.  I told my therapist that I was raped, when I started my therapy sessions (after I had already given birth).
3.  My teacher and my therapist were both incredibly supportive.  My English teacher hugged me during those moments when I felt like crying.  I was really surprised how much she cared about me and about what happened.  She really took me under her wing, and gave me a safe place to live after my abuse ended.  She even helped guide me through my pregnancy.  And she was in the hospital room with me when I gave birth to my baby girl.  I am still so amazed by how much stuff she did for me.  She is still a part of my life, even today.  She has become sort of like family to me.  My therapist has always been so supportive of me too.  She has helped me work through so much.  And she is still helping me, even today work through some issues I need to deal with.

Photos from Cepolina.

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