Since I’ve begun publicly sharing my testimony of having a child conceived in a brutal rape, I’ve been blessed with amazing opportunities to speak love and truth into lives that have been ravaged by hate and deception.
In interactions on my page, Q & A sessions after speeches and interviews from Fargo to Finland, I am almost always asked: “What would you like to say to any woman listening who finds herself in your position- pregnant from rape?”
I used to freeze at that question. Who cares what I would like to say? Should I say anything at all? Shouldn’t they be asking a psychiatrist? (Or ANYONE other than a community college dropout??) What did I want to hear when it was me staring at that positive pregnancy test…
I’m sorry? Congratulations?
There were no words.
I reflected. I prayed.
And words came.
To her- the woman who has been raped and finds herself pregnant, I’m sorry for what you’ve been through. What you’re going through.
What you might be thinking or feeling … or not feeling or thinking you should feel … I know all of that.
You’re part of an exclusive sisterhood now. It’s like a club that nobody ever wants to join but once you belong – you can’t imagine ever being on the outside again.
I’ve been a member for 6 years.
What I’ve learned is that this – life after rape – is a new kind of journey. Along the way, when you allow God to direct your steps, there is more sunshine than rain, more hope than pain, and the sweet soothes the bite of the bitter.
Everyone is going to give you a lot of advice. Right now, you need to focus on taking care of you.
Both of you.
Physically. Emotionally. Spiritually. Take a breath.
It will be okay.
I understand the natural reaction of outsiders is pity. Sometimes anger … often disgust. But this is you. This is your body carrying your baby. YOUR baby.
And your baby needs you.
Something evil happened to you. It just did. It wasn’t fair or right and it wasn’t your fault. Who you become now is up to you. You were horribly violated and while you couldn’t protect yourself – you can protect your baby.
When you speak with your loved ones, emphasize the future over the recent past. Over the present. Keep bringing them back to the innocence of the child. The desire that no more lives be damaged by the original act of violence. The baby shouldn’t be tainted with the crimson stain of a parent’s sin.
You may feel as so many of us did. We were suffering … but the news of something wonderful has lightened a grief that was becoming too heavy to bear.
For me, there was something so safe about not being alone anymore.
While many women speak of this near immediate flood of peace, others feel a tidal wave of angst that threatens to pull them under completely.
You might be struggling. You might think you can’t love the child of a monster. What if he/she looks like the man who assaulted you? Will they grow up to have violent tendencies? Do you owe it to society to not allow destructive DNA to replicate? This is understandable.
What I can say to those concerns – you can.
Rape is not encoded in our DNA. This child was made in the image and likeness of their Creator and entrusted to you. That’s what matters now.
I’ve spoken with hundreds of mothers from rape. I’ve met the same number of women who aborted after rape. I’ve never met a woman who regrets being in the first category. The second … is a very different story.
There may be people in your life who are not be supportive. Who tell you that you won’t ever be able to forget what happened if you choose life for your baby. That’s true. You also won’t ever be able to forget what happened if you don’t choose life for your baby.
There is no forgetting, but there is moving forward. Sometimes ugly beginnings bring about beautiful endings.
Remember that there are others. This sisterhood? It’s made up of hundreds and hundreds of us who have conceived under nightmarish circumstances. Sex trafficking, incest, gang rape…
Everyone has a different story. Everyone has different beliefs. Opinions. What I see as the common denominator time and time again is simple: The light of a child after the darkness of trauma is a large first stepping stone on our path to healing. To wholeness. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you’re wrong for loving your baby. It’s what we’re supposed to do.
And for that matter, I guess that’s what I needed to hear.
I am sorry for your pain.
And I celebrate the new life within you.
It’s okay to laugh. It’s okay to weep.
Life won’t be as smooth as it once was, but you are strong enough to live it.
As your love blankets your baby, it slowly smothers the suffering. It drowns out even the angriest voices.
He is near the brokenhearted.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. In your weakness, He is strong.
And His promises? Hold the universe in place.