Many of the women who called, even the ones who didn’t say that their partner was abusive, told me that their partner had tried purposefully to get them pregnant even when they didn’t want to have a baby.
“He poked holes in the condom,” they said.
“He hid my birth control pills.”
“He took the condom off when we were having sex.”
Then, once the caller found out that she was pregnant, her partner would often begin badgering her about what choice to make. Instead of supporting her as she considered her options, he would try to pressure her to do what he wanted. Often, his way of doing this didn’t even make any sense:
“He begged me to have the baby so we could be a family, but now he’s saying he doesn’t even believe me that it’s his.”
“He told me I needed to go and get an abortion, but then he started telling everyone that I was killing our baby.”
Reproductive coercion – trying to force someone to get pregnant against their wishes – is a method that some men who abuse women use to exercise power and control over their partners. These men try to use pregnancy to ensure that their partners do not leave them, because they know that separating will probably be more difficult if you have a child in common. If your partner has ever tried to get you pregnant by interfering with your birth control or pressuring you not to use protection during sex, or has tried to force you to make a certain decision after you become pregnant, you are not alone.
Even if you are not comfortable contacting the National Domestic Violence Hotline or loveisrespect.org, which we talked about in our last post, there are measures you can take to protect yourself. We at Adoptions Together strongly encourage you to check out this article at bedsider.com to learn more about the signs of reproductive coercion and what you can do to protect yourself. As always, we are here, too, if you need to talk to us, and we will respect whatever decision you make about your pregnancy.