Six weeks before my daughter’s first birthday, I learned that I was again pregnant.

She had been a surprise, that happened as I was preparing to leave my then-boyfriend. We were packing the car to go work in Alaska for the summer, and I had already decided that this would be the last time, and that I would possibly leave him there with his brother. On the drive there, I got the positive test result that changed my life.

I stupidly agreed to marry him, which I only did so I could access maternity care through Indian Health Services. I was 22, 23 when my daughter was born.

My relationship with my new husband declined at a frightening pace. I had never felt that he loved me, which was why I was finished with him before the pregnancy, but it only got worse. The mental and emotional abuse became more severe as time went on. He would scream at me, tell me what a horrible mother I was, how I was so selfish to want 20 minutes to take a shower every few days, if I dared to go to the bathroom and she cried, he would pound on the door yelling at me until I came out. He would demand that I nurse her anytime she so much as sniffled. If I managed to fall asleep for a few minutes, he would shake me, saying”what are you doing??? Wake up! You have a baby to take care of!”

This and worse went on for months. We were not intimate. I was exhausted from never getting a full hour of sleep at a time, and hated him, and was terrified of becoming pregnant again. I hated my life, and wanted to escape, but had no way, no money, and no support.

One day, when my daughter was old enough to stay with his parents, we went out to his schools homecoming celebration. It was the first time I had a drink since before the pregnancy, and before I knew it, I passed out. I only woke up to find my husband raping me, and was unable to protest and passed out again.

When I learned I was pregnant again, I wanted to kill myself. I could not stand to be with him any longer, and knew if I had another baby, I would never be able to leave. I told him I was pregnant, and he was ecstatic. I also told him I would not be keeping it, and terminated the pregnancy two weeks after my daughters birthday. I hated everything about the experience, and it still wakes me up at night seven years later. My only consolation is that I was able to end a terrible relationship, and have met a wonderful man who truly loves me and my daughter. I would love to have another child someday, only if it is right for us.

I regret the act of terminating, but not my reason. I truly feel that I would not have survived in that marriage, and thankfully I was able to make a choice that has allowed me to be the best mother possible.