A man recently released an op-ed explaining why he and his wife chose to keep a baby that was conceived when his wife was raped, calling the resulting child “a gift that helped us both recover.”
“I’ve read the comments. I’ve heard the opinions. I agree that you don’t know what you’ll think or feel in such a situation unless it happens to you,” Jeff Christie wrote. “That’s a terrible, stark reality and one I live with. I know that I can’t take away the trauma that my wife went through no matter how much I try.”
He said that he knows his wife, Jennifer, will never be the same as a result of the trauma she experienced. And Jennifer, who is now a pro-life speaker, shared some of that harrowing experience in a 2014 blog post:
Last January, I was travelling on business, staying in a little hotel in a college town. I like to think I’m usually more aware of my surroundings, but it was so snowy and windy that I wouldn’t have heard his footsteps even if he had he been stomping. It happened so fast. I got the door open, turned around to close it, and he was there – a huge man. My first instinct wasn’t fear, just confusion. In an instant, he punched me in the face. I don’t remember being dragged from the room, but I was found in the stairwell. I don’t know why — maybe I was trying to go for help.
The rape kit came back negative for HIV, gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, herpes, and dozens of other things I’d never heard of. God is gracious.
In spite of that horror, though, Christie also said that this pain would have persisted regardless of whether Jennifer chose to keep the baby or opt for abortion.
“I knew she would never forget what was done to her, regardless of whether he existed or not,” Christie continued. “It’s ignorant arrogance that brings about comments like ‘With a child, a victim of rape has to live with that reminder every day of what that monster did to her.’ She doesn’t need a reminder. That kind of violation is forever imprinted in her memory.”
In the couple’s case, the baby was a chance at redemption and healing. Christie explained that he struggled after the rape, but found himself also feeling hopeful over the pregnancy.
He said that the child forced him and Jennifer to “focus on something outside of ourselves.”
“He’s not our only child. He’s the youngest of five. Just like the others, he was placed in our lives by a God who entrusted all of them to our care,” Christie wrote. “As with all our children, our love for him started the moment we knew he existed. We welcomed him into our fold with the same devotion and reverence as his brothers and sister.”
Christie also had a message to women who have aborted babies after rape, telling them that he casts no judgement and that he and his wife understand the trauma that people face. That being said, they always knew termination wasn’t an option.
“The pressure to feel animosity towards the child you’re carrying is horrendous. We lived through that,” he said. “We know how the future can feel so unstable that you want more than anything to reduce the turmoil in your head in any way that you can.”