Pregnancy should be a wonderful time of planning, dreaming, and bonding between a pregnant woman and her partner. This is not the experience of a woman who is being abused by that partner.
Studies show that 25% of women will be abused for the first time when they are pregnant.* WHY? When you understand the thinking of an abuser, this makes sense.
Abusers are generally:
- Angry &
When he finds out you are pregnant, he may be called upon to be:
- Patient &
all the things he is not, and never wants to be. He doesn’t want to:
- Give up his needs for yours and the baby,
- Share your attentions,
- Curb his anger, and
- Give you space to become a loving person for someone besides him.
Being in an abusive relationship during pregnancy has been associated with additional risks to the mother which include*:
- Increased mental problems,
- Anxiety and stress,
- Suicide attempts,
- Substance abuse, (potentially causing Fetal alcohol syndrome),
- Delayed or missing prenatal care and doctor’s appointments,
- Worsening of chronic illness,
- Chronic pain, and
- Gynecological problems.
Physical battering during pregnancy has been associated with:*
- Preterm birth,
- Fetal injury (including bruising, broken and fractured bones and stab wounds),
- Low birth weight.
If you are a pregnant abuse victim, you may struggle with leaving your abuser, just as non-pregnant victims do, only, you may have an even harder time. You are about to have the added emotional, physical and financial burden of a newborn to consider. In addition, having a baby may hinder your ability to leave quickly.
What can you do? Are there any resources for you?
The first and best resource for any Christian is always to turn to the Lord in prayer. Here are two verses to comfort you:
The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?
And Joshua 1:9:
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” [says the Lord]
This doesn’t mean you should sit back and do nothing to help yourself. Do whatever you can. Even Jesus escaped evil people when they tried to hurl him from a cliff in Luke 4:28-30.
If you are pregnant, you can look for the same help other victims can. Click here for my Get Help page.
The National Coalition of Domestic Violence (NCADV), in partnership with Theresa’s fund will soon come out with a new database in the United States listing all the emergency shelters in the country. This database will make it easier for victims to find a shelter to escape to. I will be writing about this database in an upcoming blog. To find this database, go to www.domesticshelters.org.
I searched all over the internet, and found very few resources specifically for pregnant victims. One good one I found was called:
“Birth Doulas and Shelter Advocates: Creating Partnerships and Building Capacity**,” which is about shelters partnering with birth doulas to help abuse victims give birth. Click here for the link.
Lord, I pray you will be with any pregnant woman who is in a domestic violence relationship. We know women and children are especially precious to You Lord. We ask for your supernatural protection over them. Give them your strength, courage and peace. We love you Lord. Amen.
* Statistics taken from Wikipedia on August 8, 2014. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domestic_violence_and_pregnancy
** “Birth Doulas and Shelter Advocates: Creating Partnerships and Building Capacity” found on August 8, 2014 at http://www.vawnet.org/Assoc_Files_VAWnet/FINAL-April2014-DV-DOULAS.pdf