Wednesday, March 16, 2005

The Naked Pregnant Woman In Your Yard

I was talking with my husband this morning. We were watching one of the morning talk shows drone on. This one about abused women. The poor souls seem to be everywhere in the media this week.

It is not uncommon for me to rail accusations at the television, hissing and booing my contempt for batterers at my safe little television. I don't think too hard on the mournful ghost faces of the women--their bowed backs, their dead eyes, shining with tears.

I was one of those women--a person who let such horrible things happen to me that I can't bear to think of them now. I was chatting with a friend today, and somehow the time I spent watching TV with Ken came into the conversation, and with it, a memory with startling clarity.

I am twenty seven years old. A mother of one son. I am still pretty, if you can look beyond the haggard appearance being constantly physically, psychologically and sexually abused imposes on your body.

We'd argued, and he had grown fond of a particularly cruel indignation. He would force me to strip, and toss me out of the house naked. I remember the quiet resignation and dead affect when unbuttoning my dress and stepping out of my underwear. My body was ripe with his child, the belly round as a peach, the hips flaring out wide in expectation. I should have been his joy, an his reward, but I was the object of his hate, a constant reminder that life did not go his way, and he was forced to keep me for appearances sake.

He'd grab me by the arm, and shove me out the door, slamming it shut and bolting the locks. I would stand there, bewildered, almost high. Blocking out the reality so that I could endure it. I never felt the horror of it while it was happening. I simply asked my self, what do I do?

I wandered in this deadening daze across the street, glad that no cars were coming by. It is very difficult to cover yourself with bony arms and small, girlish hands when you weigh all of 110 lbs fully pregnant. A man came out of his house shocked to find me in his yard.

He was tall, and young and handsome. Brown and sunloved, and when he spoke I heard his Island accent. He came to me, with his arms streched out like he wanted to cover me with his arms, but he didn't. It was as if he were afraid to touch me. Like I would break. Like I would shatter in his hands.

He spoke tenderly with his soft, lilting voice, but his questions were rapid fire. What has happened? Who did this to you? And I answered him--the truth. I saw the disbelief and horror in his eyes. He could not comprehend the kind of cruelty that throws a pregnant young woman naked into the streets. I could not either, but for a moment, I was outside of myself. That wasn't me naked and pregnant, explaining to a kind stranger. He told me he would call the police, and I begged him not to, fearing the man I lived with would kill me if I ever got the law involved. I was in Maryland, far from home and people who loved me, and he had my son in the house.

The man went inside, and came out with a bathrobe to cover me. He told me he called the police. You know what? I can't remember what happened after that. I don't remember if I ever saw the police, or when I went home, or if I ever returned the bathroom. It's gone. The rest of that story hides in some dark corner in my mind and refuses to reveal itself to me.

These memories, they come like a distant discordant tune. Strange music that I don't understand. I hear the melody, but don't remember the name of the song. I don't hear it often, not even when I watch talk shows. Somewhere she stopped being me.

I wonder if that man prayed for me. I think he did. I sure hope so.

Listen, if you ever find a naked pregnant woman in your yard, please, I beg you, cover her. Call the police, pray for her.

Remember her, many years later, when she is 4o and loved, and the mother of seven. Because sometimes, when she leasts expects it, she will find herself unable to stop crying while she types on her laptop computer. Mourning the woman she was. The woman she had no strength to mourn back then.

And say another prayer for her.

14 comments:

upwords said...

I'm crying too and praying for that kind man, wherever he is, who had sense enough--grace enough--to cover you. May we all be gentle with the broken today, even ourselves.
mary

Anonymous said...

i am so sorry that this happened to u, that it happens to so many of us--and that so many of us are forced to struggle to find the truths we've misplaced about Christ's sacrifices so that we would know comfort, His rejection so that we would know acceptance, His disgrace so we would know value, His nakedness so we would know protection.

i am so glad u've found Him, claudia, and that He's redeemed and revealed these truths to you. i marvel at how committed u are to passing them on.

take care,
stacia

osray said...

With a broken and contrite spirit, I will speak to my people. Claudia, your humble and broken spirit is what it takes to hear God speak. Be prepaired to hear something good from our King. His arms will hold you and his love will cover you where ever you go, from now on.

Carrie said...

I can't stop weeping -- in sorrow over what you endured and in joy over the woman you are now. He truly does restore the years that the locusts have eaten.

bobbie said...

i am so sorry you had to endure that dehumanizing behavior claudia. thank you for trusting us with your story.

i can't wait to read the rest! write woman write!

Aola said...

I endured the same kind of humility and pain for 12 long years, just couldn't seem to find my way out. It took God's saving grace. That was 22 years ago and reading your story I can still feel the pain. A lot of it has been forgotten with time, part of it I don't want to forget because I never want to forget what God has done for me.

Paula said...

Oh dear, sweet lady. How I love you. Praying . . .

Heather Diane Tipton said...

'Tis an honor, Claudia, to read the stories from your life. I weep for the person you were, but I rejoice for the woman of God you are now. The woman that allows herself to bare her soul for all to see. Giving God His due all the way.
Thank you.
Praying for you.

MicahGirl said...

Thank you, Jesus, for bringing Claudia to a place of safety, and thank you for doing that once with her kind neighbor and now with your daily grace and the blessing of a gentle husband.

Micah Girl

Candy said...

You couldn't possibly be any more precious. I would give anything to hold that young pregnant naked woman and tell her that she is Jesus' joy and His delight. But I think she knows that now. Be still and be held, claudia.

Jaime H. said...

Claudia,

Thank you for sharing. I am blessed to know you.

Much love,

Jaime

Anonymous said...

God, You are Lord of all. I thank you today for perserving Claudia. I thank you for the care you showed through her neighbor across the street that one day. I pray You will bless them both today. You are good. Thank You for Your goodness extended to Claudia.
Jeff

A Heart of Worship said...

I am so emotional right now after reading that post, I feel that I can't really express my thoughts adequately, other than to say God's grace is sufficient...

Look where you are now. Your unveiled, transparency is ministering to untold numbers of people, giving God all the glory!

Praise God for your history, and your honesty, openess and willingness to share it with the world.

There are several lessons in your story for all of us.

Letitia

Pregnancy Symptoms said...

i am so glad u've found Him, claudia, and that He's redeemed and revealed these truths to you. i marvel at how committed u are to passing them on.