Pregnancy and having a new baby mean big changes in your life. For some people, these changes can cause conflict—conflict can sometimes lead to abuse.
Abuse can sometimes begin or get worse during pregnancy. Abuse puts your health and your baby’s health at risk. If you’re physically abused while you’re pregnant, your unborn baby can be badly hurt. Abuse can also cause changes in your baby’s brain development.
What is abuse?
Abuse is any behaviour that’s used to control another person’s actions. Abuse can take many different forms, including:
- pushing, shoving, slapping, choking, shaking or punching
- damaging your belongings
- forcing you to have any sexual activity
- not giving you money or controlling your money
- cheating or stealing
- refusing to talk to you or criticizing you all the time
- limiting your contact with friends and/or family
- threatening to hurt/kill you, your children or a family pet
It’s normal for adults to disagree—but hitting and abuse aren’t normal. Nobody deserves to be hit, abused or to have to see abuse. A lot of people who are abused stay in a relationship to keep their home and family together. However, children who see abuse are harmed by what they see and hear. No one has the right to abuse you or your children. Some forms of abuse are against the law in Canada (e.g., assault).
Some people may have never learned how to solve problems without violence. If you grew up with abuse, it may seem normal to you. It isn’t. There are programs for families and partners who have been abused. Without help it’s likely to get worse. There is help for all members of the family.
If someone is abusing you
If you think someone is abusing you, there are many ways you can get help.
- Talk to someone (e.g., a friend, a family member, a public health nurse or other support people).
- Call the police. Tell them you’re in danger.
- Go to your health care provider or to Emergency. Tell the health care provider how you got hurt. Ask them to write a report.
- Call your local emergency shelter—any time, day or night. You and your children will be safe there.
If you’re new to Canada and you leave someone who is abusing you
- you won’t be deported
- you don’t give up your right to have custody of your children
If you think someone might hurt you, be ready to leave. Make a safety plan. For information and support, call the Family Violence Information Line at 310-1818 (toll-free in Alberta, 24 hours a day, available in more than 170 languages).
For more information please visit: http://www.healthyparentshealthychildren.ca/starting-off-healthy/taking-care-of-yourselves/family-violence/