How do you make the invasiveness of pregnancy less scary for a rape survivor?

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After oodles of talking and careful planning, my husband and I have decided to try to conceive our first baby. There’s one thing that is making me really nervous — it’s not about the child so much as the pregnancy. And not so much the pregnancy itself, but seeing an OB/midwife.

To explain: when I was a teenager, I was raped. It’s been nearly ten years, but since then, I’ve been dealing with the ramifications, namely a profound fear of being touched by anyone other than my closest friends, family, and husband.

One of the scariest places for me is the OBGYN. Now, I’ve been mostly good about going to regular check ups, though they often end in tears and are followed by an emotionally rough day. Once pregnant though, I know that I will have to go routinely, and there will be lots of people involved in my care. Everyone always says, “Oh you get used to everyone seeing you splayed out and naked,” but I can’t see how I would ever get used to it.

I’ve talked to my husband and I’ve talked to a therapist and now I thought I would share my question to see if I could hear from other people who may have been there before or are looking down a similar path. Do you have any coping suggestions for dealing with OB/midwifes and pregnancy for a rape survivor?

I am beyond thankful for your time and your thoughts. Thank you!

Comments on How do you make the invasiveness of pregnancy less scary for a rape survivor?

  1. OP,

    You are brave and you are not alone. I am so glad that you have support from your therapist and your husband. This is awesome! And kudos to you to for reaching out for more advice and support!

    One of the best things I did was make my OB/GYN part of my support team. I was open from day 1 that I was a sexual abuse survivor. We spent one whole check up (i think it was 32 weeks) coming up with a plan that would minimize triggers and figure out what support I would need for things that couldn’t be avoided. If your doc/midwife doesn’t take your concerns seriously, then you might consider switching to someone who does.

    For me, the hardest part was not pregnancy or labor. I had preecplampsia and had to be induced at 37w+1. After 3 days of labor, I had to have an c-section because kiddo was not ready to be evicted yet. I spent all of my pregnancy trying to figure out a plan for a vaginal birth, that I didn’t want to consider what I would need for a surgical birth. My husband was with me when my son was born, but then (as we had agreed before his birth), DH went to be with my son while the nurse went to get my doula. I was alone for about 5 mins while the surgical team started to close. *That* was triggering event for me. I started to have a panic attack, so the anesthesiologist knocked me out for a bit. My doula was great during labor, and almost 3 year later I am so pissed that hospital regs are what kept her from me when I needed her most.

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