It's that time of life again...
the time when everyone starts asking you when you're going to have another baby.
when you have an almost 2 year old as your youngest child,
you're behind in life because you aren't pregnant yet.
here's the thing...
I love kids.
let me rephrase that.
I love my kids!
And most other kids,
but sometimes other people's kids are super annoying,
just like I'm sure my kids are super annoying to other people.
It is what it is.
But the older I get,
the more upsetting I find that question.
The more upsetting I find demand to know when I will have another baby.
It's not because I struggle with infertility,
and am constantly trying to have kids,
but have kept my struggle silent.
It's not because we don't want more kids,
because we would love to have more kids,
but we aren't sure if it's the right choice for us.
It's not because we can't afford another kid,
because let's be honest,
who can afford kids in the first place?
It's because 8 years ago,
in October of 2008,
I was raped.
I know that I'm a pretty open book.
There's not much I keep private,
but this was my secret.
(like only in the past month)
I have begun opened up about it to help others.
To share my experiences of how I got through that ordeal without my family,
because I couldn't bring myself to tell them,
and to empower others who have experienced rape,
so that they know that there are people who care about them and want to help them.
That there is hope,
and that life does get better,
even when you feel so broken,
I have begun to share my story because young women need to know that rape does not strip them of their virtue,
I have begun to share my story so that others will know and understand that the power of the atonement isn't only for repentance,
but that it can strengthen you through your biggest trials,
it can assist you in healing emotionally,
and it can help you understand the love that our Heavenly Father has for us.
I have learned that it's nothing to be ashamed of,
and honestly I'm hoping that sharing my story will bring me healing.
Every day I'm still healing.
Even 8 years later.
I was totally ashamed of what happened to me.
I feared that my parents would judge me,
and that they wouldn't love me anymore.
I felt as though my Heavenly Father was punishing me for a million small mistakes.
And I was sure that I would never get married.
no one wants damaged goods.
But I was wrong on all accounts.
Rape has definitely affected my marriage.
How can I possibly ask Spencer to understand how I felt,
what I still feel,
when he has never experienced that himself?
and definitely not something that he ever signed up for.
It's the main reason why I blame myself for any marital issue that arises,
because it has to be my fault right?
Rape has made the process of even conceiving a child very difficult for me.
Memories and emotions can be extremely powerful,
and tend to trigger and control me mentally in many different occasions.
I often let my emotions get the best of me.
Something I'm still working through.
I am damaged mentally,
but I'm trying to push through that.
8 years is too long for me to be held prisoner by that experience.
I have been immensely blessed by my two beautiful children.
Children that I laid awake late at night for weeks after the experience,
convincing myself that they would never exist.
I spent months convincing myself that I would be single forever,
that I would never be a mother,
and that I was worthless.
I treated myself incredibly poorly,
Physically and Mentally.
I began cutting myself to ease the pain.
And I'm pretty sure I made my parents doubt my strength and my spirituality.
Rape did not lower my self worth.
I put that on myself.
I didn't understand that what had happened wasn't my fault.
Of course it was my fault.
I must have led him on.
I must have initiated the situation somehow.
So I continued to date him.
And it turned me into a person that I hated.
it made me weak,
it killed me.
by a miracle,
that seemed to destroy me at the time,
I was able to break free.
I was able to reach out and find a supportive friend.
I was able to reach out to counselors and be honest,
when I was lying to everyone else around me.
I was able to begin healing and remembering the strong woman I use to be.
Every day I struggle with memories and emotions of that day.
Every day I push myself to push past the limitations I had put on myself for so many years,
foolishly thinking that it was for my benefit.
Rape has increased my anxiety and depression immensely.
But rape has also taught me that I am capable of more than I could have ever imagined.
My experience with rape has blessed my life.
And that is something that I never could have imagined.
But rape has allowed me to completely understand the atonement.
Rape has allowed me to help others when they think all hope is lost.
Surviving rape has given me hope.
It took me years to begin to process my feelings,
instead of just pushing them aside and thinking I could just ignore them.
But I get a little weak,
even if just for a moment,
when people ask when I'm going to have another baby.
It stirs up memories and emotions.
I don't blame people for asking,
It's 100% flattering that they want more little Ahlstrom's running around.
I mean my kids are incredibly cute,
and it's a shame to not provide the world with cute kids,
but it hurts a little to be asked and to be reminded why having children is a painful process for me.
Rape will never not be a part of my life.
There are good days,
and there are bad days.
But as I attempt to heal more and reach out,
I find that I have more better days.
No one has judged me,
no one has avoided me after they find out.
Everything that I thought would happen when people found out was false!
I feel so blessed to be a Mom to my two beautiful children.
Being their Mom makes my world!
But for the time being,
there are no additions coming to our family any time soon.
Thanks for caring enough to ask!