Trauma & Recovery: Miscarriage, Rape & Domestic Violence (Content Note)
This is my post about losing my baby at 8 weeks. My life had been overshadowed by violence from my now ex-husband from the age of 18. I need to say goodbye to my lost child. This post could be triggering for those who have lived through domestic violence, rape or miscarriage.
Twelve years ago I left my abusive husband. For 10 years I had survived his explosive temper, countless punches, kicks and strangulations. I survived through the rape that followed beatings. The violence turned him on.
After attempts to leave him in the past had failed, things came to a head that April. I was pregnant. Around 8 weeks. That time where morning sickness starts, and you start to feel pregnant.
He had again spent the evening drinking, getting more and more angry about an affair with a colleague that I WASN'T having. He was convinced that the baby wasn't his, that I was having sex with a work colleague. By 11pm he was primed and ready to explode. And explode he did.
He pushed me up against the wall, hand around my throat, eyes flashing with violence. Then he pulled his other arm back and threw a punch into my stomach. I creased, but couldn't crumple as he was holding me up. He let go of my throat and my legs folded under me.
I tried to curl up into a ball, could feel his feet pounding on my back, hear his breath exhaling with each kick. Then it stopped. It seems like hours passed, although in reality it could only have been seconds. I slowly uncurled myself. Opened my eyes. Turned to see where he was. Then he struck again.
This time the blows from his feet hit my abdomen. I tried to curl up again but couldn't. I could hear him swearing at me as he kicked, "fucking bitch....you whore...shagging another bloke...you slut!" I was struggling to breath as each kick knocked the breath clean out of me.
Finally the beating was over. My body was aching. But the horror wasn't over, as he reached for his belt buckle. I knew what was coming. Being raped after a beating had become common place. All I could do was try and spirit my mind to somewhere else.
The sex was always rough after being beaten. Totally different from our normal sex life. It sounds strange but when he wasn't beating me up I loved my husband. We had a "normal" life and that included a normal sex life. But this was different. It was as if he was possessed by someone else. I survived this by dissociating - taking myself mentally somewhere else so I didn't have to face what was happening.
When he was finished he simply got up off me, belted himself up and walked into the kitchen for another can of beer. I got up and limped my way into the bathroom. I was bleeding but that wasn't uncommon after an assault like this. I cleaned myself up, and went to bed.
Around two hours later I woke up. I was having period like pains. As I sat in the bathroom I felt sick as I was getting pains in my back, just like bad period pains. I realised I was still bleeding. Not very heavy but the blood frightened me. I tried to convince myself that it was just from the rough sex, and went back to bed, hugging myself and trying to tell myself I wasn't miscarrying.
The night dragged on, as the pains kept me awake and I was up and down every hour, still bleeding slightly. By 6am I was exhausted, aching all over from the beating and feeling awful. I took the umpteenth trip to the bathroom that night. With this trip though I realised that the bleeding had got heavier.
I told my ex-husband that I thought I was miscarrying. He was just quiet. He offered no words of sympathy. He just got on with his day like nothing was happening.
Throughout the Saturday I spent most of the day in the bathroom. I could feel mild contractions, and passed what looked like blood clots. I knew then that the pregnancy was over.
The following days were like a blur. I had to go back to work on the Monday and just act like nothing had happened. We hadn't told people that I was expecting again, so I didn't know how, or who to tell that I had lost a baby.
After a week had passed I thought I had better go to the doctor and just make sure I was ok. I was referred immediately to the local hospital for a scan to check that the miscarriage was complete. They did a normal ultrasound scan but said they couldn't be sure everything had been passed and so I had to have an internal scan. I lay on the bed, with a midwife holding my hand while tears ran down my face.
The midwife with me was a friend of my mam's. My mam was a midwife for over 30 years. When I had been getting changed into a gown she had seen the bruises on my abdomen and back. Some of them looked like the shoe prints from the trainers he had been wearing. After the scan which confirmed that the miscarriage was complete, she took me into a room by myself.
"He'll kill you, you know? One day the beating will be so bad that he'll kill you!" she calmly said, clasping my hand. I couldn't say anything. I didn't know what to say. For the first time someone knew, someone believed me. She walked out the room and told my mam the extent of the bruising on my body.
"I'll help you get out" my mam said. I had to go back to that flat where so much torturs had occurred to sort out logistics. Two weeks later, with my mam by my side, I sat my ex-husband down and told him I was leaving. I realised that I couldn't stay. It would have been a death sentence if I did.
He couldn't believe I was going. He sat with his head in his hands and cried. I left that flat, with my two young daughters, some clothes and nothing else. I knew I had to start again.
Which brings us to today. Twelve years on there is a baby who died. A baby who was loved by me from the minute of conception. A baby who has never been grieved for. Now is time to say goodbye to that baby. I'm planning to say goodbye by writing my baby a letter to explain how sorry I am that I couldn't protect it, and how much it meant to me, then I'm going to tie that message to a balloon and let it float away. I need closure. I need that goodbye.
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