This is part two of a three part series. I am writing my story as I can find the words and the strength to put them on paper. Be sure to read Part 1 first.
I called my landlord. I told him what had happened and that there was damage to the apartment. He evicted me. I was homeless for the second time in less than six months – and this time I was pregnant. I had no place to go. I had no friends in this strange town. I was not welcome back at my parent’s house.
I ended up in a new city, in a homeless shelter. This would be my home for several weeks until I could find a job and an apartment. It was a scary place. The people who were there had been there before. They were street people who were in and out of shelters. I was afraid of them.
During the day, we were not allowed to stay at the shelter. The first few days I was taken to a pregnancy center where I was told about my options – abortion, adoption, keeping the baby. I told them I did not believe in abortion. I did ask about adoption. At the time I would be placed in a home until the baby was born. My personal items would be dropped off at the hospital after I gave birth and I would be on my own. The baby would go home with her new parents. I decided to keep her myself.
After the first few days, I sat at the bus stop all day. I had no money to ride the bus and didn’t have a clue where to go anyway. I was spotting and tried to explain this but the house mother said that wasn’t her problem. One night – after supper – I started bleeding heavily. I was taken to the ER and dropped off. I was scared – and alone, again.
After a lengthy stay and an exam I was put on bed rest. I did not know how to get back to the shelter, so the hospital called to see what arrangements could be made. They were told it was after 10pm and I no longer had a bed there. A social worker was called. Eventually I was put up in a hotel for the night.
The next day, the social worker came to the hotel to get me. I was taken back to her office and counseled. Several phone calls were made and soon it was arranged that my ex-boyfriends father would come and pick me up. I thought I was going to be living at his house – instead I was taken back to my parents who had been bullied into letting me stay with them by my grandmother.
At first – other than a few nasty comments about that fact that I was pregnant and what that made me, things were fine. Then my mother started pressuring me to have an abortion. I refused. I heard what an embarrassment I was to her. I heard lots of things. There was name calling as well. She went to CPS, dragging me along. She told them what a lousy mother I would be. She told them I had no experience with children. She tried to get them to get an order to take the baby before it was born. She failed, but she set the stage for the next steps.
By the time I was eight months along she knew I was going to give birth. One day she lost control of her temper and proceeded to beat me in the stomach. I pushed her off me, ran through the kitchen to the bathroom. I saw a knife as I ran and grabbed it. I locked myself in the bathroom. She beat and beat on the door ordering me to open it. I refused. I told her if she tried to hurt my baby again I would hurt her. It was my job to protect my child.
Then it got quiet. I sank to the floor trying to catch my breath. I thought she had calmed down. I thought it would be ok. I have no idea how long I was in that room, but the next thing I remember is hearing the sheriff outside the bathroom door asking me to open the door. I did as he asked and I was cuffed. She had gone to my doctor, my dad, the hospital and the sheriff’s department stating I had tried to cut the baby out of my stomach. I was escorted – without an exam – to an ambulance where I was cuffed in. From there I was taken to another town and committed to a mental hospital.
I stayed there for 72 hours and then was released. It was horrible. I was sent to talk to a therapist who asked if I knew why I was there. I tried to explain that my mother hit me in the stomach. He said if I hadn’t been lying flat on my back with my legs in the air I wouldn’t be in this situation. I was shocked. I tried to tell him I had been raped and that the person had been convicted. He replied that’s what they all say. I got up and walked out of his office.
When the 72 hours was up I was sent back home. My parents refused to come and get me, so I had to find my own way back. I tried to stay out of sight, to be quiet, to be pleasing. The next month went well – or so I thought.
My mother was taken with the sight of my new baby. She wanted her. She wanted me to sign custody of her over. In fact, when she was just three days old she started calling CPS again. The first call she made she told them I had beat my baby while she was in the shower. They came out, took photographs and sent her to the doctor. She had a laundry detergent allergy.
From that point on, every time my baby cried, she called CPS and accused me of neglect or abuse. She went as far as throwing me and the baby out into the snow with no coat or blanket. She called the sheriff and pleaded child endangerment with them. They came. CPS came. A man from the Red Cross came who was familiar with the situation. We went home to live with him, but the wheels of fate were turning.