A few months ago I found out that I am pregnant with my second child by my new partner, (We have been together for over 3 years now). Both of us are full of excitement already discussing baby names and looking at pushchairs. It struck me how different this experience is compared to my last pregnancy while I was still with my ex. For a start no one was screaming they would hit me or being unreasonably moody. Aside from that how easy it was with my new partner. No expectation for me to get up at 5am and drive him to work, no control over money or what I could spend on things I wanted, no forcing me to make work decision’s of my own, having the space to decide what I needed in every aspect, support with all that is needed, nothing is a big deal to him, he is always generous and makes things easier rather more difficult.
I look back now and want to scream at myself at how I bent over backwards for someone who was so intent on making life so difficult. Even before things got really bad I realise now that the control and abuse of my time and energy was there long before the more prominent and obvious abuse started. Why did I ever get up pregnant at 4/5am to chauffeur him to work, he could have learn to drive and taken himself or found another way. Why did accept his meanness, tightness and control of money never wanting to go out and shop for our expecting baby?
I realise that for long before I had accepted that maybe this was just who he was and that I could have it worse, no one is perfect. I now realise how short I sold myself. And it most definitely did get worse.
We so often miss red flags and pass them off as little things in life that we just endure. This is because especially as women we have been told for centuries to endure so we have learnt to so well. This is one thing I hope to change for my daughter’s perspective and hope I can instil in her so much self-worth that she will never endure a single thing from another person or situation. During my first pregnancy when the abuse became more obvious when threats of violence really started, when he threatened to throw me out, money was controlled for along time this was when I believed the abuse started but now I know it was long before. The slow drip of control and the environment was set in the years leading up to that. Me being pregnant provided a major shift in power and control that gave him the upper hand.
Pregnancy is a vulnerable time for women for most you become financially dependent on the father, you go through all sorts of changes in your body or emotionally. It’s a time where domestic abuse can be a trigger, it has negative consequences for the woman and her child. Sixty per cent of survivors using domestic abuse services are mothers and 1 in 15 are pregnant.