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14 - Raped And Pregnant

Published: May 17, 2010
Dear TeenHealthFX,
im 14. i was raped and im pregnant from being raped. (no one knows yet tho) wierd thing is.. now im obsessed with the baby. i have names picked out (Tobias Miguel for a boy or Sara Angel for a girl) and i dream about the baby i dream about playing with it, washing, caring, feeding, even changing the diapers. then i have these wierd nightmares where im with the baby and the man who raped me takes it away and rapes me again. i feel like im wierd for wanting the baby so much and the odd dreams make me feel like I'm abnormal.. so any advice?? also the man who raped me is an adult and im so scared that he'll want the baby and take it away from me and get custody of it and ill never see my baby again. i don't really kno how that works and i'm not 100% sure what custody even is. but would he be able to take the baby away from me???
Signed: 14 - Raped And Pregnant

Dear 14 - Raped And Pregnant,

 

TeenHealthFX wants to start by saying that we are truly sorry that you had to experience such a terrible thing as rape, and that you are also dealing with a situation of carrying your rapist’s baby as well. These are extremely difficult and traumatic situations you have been dealing with. While you may be feeling “weird” and “abnormal” because of certain recent thoughts, feelings, and dreams, know that the reactions you are having are completely normal given what you have gone through. FX can appreciate you’ve become preoccupied in this way with becoming a mother – this fantasy of motherhood and caring for this baby helps distract you from the negative thoughts and feelings associated with having been raped. This fantasy of motherhood can also give you a sense of control over what happened to you – a sense of repairing the horrible interaction between you and this man by having a nurturing bond and loving interactions with your baby. These thoughts and feelings are there as a way to protect yourself from the negative thoughts and feelings (which seem to be coming out in your nightmares) you have about what happened to you.

FX thinks that it is very important for you to tell your parents (or another trusted adult who could help you talk to your parents about this, such as a school counselor) right away for the following reasons:

·         The police need to be informed about this rape that occurred. This man committed a horrible crime, and he needs to face the consequences of that crime. The police need to get the details of what happened so that he can be charged with rape of a minor.

·         You need to discuss with your parents, a counselor, your doctor and whomever else, to decide what you want to do about this pregnancy. There is a lot to consider when it comes to having a baby at 14. For a list of questions to consider when thinking about becoming a parent, read My Boyfriend Wants A Baby, But I’m Not Ready. For a breakdown of the financial aspects of raising a child, read The Cost Of Raising A Baby. These answers will give you some things to think about in terms of deciding whether or not you want to keep the baby or have an abortion. There are also things to consider when pregnant due to a rape, such as how will you feel about this child in the long run? Will this baby always be a reminder to you of being raped? Could the rapist have any emotional health or physical problems that may be passed down to this child? Will the rapist or his family fight for visitation rights at any point and how will you feel about that? There is lot to consider between your age and having conceived because of being raped that you need to discuss with trusted adults.

·         Whether you want to keep the baby or have an abortion, you need to notify the adults around you of your pregnancy right away. If you want to keep the baby, it is very important that you begin the proper prenatal care as soon as possible. If you want to abort the baby, it is best to do it in your first trimester (by the 12th week of your pregnancy), so you don’t want to wait too long in making that decision. Some states will perform abortions up to 20 or 24 weeks – but this differs from state to state.

·         It is also very important for you to get mental health counseling for what you have gone through. The nightmares you are having indicate that you have a lot of strong negative emotion about what happened to you (which is very understandable given the trauma of being raped). And it is important that you have a safe place with a trained mental health professional where you can process and work through these feelings.

As for your concern about the man who raped you seeking custody of the child, FX cannot imagine that a judge would award residential custody (meaning the child would be living with him the majority of time) given the crime he committed. In addition, if he was prosecuted and sent to jail, he wouldn’t be a position to even fight for custody anyways. However, there is some possibility that he (or his parents – the baby’s grandparents) would petition for visitation rights once he has served his time in jail. These visits could entail supervised visits by legal or mental health professionals, or he could be awarded visits alone with the baby. You should ask the Victim-Witness manager with the Prosecutor’s office to assist you with this issue before the Court so this matter can be reviewed as part of the criminal case. Given all of these possible complications it is all the more reason for you to talk to your parents and a doctor right away about how you want to handle this pregnancy and prosecution of this person – you need support and guidance from trusted adults so you make healthy choices here.

For more information on custody and visitation issues, see the LegalVoice webpage Parental Rights of Rapists. For resources about your reproductive rights you can call the LegalVoice Legal Information and Referral telephone line toll free at 866-259-7720.

 

Consider the following additional resources:

·         If you don't have a doctor and live in northern New Jersey, you can call the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health at 973-971-6475 for an appointment or contact your local teen health center or Planned Parenthood. You can also contact your insurance company for a list of in-network providers.

·         You can also contact the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), 1-800-656-HOPE (4673), 24 hours, 7days a week for help and information. You can search for a local counseling center on their website or use their online hotline.

·         If you live in northern New Jersey and need help finding a therapist you can call the Access Center from Atlantic Behavioral Health at 888-247-1400. Outside of this area you can log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website for referrals in your area. You can also contact your insurance company to get a list of in-network mental health providers or check with your school social worker or psychologist to get a list of referrals in your area.

·         You can get more information on options and various resources through the American Pregnancy Association. Since this is an unplanned pregnancy, you can call 1-800-672-2296 to find out about your options and to get some support and guidance for this situation. If you have no medical insurance, you can call 1-800-450-0183.

Signed: TeenHealthFX

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