Hi, it's me, again, M. I honestly thought that being pregnant would make him happy. (1 WE CAN'T "MAKE" ANOTHER HAPPY, SAD, ANGRY OR ANY OTHER EMOTION. THOSE ARE ALL PERSONAL CHOICES WE MAKE FOR OURSELVES.)
He said, "I don't want a damn kid. I don't want to share you with anyone. You have a baby and you won't have time for me. Well, if you're gonna have a kid, be sure you give me a boy." (2. IT IS MEDICALLY PROVEN BEYOND A DOUBT THAT IT IS THE MALE SPERM THAT DETERMINES THE SEX OF A CHILD NOT WHAT THE WOMAN DELIVERS.)
Pregnancy was hard for me. I was sick all the time. He said he couldn't take me anywhere 'cause I was too much trouble. You know with me being sick so much and all.
Still, I knew, when the baby came, he would love it as much as me and we could still be a happy family. I knew from the fourth month from that Ultra Sound machine thing that it was a girl. I just never told him. I'm so tired all the time. I just didn't have the energy to put up with him, you know?
It's just during this hard pregnancy he started drinking so much.He's hardly ever here anymore. He comes in drunk almost every night. Most times I pretend to be asleep in hopes he'll leave me alone. It doesn't always work. He says he can't stand to see me so fat. I try to tell him I'm NOT FAT...no use, I tell myself, just shut up M.
Things were OK for a while after S. was born. She is so cute and such a good baby. But D. started staying out later and later. Some nights he doesn't come home at all. That's OK with me - sort of. I love my baby and taking care of her helps keep the raging nervousness out of my stomach that seems to be there all the time now.
Can I tell you something? Last night was the worse. S. started crying in the middle of the night and I was sleeping so hard I just didn't hear her in time. I jumped up and ran over to her but he was already there pounding her on her ears. She screamed. I panicked. I yelled and pulled him off of her. He turned on me and shoved me down on the bed on my back. He sat on my stomach with his knees pinning my arms down. He took a pillow and put it over my head. I couldn't catch a breath. At one point I actually thought I was dead. I also thought "who is going to take care of my baby?"
The next morning I was crying and he said, "I don't know why you are so upset. It was no big deal. Get over it. (3.MINIMIZING SEVERE ABUSE IS COMMON. IT MAKES HIS BEHAVIOR SEEM NOT SO BAD AND THAT IT IS HER FAULT ANYWAY.) Well, it was a BIG DEAL to me!
"I need some money for diapers. S. is out of diapers."
"You are draining me dry. You are such a fu...ing whiner. Well, here is $10 buck - and bring me the change and receipt!) Don't I always? (4. KEEPING THE VICTIM IN POVERTY IS ANOTHER ONE OF THE MAJOR BENCHMARKS OF A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE RELATIONSHIP)
I saw Auntie by chance at the grocery store yesterday. I was so happy to see her. She isn't made anymore. She gave me a big hug. She pushed my hair aside and noticed the latest array of cuts and bruises. I must look like chopped liver by now. I sure feel like it. She asked, "How's it going?"
I started crying. She took me outside to a table and we talked. I told her everything. I just couldn't keep it in anymore. She handed me a card and told me to call this friend of hers, J. J runs a woman's shelter. At first I said I couldn't do that. What if he finds out?" Oh, my god. He said he would kill me and the baby if I ever left. He said if he can't have me, no one else will either. (5.LEAVING IS OFTEN THE MOST DANGEROUS PART OF A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE RELATIONSHIP.)
I hid the card in my shoe until I got home then I hid it under S's mattress on her bed. I didn't look at it for a whole week but I couldn't stop thinking about it. I felt the cut on my face and the third set of cracked and bruised ribs on my left side. I've got to find a way to get away, I said to myself. I've got to. I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired - and scared all the time. My being so upset is affecting my baby. She is fussy now a lot. I've got get us out. But how? I'm scared to death just thinking about it. And worse, what if he finds us?
Deep breath. "OK, M, OK," I tell myself. The time of being a scared little cry baby is over. Time to find that strong, hidden woman Auntie said is inside of me. She said, "If you don't take care of you, who is going to take care of your baby? Not me," she said with a grin. "I'm too damn old."
Courage doesn't come easy for me these days. It's like courage and ambition and happiness and everything has just been beaten out of me and stomped on so hard. I feel like a squashed piece of bubble gun that was left on the sidewalk to be trampled on by a crowd of on-coming shoes,.
Yet...somehow...I feel stronger now. I do. Like maybe I can really do this. Yes, I have to. I am leaving. With hands shaking like a 10 point earthquake, I pick up the phone and dial the number on the card...