Women’s Stories of Birthing, Mothering and Healing after Sexual Abuse
Survivor moms speak out…
…about life before motherhood
"It's tough running the marathon with a hole in your heart."
—from Lena's story
"From infancy to my early teenage years I was sexually abused by a man. Namely, my father. I can remember being terrified by any male, very early on, because I knew what they were capable of doing to me… I tried to tell one of my teachers what was going on at home and she told me to quit making up stories."
—from Kay's story
"As my body grew and changed, prodded by relentless hormonal surges, I felt like I was being attacked over and over again. Dormant feelings and memories from my abuse not only surfaced, but grabbed me around the neck and threatened to suffocate me…"
—from Elaine's story
…about labor and birth
"When my water broke and the contractions began the pain in my womb felt to me like the pain of forced penetration. It felt like rape. I panicked. I was conscious enough to tell the midwife I was having rape flashbacks, but she was young and inexperienced and could not really offer any help…."
—from Katherine's story
"I felt bursting with pride at this incredible thing I'd done, and yet all I could feel when I looked at that perfect little one was grief, grief, grief. I could not understand it. The emotions were so intense that I could not sort them out or make them calm down. I thought the tears would simply never leave me. "
—from Claire's story
"I think about it every day. I think about it every time I meet a nice man and can't let myself trust him. I think about it every time I'm afraid to think about having children because someone like you might molest them. I think about it every time when I wish I'd gone away to college instead of commuting from home so I could protect my younger sisters from you. I think about it every time I can't let myself relax and enjoy life…"
—from Kristy's story
"I've spent a lot of time trying not to blame myself and not to be ashamed of what happened. I do think that talking to others about it and admitting that it happened has helped a lot. Somehow, just letting it out and telling others what happened takes away some of the power it has over me."
—from Melanie's story
…about healing and surviving
"I know that I have progressed in healing from my experiences; but do not believe that I am healed. There is a residue in every part of my being that I continue to scrub at. At first when I started to deal with the pain of my experience I would often find myself curled up in a ball, heaving with sobs, or else beating my pillow uncontrollably almost every other day. Now I can go a year, sometimes longer, between these episodes."
—from Jennifer's story
"It helps me to see my abuse as a building block that created the strong woman I am today."
—from Amy's story