In my first pregnancy, I dreamed of feet
Content Warning: Rape, PTSD, Pregnancy, and alcoholism.
This piece explores my experiences with Rape, PTSD, and Pregnancy. At the end of the piece there are resources to guide the readers to various services that they may find helpful.
In my first pregnancy
I dreamed of feet.
Those soft pudgy appendages that I would hold in my hand
And take endless photos of
The sole of a foot against my thumb
In this pregnancy, I dream that you, baby, will have my rapists eye colour
Even though the two events are years apart.
I dream that you will come out with his hair.
I wake up in the night and pray to the god that I don’t believe in.
I lay here feeling you move as the lingering thoughts of him wrap themselves around my throat
And make it hard to breathe.
And I weep for your father,
The man who holds me in his arms and consoles me.
Telling me it’s impossible.
Even as the PTSD takes hold of him too, when he’s at his station at work,
With his endless thoughts.
I feel robbed
Of my dreams of feet.
Only my partner has known the un-ending violent trauma that visits in panic attack induced bouts of insomnia. Like the one that is happening to me right now.
And I hated him for not hating me.
Until I couldn’t carry on anymore. I was exhausted.
And then I got pregnant again.I was terrified.I was sick and terrified.
This fear never left me until the moment she was born.
A lot of my friends joke about their children looking like their partners after we’ve done all of the ‘hard work’, but I was so relieved that she does!
I find happiness in different things.I found some peace to continue to slowly work on myself.And now I have hundreds of pictures of feet.
And reading this back I criticise these words thinking they’re not well written, they’re a word dump.
But really I’m criticising myself again.
So here they are, word dump and all.
If this post has affected you in any way, or if you have any questions please always feel that you can talk to me. My twitter is @lauraanne141
Resources for anyone who may need them
Sexual violence is a crime, no matter who commits it or where it happens. Don’t be afraid to get help.
SARCs are specialist medical and forensic services for anyone who has been raped or sexually assaulted. They aim to be one-stop service, providing the following under one roof: medical care and forensic examination following assault/rape and, in some locations, sexual health services. Medical Services are free of charge and provided to women, men, young people and children.
Helpline: 0808 802 9999 (12-2:30 and 7-9:30)
National organisation offering support and counselling for those affected by rape and sexual abuse.
See website for local groups or contact directory enquiries.
Supportline: 0333 300 6389
Our services are confidential, free and available to anyone who’s been raped or sexually assaulted, now or in the past. We can help, regardless of whether you have told the police or anyone else about the attack. Our volunteers can visit you at home (if you want us to, and if doing so will not put you at further risk) or somewhere else if you prefer. If you don’t want to see anyone face-to-face, you can also talk to us on the phone, either at one of our local offices or at the national Victim Supportline.
Women Against Rape
This is the joint website of Women Against Rape and Black Women’s Rape Action Project. Both organisations are based on self-help and provide support, legal information and advocacy. We campaign for justice and protection for all women and girls, including asylum seekers, who have suffered sexual, domestic and/or racist violence.
The Survivors Trust
Helpline: 0808 801 0818
Rape and sexual abuse can happen to anyone regardless of their age, gender, race, religion, culture or social status. Living with the consequences of rape and sexual abuse can be devastating. We believe that all survivors are entitled to receive the best possible response to their needs whether or not they choose to report.
Women’s Aid Federation
National Domestic Violence Helpline (24hrs): 0808 2000 247
Women’s Aid is the national domestic violence charity that helps up to 250,000 women and children every year. We work to end violence against women and children, and support over 500 domestic and sexual violence services across the country.
Survivors UK – Male Rape and Sexual Abuse Support
If you have been subjected to male rape or sexual abuse, one of your biggest challenges will be taking the decision to talk to someone. At Survivors UK we know this can seem an enormous and daunting step. Anxiety and fear are among the most common emotions experienced by the abused. But these feelings do become easier and people can, and do, successfully go on to explore their past and its links with today in making sense of recurring problems. We offer emotional support by our Chat Service and SMS and we’ll do our best to point you in the right direction.
Helpline: 0808 802 9999 (12-2.30 & 7-9.30)
National Organisation offering support and counselling for those affected by rape and sexual abuse.
Many Rape Crisis Centres provide support services for men and boys who have experienced sexual violence, as a child and/or as an adult. Rape Crisis Centres that do not provide services for men or boys will be able to give you information about relevant support organisations. See website for local groups or contact directory enquiries.
Rape, Sexual Abuse & Personal Safety Abroad
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
Rape and sexual assault can happen to women and men of all ages and backgrounds. While most visits abroad are trouble-free, we are becoming more aware of people being sexually assaulted whilst they are overseas. Sexual assault is a very traumatic experience whenever and wherever it happens, but the trauma can be made even more difficult to deal with when it happens abroad. We will be as helpful as we can to anyone who tells us they have had sex against their wishes or been attacked by someone wanting sex.
Rape Crisis Network Europe
RCNE is the network of European rape crisis centres. We aim to make sure that anyone who experiences sexual violence can get the help they need. We are active in influencing policy, standards and legislation through European governments and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
All member centres share a ‘survivor-centred’ and anti-discriminatory approach.
Personal Safety Advice Abroad
When travelling abroad, most people are keen to relax and unwind. Travellers, tourists and foreign businessmen and women can be prime targets for criminals, however. In order to minimise stress on your holiday or trip, take time to plan your personal safety strategy in advance. From keeping your valuables safe to avoiding violence, a little forethought may save you from becoming a victim of crime.