Rape-Related Pregnancy and Pregnancy Loss

Advice for People Who Care - Partners, Family, Friends, Caring Professionals

Photo from Cepolina


Your first questions might be - is the person I care about safe now?  And, if not, what can I do?

If you know that someone is in immediate danger, call the emergency number (000 in Australia) and ask for the police.  See the Emergencies section of the Crisis Links page here for what to say and how to call if you're on a mobile, are unable to speak or are hearing impaired.  The Crisis Links page here also has a list of international emergency numbers.

If the person you care about isn't in immediate danger, but you're concerned for their safety, the following information might help.

Most people who're raped know their attacker, and may not be sure that police or other services can act quickly and effectively enough to protect them if they tell anyone what's happened.  It's important that you respect their view of what's safe and what isn't.  Regardless of the effects being hurt have had on them, and whether or not they're able to articulate it, they have access to more information about the situation than you do.  Don't confront the person who's hurt them without their full knowledge and agreement.

That doesn't mean that you can't help.  Make sure you and they are familiar with what to do in an emergency - see the Crisis Links page here for 24/7 helplines and other services.  This page from NSW outlines some things you can do to help someone who's experiencing relationship violence.  This is another useful page from the Domestic Violence Resource Centre (Victoria).  This page from WomensLaw.org also has some useful information on how to help a friend.  Pandora's Aquarium has some useful links for members dealing with relationship violence and support forums you could suggest to the person you care about (they'll need to use a computer their abuser has no access to - see this page about safety online).  There's also good information there based on personal experiences with safety planning.  You might also find the information on safety planning on the Finding Out page here useful.  The Aphrodite Wounded website might also give you information and insight into how you can help.

If the person you care about is a teenager or child and you're an adult you may be required by law to report what you know.  Even if you're not required to make a report, involving people who are trained and experienced in helping children who're being abused may be the best way to help the child you care about. You may be worried about the safety and effectiveness of the child protection systems where you are.  Or you may have concerns about your own safety.  You can usually make an anonymous call and find out more.  Here's some information about how to make a report of child abuse and what happens when you do:
Reporting Abuse in Different Australian States and Territories
Information from QLD (Australia) Government Child Safety Services
Links from QLD about How to Report Abuse in Other Australian States and Territories
Child Abuse Reporting in VIC (Australia), including Signs of Abuse and How to Respond
HelpGuide about Child Abuse - go to Abuse, Child in the A-Z topics if you don't get directly to the right page.
A US Page with Links to US Help Numbers
A Canadian page - What Should I do if I Suspect Child Abuse?

NZ Information about What to Do if You Suspect Child Abuse

UK Information about How to React to Suspected Child Abuse
(for youth art teachers - a useful example for adults with different kinds of relationships with children)
When Your Child Reports a Molestation - Advice
- a personal account with advice included
Bravehearts - What to Do If You Suspect A Child Has Been Sexually Assaulted.

If you're a child or teenager yourself and you're worried about a friend, or family member, here's some advice which might help you.  If you're in Australia you can ring the numbers listed above for reporting child abuse in Australia, or you can call KidsHelpline 1800 55 1800 at any time any day of the week and ask for advice and help for yourself and for the person you care about.  Please don't think you're all alone in this experience.  Children and teenagers who're raped become pregnant just as often as adults do, and child abuse is, unfortunately, common.  Many people turn to friends or siblings their own age for help and support first, especially when they're not sure which adults they can trust.  You might feel (and be) out of your depth here!  Most adults are too!  But you can help by gently encouraging the person you care about to get professional help and helping them do that.  You can comfort and support them and be there for them when they're scared or hurt.  You can also give them a very precious slice of ordinary life.  Please don't underestimate the difference you make just by being someone who cares about them.  This is a stressful position for anyone, so look after yourself too!

The Crisis Links page here might also help you find advice anonymously about how to help someone you care about, or about services that can help them.  Finding that information for someone can be a real gift, especially if they don't have easy and safe access to a telephone or computer.  Don't give it to them in writing in any way that might be understood by someone else.  They could be in more danger if the person hurting them finds out they're looking for help.

Support for Them:

If someone you care about may be, or is, pregnant through rape, reading through this website might help you understand what they’re going through.  It might also help you grieve their losses with them.

Here are some pages you might find useful:
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

Here are some ideas for how you can help:

If they were raped less than 3 days ago, encourage them to take the “morning after” pill and offer to help them get it

You can also use the links and resources here to help them find counselling and professional help.

Tell them you’re very sorry they’ve been hurt and put in a such a tough position.  If you can’t say it in person, send a card with some beautiful flowers.

If you can, help with practical things.  Offer to make or bring them dinner, to do their shopping, or run errands for them.  But don’t take it personally if your offers are refused.  People handle this situation in many different ways.

Offer to go with them to any appointments they need to go to.  It might help to have a friend there or someone else to drive while they’re dealing with so much.  If they can’t drive this is an even more meaningful gift.

If you go with them, offer to hold their hand, or just sit quietly, or talk about ordinary things if that seems to help.  Be a source of encouragement, compassion and respect.  Let them know how brave they’re being and remind them they’re strong enough to get through this.

If they choose to discuss their decisions with you, listen respectfully and give your opinions gently and only if specifically asked.

What if you don’t agree with their decisions?  Remember that it’s very important (sometimes life or death) that they feel at peace with their decisions.  This is a very delicate, complex situation that requires tolerance, respect and gentle kindness.  Let the person you love know that you’ll love them and support them whatever they decide, whatever happens.  How can you support a decision you disagree with?  If you feel they should continue with the pregnancy, but they don't, you might find this page helpful:  Ways to support someone you care about through abortion, whether you agree with her or not, from ChildrenByChoice Australia.  If you're worried about the risks involved in terminating a pregnancy, you might find the Risks of Termination page here useful.  Not all of what's written about these risks is reliable.  I've tried to sift the information for you here.  If you're worried about moral and spiritual aspects of terminating a pregnancy, this page may interest you: The Ethics of Termination - A Personal View.  If you feel the person you care about should end the pregnancy, but they don't, this page about Accepting Baby may help. 

Here are some other resources that might help you:
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
When Your Teen is Having a Baby
Pregnant Teenagers - Unplanned Teenage Pregnancy

How Parents Can Support A Pregnant Teenager
Helping Your Pregnant Teen Make a Decision
Pregnant Teenager: A Parent's Guide to Becoming A Young Grandparent
Accidental Grandparents: How Should You React When a Teenager Becomes Pregnant 
How to Survive Your Teen's Pregnancy 

Adoption Wisdom: A Guide to the Issues and Feelings of Adoption, a book by Marlou Russell or similar books listed at Amazon.com

Birthparents: Issues of Grief, Loss and Support resources page.
Planned Parenthood - Thinking About Adoption

Ways to Support Friends Grieving Miscarriage
Helping Someone After a Miscarriage - NZ
Don't Say That! What Not to Say After a Pregnancy Loss

Giving Support After Stillbirth

Supporting a Grieving Person: Helping Others Through Grief, Loss and Bereavement
Words to Comfort Someone Grieving
How to Support Someone Who Is Grieving
A List of Many Resources for Helping Someone Who's Grieving
Parental Grief
How Can I Help When a Child Dies?
Grief Support Services in Australia

What Not to Say to Someone Dealing with Infertility

If the rapist also caused the pregnancy loss, these pages might be relevant - Survivors of Murder Victims and Surviving a Violent Death.

The Loss page here, or the pages In Memory of My Own might help you find ways to grieve together.

Try not to make any assumptions about how the person you care about will feel.  Someone who's placed their child for adoption might feel both relief and loss.  Someone who's planning termination, or undecided, or very upset at being pregnant, might feel heart-broken at the loss of their little one.  Mixed feelings are completely normal and everyone deals with loss in different and changing ways. 

You may find it hard to know what to say, but please don't say a pregnancy loss is for the best.  It might have been best if the pregnancy had never happened, but losing your little one doesn't return things to that state.  It's an additional loss, not a reversal. 

Try to remember, and remind the person you love, that the only person responsible for this turmoil and upheaval is the person who made the very, very wrong, choice to rape them. 

What about your own feelings?  How can you cope with this very difficult situation?


Photo from Cepolina

Support for You:

If you're feeling frightened or worried, that's very understandable.  You might be very worried about how the person you love will get through this trauma.  You might also be very worried about your own ability to support them.  It mightn't be your first instinctive response, but it's a good idea to think about how you can look after yourself. 

This is a difficult and potentially very traumatic experience for you too and you deserve all the support, love and care you can find.  You should never have had to deal with this, just as the person you love should never have had to.  Please don't hesitate to ask for any help you need yourself, whenever you can.  Looking after yourself and supporting them goes hand in hand. 

Here's some information which might apply to you if you're a parent whose child or teenager is pregnant:
Parenting and Child Health: Teenage Pregnancy
When Your Teen is Having a Baby 
Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

Here's some information about secondary trauma, the trauma you may experience supporting someone who's been traumatized:
Understanding Secondary Trauma
Information About Secondary Trauma
Secondary Trauma - Definition and Information
Links to Articles on Secondary Trauma

"Secondary" Victims of Sexual Assault

A lot of information about secondary trauma is focused on professionals, but if someone you love might be, is, or has been, pregnant through rape you're right on the front line, and often without much support.  For you to need extra care and support yourself is very understandable. It's a long, hard road you're walking with the person you care about.  Take whatever rest and whatever joy in life you can.  Let the people and the things you love help you keep going.  It can also be a lonely road, but you don't have to walk it all alone. 

Often the person who's been raped needs to be in control of who knows what they're going through.  If you're someone they've trusted, you might be feeling the weight of keeping what they've told you confidential.  It is possible to get advice and support anonymously.  The Crisis Links page here might help.  You might also find these helpful:
Child Sexual Abuse: A Parent's Perspective, Online Support Group
Pandora's Aquarium is a very big message board, online support group and chat room for people who've experienced sexual violence and has a Healing Together forum.
The Herodes' Cave Springboard and Live Chat Room
is a smaller message board, online support group and chat room for partners, family and friends of people who've experienced sexual violence.  This list at Herodes' Cave gives links to other online support groups for partners, family and friends.

Many people also find it helps to get counselling for themselves.  Therapists, such as counsellors, psychologists and psychiatrists, are bound by rules of confidentiality and may be a very useful outlet for you.

If you can, and it's relevant to you, take some time off work.  This is a major trauma in your life - as if someone close to you was badly injured in an accident, or killed.  It can be hard if you're not free to explain the situation fully.  But this definitely counts as a crisis, even if it is slow-moving.

The presence of a child affects all other relationships.  Depending on your relationship with the person who's pregnant, the rapist may have forced an unexpected baby into your life too.  You may share many of the feelings talked about in the Pregnancy Developing page here. If you have an intimate sexual relationship with someone who's pregnant through rape, there can be a sense of violation for you too.  It may be exacerbated if they weren't able to tell you immediately (which is common for people who're traumatized).  You might need to get tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), prepare for an unexpected child, or help your lover through grieving a pregnancy loss.  In addition to other feelings, you may feel very helpless and frustrated.  You may have had a very reasonable expectation you'd be involved in any decision your lover made to have a child.  Even if you're not in an intimate sexual relationship and didn't expect to be involved in the decision, you may have expected a lot more warning. 

Anger's a very normal reaction to not having expectations met.  Try to direct it clearly at the person who raped the one you love.  You may find the exercises about anger on the Pregnancy Developing page useful.

You may be wondering how much say you have in what happens now.  This is something you need to approach and work out very sensitively with the person you love.  Normally we freely choose whether a relationship with someone we love involves the possibility of having a child.  When pregnancy happens outside that relationship, without free choice, we face renegotiating our relationships to accommodate a new, unexpected and very traumatic situation.  Be both gentle and honest with yourself and the person you love.

I hope these pages will provide you with some useful information about different options.  Try to keep an open mind about the different possibilities (I know that's hard when this is so deeply emotional and involves moral issues).  Try to find practical solutions to add to the mix whenever you can.  Remember that how you, and the person you love, think and feel may change over time and as the pregnancy develops.  I know it sounds strange in a situation where there's a fixed time limit, but give yourself whatever space and time you can to process the complex thoughts and feelings you'll be having. 

You may also be experiencing or anticipating losses.  They can be especially hard to accept and deal with when they're the result of decisions made by someone else - either the person you love, or the person who raped them.  Be kind to yourself as you come to terms with them and grieve for them yourself.  If the person you love experiences a pregnancy loss of any kind, you may feel that loss directly.  The little one who's gone could have been your step-child, grandchild, niece or nephew - a special baby in your life.  You may have very mixed feelings about the loss.  Please be gentle with yourself and recognize that's normal.  I hope these pages might help you in the grieving process.  You may also find these pages useful:
Understanding Grief when a Grandchild Dies
Information on Grieving Sudden Unexpected Deaths
, which might be relevant here too;
Men and Miscarriage, search for "men" and "miscarriage" together for many more pages on how many men deal with pregnancy loss.
Grieving Fathers - Silent Grief Pages
Links on Grief.

The experience of losing a child conceived in violence you've accepted as your own, or as the child of someone you intimately love, is even more complex.  It's also more difficult to talk about the loss of a pregnancy which began with rape.  I'm sorry I couldn't find resources dealing with it specifically and hope the general resources here might help at least a little.  I'm also sorry I couldn't find resources on grief and abortion for partners, or others affected, in non-judgmental language.  All I can say is that anyone would find it hard to deal with situations like these.  Your feelings deserve respect and you deserve gentle and caring support.  You might find it in the online support groups listed above, from your own counsellor or therapist, or, if you're able to talk about it with them, from family and close friends.

If you know the person who committed the rape, you might be experiencing confusion or loss about your own relationship with them.  Again, be very kind to yourself.  If they're someone you know, or even someone you love, please remember that doesn't make you responsible for their choices. Remember also that if you could have foreseen their actions or prevented them you would have.  You don't deserve to bear any guilt for this.  Please, if you can, lay it down. 

You may also find yourself dealing with overwhelming rage at them for what they've done.  Please stay safe and try to make sure you have time to think carefully before (and if) you interact with them.

Remember, if you can, that this is a genuinely traumatic situation for you.  Remember too that, even if the person you care about can't express it at the moment, your love for them is very precious and it does makes a difference in their life.  Your efforts aren't wasted.  For many of us who've been hurt the people who love and support us are amazing, and too often unsung, heroes.  Knowing there are people like you in the world gives us all hope and helps restore our trust in humanity.  THANK YOU!

Photo of Polar Bears Under Water from Animal Photos

If You're a Professional Caring for Someone Who's Pregnant Through Rape:

I hope this website increases your understanding and helps you in your work.  Here are some links you might find useful:

When a Child Discloses Sexual Abuse (for teachers)
Responding to Young People Disclosing Sexual Assault: A Resource for Schools
Providers Guide to Working With Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse (information about child sexual abuse won't translate directly to all situations involving sexual assault, but most of what's said on this page seems to apply to other "survivors" too.  I couldn't find much about health care and services for those who've experienced adult sexual assault or abuse)
Sensitive Medical Practice for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse;
Caring for Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse: Issues for Family Physicians;
Information Sheets for Lactation Consultants on Assisting Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Assault
Training Program on Medical Responses to Adults Who've Experienced Sexual Assault
Issues in Pregnancy for Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse - may also be relevant to people pregnant through rape.
Study of Effect of Childhood Sexual Abuse on Gynaecological Care as an Adult

The Health Care Experiences of Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse - you need to subscribe to read this article

Vicarious Traumatization
Predictors of Secondary Trauma in Sexual Assault Trauma Counsellors
Secondary Trauma and the Management of Sex Offenders
Secondary Trauma Among Legal Professionals
Secondary Traumatization in Mental Health Care Providers
Presentation on Vicarious Trauma and Burnout, 2 November 2006
Self-Care for People Working with Trauma Victims
Vicarious Trauma: the Impact of Working in the Helping Professions

Your local professional associations may be able to help you access training programs or resources designed to help prevent and manage secondary trauma and burnout.

Feelings and Thoughts:

Questions I asked:

1.  When you found out the person you care about was pregnant through rape, how did you feel?
2.  If they lost their little one, how did you feel?


A friend:

It broke my heart that she had so much to deal with. Although I was only 19 I felt responsible for her and wanted to protect her and keep her safe.  I hope I reacted supportively and empatheticaly with out being harsh or taking away her choices or rights.  I think the fact I'm a survivor helped me to understand a little of what she was going through with regards to flashbacks and stuff so I could attempt to help her. Her courage helped the most though, throughout the whole thing she showed so much courage even when she was terrified she didn't give up. It was easy to support her and be strong when she was being so brave.  We didn't really have any resources available to be honest. It would have been helpful to have information with her rights on, like I didn't know if I could ask for her to have a female doctor and she was too scared to. I didn't know how she would react during the birth so I was constantly second guessing how she must be feeling and how she would react.  There isn't really many resources for after the birth either. She had severe post natal depression and struggled to bond with the baby. She was terrified in case she looked at [her daughter] and saw her attacker. They lived with me for about a year after she was born because she couldn't cope on her own. It was like the blind leading the blind when she first came home.  The baby is 3.5 now and she is the most adorable thing ever (yep I'm biased!)  My friend says she would not change anything that happened if it meant she had to change even one hair on [her daughter's] head!

A sister (main abuser was member of extended family):

It was and is absolutely devastating. Most of my feelings about it are pretty heavily bottled up and it's scary to let them out (because I'm afraid of not being able to also cope with being responsible for [her young son], work, self etc).  It is definitely a big part of my secondary PTSD - flashing images etc.  In a supported environment with my psychologist I will eventually be able to produce something you can use, I think [i.e. some words for this website].  But it might take a while .... You can also say that it affects me very physically.  I feel like it's dangerous/inconvenient/irresponsible to let it out, but it's intrusive in that the feelings suck the power out of my muscles and make me feel as though I've just run a marathon or I've got the flu or something.  A couple of times I've gone into full-on physical shock (collapse, paralysis, then vomiting) on first hearing [details].

A father:

I was shocked, surprised, angry, beyond words, that she had been treated that way and that she had had such a loss.

A fiance:

We had a number of weeks before we knew if she was pregnant or not. A few factors involved in our decision making and also how we felt about the situation, or how I felt at least:

1.  One because the b**tard that raped her didn’t use a condom.
2.  He did ejaculate inside her, saying to her that he wanted her to carry his devil child whilst he ejaculated. It makes me so sick to think of it.
3. She was given and did take the morning after pill but as you all know was very sick over the next few days after her rape and so we didn’t know if this could be effective. She took it twice and they even gave her anti sickness tablets so she could try to keep it down. She bought it up both doses and the doctors were worried about her.
4.  They worked out her fertile dates or whatever it is and she was at the most “dangerous” period for conception”. Day 12 of her cycle. All this worry made us feel absolutely awful. They couldn’t test her for three weeks as even the most accurate test they could have could not pick up changes in her hormones any earlier.

We went through 3 weeks of agonising, and to be honest it made the aftermath of the rape ten times worse for us both. As well as dealing with physical cuts and bruises and pain, we had in the back of our minds that she could be pregnant, and nothing could be done about it because she couldn’t keep anything down and you only have a 72 hour period to use the emergency contraception.

I was petrified that she would be told she was pregnant. I felt sick to my stomach and I often was physically sick thinking about it. The day we went to find out was heart wrenching, absolutely sickening and just torture. I had to literally drag her to the car, stop about ten times along the way and talk to her, calm her, when all I could think of was how disgusting this situation was, how sick I felt and really all I wanted to do as well was cry, scream and shout and kick out and fight against doing it. But I had to be strong for her, I had to tell I’d be there no matter what.

At the sexual health place, we had to wait an hour before we were called and she, well I have told this story before so you may know, but I had to practically carry her in because she was so scared. She cried the whole way in to the building and she cried, she sat in the chair when her name was called and cried, frozen to the spot, I got down to her level and just said I was there no matter what we were told.

I lied to her, I didn’t know myself really how I would feel. I felt guilt for feeling disgusted, I found myself watching her tummy some days and just staring at her tummy feeling disgust and anger. I didn’t want the first time she was pregnant, to feel pregnant, feel a baby inside of her to be through violence and forced at that. I felt jealously because I would have wanted it to be me that got her pregnant. I wanted it to be us that were happy to be first time parents. I felt guilty for thinking if she was then I really would want her to have an abortion.

I felt disgusted by myself that if she was pregnant and she decided that she might have kept it I was doubting my ability to stand by her. I thought it would be way too much for me to deal with on top of the rest. All these thoughts make me feel disgusted with myself and although I realised that it was a big IF, it was the scariest of my thoughts at the time! The fact that the thoughts of leaving her even would/could slip into my mind made me feel so sick at myself. But to see/even think about her giving birth to a baby by the man who raped her was too much for me.

We would only ever know the real result once we had walked through the door, but I found that both of us were scared. I think she knew deep down that we couldn’t have kept it if she was. I prayed she wouldn’t have put me through it, and that was totally selfish of me. Looking back, knowing now what I do, that she wasn’t pregnant, I feel totally ashamed of myself to be saying this now. But it’s the truth.

Its just a brief overview of some of the emotion we experienced at the time. Total hell is all I can say. Luckily for us both she was not pregnant, we didn’t have to deal with the rest of it. I just don’t even want to think about how we could have possibly got through that as well as the things we have/are going through right now.

Still we were lucky, and I am sure there are many out there who weren’t so lucky. For us I am just so overwhelmed we weren’t in that position given the circumstances of her rape ( e.g. being so close to the most fertile day in her cycle, the fact he ejaculated inside of her, the fact she couldn’t keep her tablets down enough to work). It was a hellish 3 weeks, and to be honest, I was just so relieved. It’s the only way I can describe it. Pure and utter relief. She and I both know what we felt, and I sure we were on the same page, we did discuss it a few times but its gone off the radar now, and I am sure it will resurface one day. For now, it's not something we worry about.

My then-boyfriend-now-husband:

[Slightly paraphrased from our lunch-time conversation]

Because of how it happened the first time [I was flashbacking and re-enacting and recovering the memory], it was more about filling in the pieces of a puzzle to understand what was going on.  I wasn't very surprised.  It was something I'd suspected might have happened since I knew he'd raped you.  I was very, very sorry for you.  I was shocked and I did feel sick when I heard the details.  It was very graphic and full on.  You were holding what you thought were the pieces of your baby ... holding them to your heart.  Mostly, I was just so heartbroken for you.  It was heart-breaking to see a mother grieving for her child like that.  It was heart-breaking to see you in that position.  It was as tragic as anything could be really.  The saddest thing I've ever seen.  [I asked if he'd felt angry]I was so past-angry by then about all they'd done to you.  I couldn't get more angry that I already was.  I was so past upset too.  I was just focused so much on looking after you then, more than being angry, or upset, just responding to you.  [I said I remembered that he'd said he felt cheated].  Yes.  You kept on saying it too - that it should have been me, that you'd never wanted it to be anyone else but me.  That made me feel really bad, actually.  I felt like I was being put in the position of a rapist.  I knew that wasn't what you meant, but it was hard for me not to see it that way.  What you kept saying over and over rubbed it in that it wasn't me.  I felt cheated out of that reality you'd wanted too.  We could never have it now.  I was frustrated, I guess, that I couldn't make it possible.  I was kind of beyond frustrated too.  If I'd been able to stop any of it I would have.  I could never stop it.  It was in the past.  It just felt like another big grenade in the trench.  It was tiring, draining, another part of the endurance test.  But mostly it was, and is, heart-breaking.  It would have been much worse if we were together when he actually raped you, or already married.

A mother:

My daughter was once pregnant - by my son, or so she believes. She shared this with me after I found out about the abuse. She said that she had not menustrated for about 3 months and was worried that she was pregnant. She told her brother. He made her lie on the floor while he repeatedly kicked her in the abdomen, he put his finger inside of her several times, and only quit kicking her when she started to bleed. I am sorry for the detail. I know it is ugly and horrible. I did not know any of this at the time, but will answer the questions relating to when I heard of it. I wanted to answer your questions here -
1.  I felt so much pain for my daughter.
An additional question I asked: How did you act?

I was sympathetic and supportive (I hope).
2.  If they lost their little one, how did you feel?
Pain, anger, sadness, fury, - just horrible.
Again, I asked: How did you act?
I hope I was supportive and caring

The same mother, with more detail:

Hearing about the abuse was horrible. I felt sadness, anger - just unbelievable amounts of emotions. As my daughter has chosen to share details of the abuse with me, specific incidents, they were all so difficult to hear. I keep in my mind that the knowledge of them is not anywhere near the level of trauma that my daughter has for having experienced them. When she told me about the pregnancy - it was especially difficult to hear. You know, her abuser was my son, M. And the level of heinousness in this incident is just - well, there just aren't strong enough words for it. But it shows such a level of hatred, and the desire of my son to hurt my daughter. They say that rape isn't about the sex, but the power. I didn't know my son, M. I didn't know that a predator was living in my house.

I don't know if it would be easier, somehow, on my daughter if her abuser had been a stranger. I think, for me, that it is harder for me because it was my son who was her abuser. It was my son who did all of these horrible things. It was my son who chose to become a violent sexual predator.

Hearing about these incidents so long after they happened, well - as her mom I want so much to protect her. But it has long ago happened. I grieve with, and for, my daughter.
What helps me? Being on Herodes [Herodes' Cave] has been the biggest help for me. It is so valuable to be able to communicate with other people who understand. If I share this information with a friend or loved one - well, I feel like it is just too horrible for them to discuss with me. So, a lot of times it is just not brought up again. It is so important to hear "I understand", "you will get through this" and a genuine "I am sorry this happened". It helps so much to be able to talk, to be truly heard and to be able to comfort and support others.

How do I go on? Because I have to. My life has been hard, M. I try to take a little wisdom from each experience, good or bad. I live each day, trying to build a new life out of the ashes. You see, what my son did - it was like a nuclear bomb went off in my house - totally destroying it. There is nary a trace of what once was. My daughters and I are the survivors. I try to lead by example that we are not a reflection of what was done to us, we are a reflection of what we choose to be.

I will not have a relationship with my son. I don't expect to ever see him or hear from him again. And my life plans have changed. It is hard for anything tangible to be important anymore. I bought one of those wooden cutout signs that says Simplify. That is what I meditate on.
I plan on selling my store, real estate and other 'stuff' in a couple of years (when my younger daughter, L, is grown). I am going to buy a big RV and just travel around, work when I need to (which will be often!). There is no where I want to be. I tell people it is because I don't want the girls to falter and come back home (jokingly), but the truth is - deep in my mind, my heart - I don't want to be anywhere that my son could ever find me. I won't sit in this town, looking out these windows, and wonder about him walking up. I won't have a house here where my daughter's have to revisit the town in which all of this happened. Is that weak? Am I running? I don't think so. But - I don't have to have my nose in it, so to speak. Life is for living. And we are all responsible for living our lives. I will not be defined by all of this. And I won't teach my daughters that it is their definition, either.
I am rambling.
Much love to you, dear M.