For couples living in a healthy relationship, the decision to start a family is usually made together and is something to look forward to.
In an abusive relationship there may be different reasons for having a baby.
- You may think a baby will bring you together.
- You may think they will change their behaviour for the better with a baby around.
- You may think a baby will be someone who will need you and love you unconditionally.
- You may not be allowed to use contraception and the choice is not yours to make.
Often abuse can get worse (or even start if there's never been any before) during a pregnancy as the baby can be seen as a threat by an abuser.
It is not uncommon for a female's tummy, breasts or genitals to become the target of violence and to be punched or kicked. An expectant mum can also be prevented from attending ante-natal appointments until the very end of the pregnancy.
Once born, a baby can become another target for the abuse. A baby may be used as a tool to abuse you emotionally or psychologically. As well as keeping yourself safe, you may find that you also need to look for ways of protecting your child. Think about keeping safe by looking at the safety planning page.
Your safety and that of your unborn baby or young child is important. If you can do so safely, speak to your midwife or health visitor who can signpost you to support.