I was recently asked a question and it’s something I feel strongly about. Though I haven’t been in exactly the same situation myself, I have experience with some of what was asked and so I felt the need to share my views on this in today’s post. My hope is that I can help others with this post and so here we are – “I’m pregnant to an abusive partner. What should I do?”
Okay so the lady I were speaking to is involved in an on-off relationship with a guy who’s both mentally and physically abusive to her. She’s found out that she’s pregnant to him. Do you see where this is going? She’s scared about the future of herself and her baby. She wants to get away from her on/off boyfriend more than ever, to protect her unborn child. When speaking to me she was also very worried about money, and about going it alone.
Why listen to me?
This is a whole other story for another time, but I’ve been in a situation similar to this myself. Though my ex wasn’t physically abusive, he abused me in other ways. I too have had many other problems from his family, aside from the trouble he has caused me. I’m a single Mother to my beautiful little girl and have already had more than my fair share of difficulties in the time from conception to now.
I’ve also seen countless situations developing for my friends where they become stuck in a hole in which they cannot escape. Children used as a pawn in games where one parent wants something purely to spite the other.
Children should always come first and while there are a whole bunch of different problems that can occur, there are certain ways in which you can help yourself and protect your child. Nobody had the answers for me. I want to make sure other’s know a little about what they might be dealing with.
The following is a basic overview of some of the points to consider. Parenting is a minefield. Having a child is a huge change. There’s a million and one things to consider. I plan to write more on different areas of the whole parenting journey in the future. In the meantime if you’d like to know something specific please do ask. For now, bear the following points in mind. I’m not here to tell you what to do. I’m only here to offer help and guidance.
Get out of there!
Ditch him, escape! Abusive partners will not change, not the way you’d hope, anyway. If anything they’ll become worse as time goes on. This guy is already abusive physically as well as mentally, get out! It’s not just about you now but your unborn child, too! The baby doesn’t deserve that kind of life.
If this guy is a real threat, you feel he’d blow up at you leaving, then call the police. Admittedly, they do next to nothing about anything these days, but at least get it on record! Get back up from other sources, tell your midwife, your health visitor, tell a professional – get them to keep a record of it. It all leads onto my next point..
Keep all evidence!
Honestly this one will save you so much time and effort if anything develops later on with any type of court proceeding. Anything you think could be used as evidence – keep it. Save it, collect it all together. You may not need it now but you might in the future. Leaving it to rifle through ‘if it happens’ will cause additional stress. Cut out that stress, cut out the time and do it now! I hope you don’t need to use it but it can never hurt to be prepared. As much as is possible, anyway.
Check your workplace policies.
The lady I spoke to was particularly worried about money. So, your employer is usually the one to give you maternity pay. This will all depend however, on if you have a contract and how long you’ve worked there. I believe you have to have worked with a company for 20 weeks before letting them know you’re pregnant, to be entitled to maternity pay. Don’t worry if they won’t give you it. If in the UK you should still be entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay. You can find out more about SMP on Gov.uk but it’s there in place of a workplace maternity package, not additional to. Check the website or better yet speak to somebody about benefits. Your local One Stop Centre is probably running workshops for benefit help and advice.
Find out about additional benefits.
This is based on what was available when I was pregnant. Everything changes so fast in the UK so please don’t just take my word for it, do double check.
11 weeks before your due date you should be entitled to Income Support, this may be in place of SMP, as I was never in receipt of SMP or a payout from my job at that time.
If this is your first child you may also be eligible for a maternity grant. This is a one time pay out of £500 to help with the costs of your child. I can’t remember the deadline for this so ask your midwife or a benefits advisor for more information. If you ask early on you can be prepared when the time comes.
Healthy Start vouchers can be used for fresh fruit, milk, baby milk and I think vitamins/minerals. These start whilst you’re still pregnant and continue until your child is five years of age. Much of this your midwife can help with, be sure to ask for a maternity exemption form, too. This is for covering your medical costs and any necessary dental procedures and such. Your maternity exemption will cover you throughout pregnancy up to your child’s first birthday.
Okay I know what you might be thinking.. Not another group where you’re surrounded by couples, whilst being arse over tit pretending to push out a melon. Not all groups are like that. I hated the idea of them to begin with. That changed when I discovered Baby Steps. My mental health midwife put me forward for the group. It’s said it was aimed at the ‘vulnerable’ for whatever reason that may be.
Baby Steps gave me precious time to develop a bond with my daughter. I made friends, some I still have. I had fun and I learned some things. The ladies running it were amazing, I can’t fault them or the group. It definitely opened my eyes. It was hard to get to by bus and my funds were non-existent.. No worries, the lovely ladies running it organised for a taxi there and back. Every session. Paid for. Can’t complain at that, can you? Don’t write them all off.
Don’t put him on the birth certificate!
By allowing him to be on your child’s birth certificate you’re handing over 50/50 rights to your child. My ex was ignoring mine and my daughter’s existence when it came to her being registered. He inadvertently gave me the best gift then. He’s not on her birth certificate and she doesn’t share his name. I thank my lucky stars every day for that fact!
If he’s on there he could abduct your child, take them overseas even. It wouldn’t be a problem for him because ‘he’s the father’. Once overseas do you know how hard it would be to get your child back?
A father can apply through the courts to have their name added, but it’s a lengthy process. Costly, too. If he’s abusive should he really be allowed instant access and responsibility for that innocent child? Not in my book.
You can do this!
You don’t need him. Yes it’s hard work. Yes a child is costly. It doesn’t matter. There’s help out there. So it’ll be hard, it’s hard for all of us. That doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it! There are so many single parents out there, what makes you think you’ll screw up? If you have love to give your baby and you’ll put that child first then you’re already winning at parenting. Read my post ‘How to Be a Great Parent in 7 Easy Ways‘ for a little more encouragement.
Yes some children have a father and yes it may be best to have BOTH parents in a child’s life. Though not always. A father isn’t essential, certainly not an abusive one. You and your baby are better off without. Put yourselves first and get rid of that toxic boy. You’ve got this Momma.
So now you know I have some experience in this and you’ve got the basics to consider. The question is – are you going to put your baby and yourself first? Good, remember you’ve got this. You aren’t alone, reach out to someone. Even me, if talking to an outsider would help!
I don’t have anything against fathers, the ones whom love their children that is. I don’t agree with father’s being stopped from seeing their children by a spiteful ex, for no apparent reason. The needs of the child always come first. I back that 100%. This is not legal advice, I cannot be held liable.
These are only my opinions and experience. You may view a full disclaimer here.
By sharing this post with your pregnant friends! Make sure they have all the help they can get. Lets support other Momma’s!