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Domestic Violence During Pregnancy

**Trigger Warning**

Domestic violence happens during all stages of relationships. It doesn't discriminate prenancy and fetuses. Women who experience domestic violence during pregnancy are three times more likely to report depression during and after pregnancy. This also can cause negative psychological and physical effects to the pregnant mother and fetus. Three to six percent of women in the U.S. experience domestic violence during pregnancy and kills more pregnant women every year than any other cause.

In my abusive relationship the abuse spilled over through my pregnancy. I really didn't think that it would be possible for that to happen, but it did. I couldn't believe that he would hurt the mother of his child, while bearing his child. The "lowest" form of abuse I received while being pregnant was being constantly told that I wasn't allowed to buy anything for her. I used to go to the PX on base or Walmart in town and just look through the baby section hoping and wishing to buy something. It was financial and emotional abuse. I used get so sad to think we had nothing to receive her in or to bring her home to. Next was the verbal and psychological abuse which felt more hurtful. I was told that I was fat and disgusting. I was accused that the baby wasn't his and I probably got pregnant to trap him. I was insulted and degraded while carrying his child and I just took it as much as I could. He never failed to amaze me, when he started physically abusing me while pregnant, I realized nothing would ever change. I was slapped, pushed, choked, and body slammed belly down.

I did try to escape, and I managed once. I methodically and logistically made it out the night of the body slam. It was one of the scariest nights of my life, but like many of us I went back thinking I taught him a lesson. But man was I wrong. The abuse continued and the fear grew. It was difficult to look forward to bringing life into my world. I was excited for my baby, I loved her so much. But I was scared. Her coming into this world did not change his behavior or our environment. On the other hand, I think it made it worse. I think he felt he had the upper hand on me. He knew how much I loved her and now he had something to use against me.

Do not think that if you commit more to an abusive partner things

will change. They won't. Do not think that moving in will change someone. Do not think that getting married will make someone less abusive, do not think that getting pregnant will change that behavior either. It will not, do not sacrifice yourself for someone that doesn't respect you or themselves. Many times, the hardest thing to do is to be honest with ourselves. Sometimes the best thing we can do is let go of those we think we love the most, because the only person we should love unconditionally is ourselves.

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