'With Love All Things Are Possible'

Choosing Life Over Abortion, a Rape Survivor Decides to Keep Her Baby

Caucasian mother holding newborn baby
[Blend Images/Marc Romanelli]/[Brand X Pictures]/[Getty Images]
Jane Noe lives with her husband and 4 children in the United States.  She has chosen not to use her real name not because she has anything to be ashamed of but to protect her son's privacy.

I am having a rough week. A candidate for the U.S. Senate makes an ignorant comment about pregnancy after rape and suddenly my life is spun into turmoil as I am reminded of what happened 22 years ago.

The outcry against Missouri Rep. Todd Akin is international.

Not only are people calling him wrong, but I have had to read far too many articles about how rape ruins a woman's life and how women who have become pregnant due to rape are grateful that they were able to choose abortion.

After all, what kind of woman wants to raise a baby conceived by rape?

I have tried to ignore most of the press coverage. As for the question above, however, I feel compelled to respond. Because, you see, I am that woman.

On Sunday May 21, 1989, I was brutally raped. Nine months later on Friday February 9, 1990 I gave birth to my son.

Yes, it was date rape. Does that make it okay or any less brutal? I don't see why it would. I was 20 years old and spending my junior year of college abroad. I met Peter (name changed), another exchange student, and we dated a few times -- but nothing serious. We both knew we were going back to different lives in different parts of the US. I was a virgin, not really saving myself for marriage, but not wanting to give that to just anybody.

When I said no one evening, he decided that he would do as he pleased. He was over a foot taller than me and almost 70 pounds heavier. There was nothing I could do. With one hand he held a pillow over my face so no one could hear my screams. With his other hand, he held both my hands over my head. I still have a scar on my right wrist from where his nails dug into me.

When he was through I had bruises on my thighs and I was lying in a small pool of blood.

When I was able to move, I went back to my dorm room and sat in a hot shower for three hours, trying to pretend that it hadn't happened. I didn't really believe that it happened myself. Date rape was not a well-known phenomenon back then -- at least I had never heard of it. And Peter and I had been dating for a couple of months. Who would believe me? I didn't believe me. So I kept silent. I took my final exams and returned to the States two weeks later. I thought I could put it all behind me.

I had a history of fertility problems since I was 14 and had been told shortly before going abroad that having children would be next to impossible for me. I had my period in Oct of 1988 and then never had it again. But only getting it a couple of times a year was normal for me. Since I hadn't had my period for 9 months before the rape, and because of my history I wasn't really worried about pregnancy. About 4 weeks after the rape though, I started to feel a bit queasy and my chest started to get sore. It seemed impossible. I took a home pregnancy test and it came back positive.

Nobody believed me when I announced I was pregnant.

I never told my family or friends that I had been raped. The doctor didn't believe me. But I knew. She ran urine and blood tests, but still thought it was a false positive due to my hormonal imbalance. She ordered an ultrasound. The tech rubbed the wand over my belly for a few seconds, then turned the screen to face me.

"Do you see that dot blinking on the screen?"

"Yes"

"That is your baby's heart beating."

With those words, my life changed forever. That little dot became my baby.

Now, let me just say here that I am pro-choice. I believe that every woman has the right to choose what is best for herself and her baby. I believe that abortion should be legal for the simple reason that if it wasn't, women would find ways to have them anyway. Prohibition didn't work, because people made gin in their bathtub.

Making abortion illegal won't work because a woman who really wants one will find a way to have one, often causing the loss of not just her baby but her own death as well.

That belief is fine for women in general, but this was MY baby. I had seen the heartbeat. I was a virgin who hadn't had a period in 9 months and had just been told a year and a half earlier that pregnancy would be impossible. I had been raped. Do you want to be the person to tell me that this child was not a miraculous gift from G-d?

Actually you do, because the whole world did. Okay, that is a slight exaggeration, but it honestly felt that way. I cannot point to one person I know and say, "You thought I should have this baby."

Instead I heard an abundance of "You have one year of college left" and "You have a promising career ahead of you. Why would you want to give it all up for a baby?" You get the idea.

The crusade was on. According to those around me, I had to have an abortion. My grandmother would call me to quote from the Bible about my "bastard" child and what would happen to him. I am still waiting for the stoning.

For a while, even I believed them. Twice I went to the abortion clinic. Twice I left, still pregnant.

When it became too late for an abortion, adoption became the answer that everyone gave me -- even people who were not asked. But I couldn't do that either. I'll admit I considered it. But I could not sign the papers.

Please remember that none of these people knew I had been raped. (Most still don't.) I really wanted to tell my closest friends, my sister, my mother.

But it would only have become fuel for their arguments. So I suffered alone. I had horrible nightmares, and still sometimes do, but nobody stood by me.

I had my baby and faced even more humiliation from the community, so I moved away and made a new life for myself and my son. A life I am now very happy in. How I did this is a whole other story that I won't bore you with here.

Let me tell you about my son instead. He is an absolute joy. Physically he is the image of Peter, so that can sometimes be difficult. But there is a kindness in my son's eyes that I never saw in Peter. He has been raised in love, and he has a good heart and a kind soul. He has been raised to respect other people and does not have the kind of violence in him that Peter does.

My heart overflows with the most incredible love for him -- a love that until him I never even knew existed. I do believe that I have a normal life. I now have 4 beautiful children and an absolutely wonderful husband who adopted my son and loves him as his own.

I never really wanted my son to find out about his conception. No matter what animosity I feel towards Peter, I had never told my son a bad word about him. To me this is part of raising him in love. (My parents have been divorced for years and still say horrible things about the other to me. Even as an adult, I find this hurtful.) However, when my son was 15, circumstances changed and we had to tell him the truth. It was exceedingly difficult, but we made it through.

In fact, a few years ago he told me something that was really incredible.

He said, "I am so glad that abortion was legal when I was born, because it proved that you wanted to have me and truly loved me, and weren't just forced into it." For that reason I will always support a woman's right to choose. For me personally though, I am so glad I chose life.

Do I ever regret my decision? NO. Do I ever wish he hadn't been born? NO. Do I ever wish I hadn't been raped? Of course.

I don't see why the above views are regarded as contradictory to each other. The point is that I made my decision.

I did not choose to be raped, but I chose to have my baby. I chose not to let the rape ruin my relationship with my son. I chose to recreate new dreams for my life.

With love all things are possible.

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Noe, Jane. "'With Love All Things Are Possible'." ThoughtCo, Apr. 25, 2014, thoughtco.com/with-love-all-things-are-possible-3534137. Noe, Jane. (2014, April 25). 'With Love All Things Are Possible'. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/with-love-all-things-are-possible-3534137 Noe, Jane. "'With Love All Things Are Possible'." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/with-love-all-things-are-possible-3534137 (accessed November 19, 2017).