Pregnancy should be an exciting and special time in a woman's life. For some women this is not the case. Pregnancy can be a stressful and fearful time if you are experiencing abuse in your relationship.
If you are experiencing abuse in your relationship, you are not alone. Sadly, it is very common. In a survey conducted by the Rotunda hospital found that 1 in 8 women surveyed were being abused by their partner. It is also known that 30% of women who experience domestic violence are physically assaulted for the first time during pregnancy.
That is what happened to Jane, who rang the Women's Aid National Freephone Helpline to talk about her experiences. Jane told us:
"When I was pregnant he became more aggressive and violent, I was sick for the first three months and was tired all the time. I just wanted to sleep when I wasn't working, but he said I was being selfish and insensitive to him."
Read more of Jane's account here.
If you are experiencing abuse during your pregnancy you could talk to someone today. Tell a friend or a loved one or call the Women's Aid 24hr National Freephone Helpline 1800 341 900. Or you can talk to one of the health professionals like a midwife, doctor or a nurse at the maternity hospital or ante-natal clinic.
There is no excuse for domestic violence. Your partner, and other people, may have told you that it is your fault or because of the pregnancy. That your partner feels jealous, excluded or anxious because of the baby. But none of that is true. Your partner is responsible for the abuse. And he alone can stop it. But there is support available for you. You can call the Women's Aid National Freephone Helpline 1800 341 900.
Women's Aid knows how difficult it can be living with domestic violence. That is why Women's Aid offers free confidential information and support. Women's Aid will listen to you and talk to you about your situation. They won't judge you or tell you what to do. They won't tell anyone you've been in touch with them. Women's Aid can discuss your options and help you plan your safety. They can support you by sitting down with you to you explore the various options available to you. They can also go to court with you.
You can rebuild your life after abuse, although right now it may feel impossible. It won't happen overnight, but every day will be a little easier. Women's Aid can support you along the way.