Human Interest

Pregnant after a brutal rape: ‘For the first time I felt hope and I felt joy’

Jennifer Christie

A Focus on the Family video called “Sometimes the Choice is Hard” discusses the difficult cases of abortion including prenatal diagnosis and pregnancy resulting from rape. Jennifer Christie and her husband Jeff shared their story in the video regarding rape and pregnancy.

Jennifer was raped while away on a business trip. The attack was so brutal it left her with broken ribs, broken fingers, and brain damage. She was deeply traumatized, and she and Jeff struggled to cope. Jennifer explained:

[T]here was so much pain and so much darkness, and so much, “Now what?” Who are we now and now what do we do?… A whole lot of why, and what is this supposed to tell us, and how are we supposed to keep surviving?

How are you supposed to survive with grief that’s so heavy and anger that’s so heavy? There was so much of both of those things, and we didn’t talk about it. Jeff was trying to be very solid and very much there for me, you know, we’re going to be okay, and that just made me mad, because we’re not okay, nothing’s okay.

Jennifer said that the weeks after the rape were the hardest thing she and Jeff have ever gone through. She dealt with extreme emotional trauma, and Jeff felt helpless and devastated that he’d been unable to protect her.

 

 

While working on a cruise ship shortly after, Jennifer found out she was pregnant. At first, she was horrified. Jennifer was mostly pro-life but had always felt that abortion was justified in cases of rape. But at the ultrasound, her feelings about the pregnancy changed. As she looked at the image of her baby:

I’m bracing myself now, and I’m waiting to feel everything that I’m supposed to feel… I’m waiting for those feelings to come up. I’m waiting for horror, and anger and rage and disgust, and all of that. But I’m staring at that screen, and I smile. I smile at my baby.

For the first time since that day, when my world turned upside down, for the first time since everything just went so black, I felt hope and I felt joy. And it was like okay, okay, God is still there. And then, we’re going to be okay.

Jennifer realized that although she hadn’t been able to protect herself from the rapist, even though she tried, she could protect her preborn baby. As she realized that, she said, “that was the moment where it all changed for me.” But she still had to tell Jeff about her pregnancy. When he found out about the baby, he immediately said he wanted to have the baby and support her in her pregnancy.

“This baby is something beautiful from something so terrible and painful for us,” said Jennifer. “He said, ‘We love babies.’ And I said, ‘Yeah. Yeah, we love babies.’ And he said, ‘We can do this. This will be awesome.'”

Jeff added, “When she called and she told me that – that was God giving us the answer. That was how he was going to get us through this. He knows where our heart is, and he knows what we need. We love babies. We know how to raise babies.”

Jennifer’s pregnancy was the catalyst that allowed her and Jeff to heal. It gave them a purpose, something good coming out of something so tragic and horrific.

READ: Woman regrets abortion after rape, attempts suicide: ‘Maybe hell would be better’

Jennifer has the following to say to other women pregnant through rape:

I would say that, to a woman that’s been raped and finds herself pregnant, that something evil and horrible happened to you, and I am so, so sorry. But the child is not a punishment, and the child is not evil. That child is just as much you as any child you will ever have… The baby is an opportunity for healing and for redemption and for moving on.

Jennifer and Jeff have talked to many women and couples who have given birth to their children who were conceived during a rape. They have never met anyone who has chosen life and regrets it.

Whether a woman has the child or aborts, Jennifer said, the woman will never forget the rape. But the baby can be a source of healing, rather than a reminder, of the trauma.

Jennifer said that the voices people need to listen to are the voices of women who have been there. Despite the pro-choice narrative, these women don’t regret giving birth after surviving sexual assault.

Of her own son, Jennifer said:

Joshua’s six. And he’s fantastic. He’s hysterical and he’s full of energy and love. He’s just bursting, and he’s been such an anchor for our whole family. And it was the same with our kids when we told them incrementally, and it was as they got older, and it was, do you feel any differently about Joshua. And they were like, why? Why would we? He’s our brother. Why do we care? It just – it didn’t phase them at all. It didn’t- they couldn’t fathom why it would. He’s just Josh.

Josh has brought Jennifer and Jeff nothing but healing and joy.

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