Surviving Domestic Abuse And Ella's Legacy
Did you know the most dangerous period in an abusive relationship is when the victim leaves? I didn't until it was too late.
After 23 weeks of finger pointing, lack of support and walking around on eggshells I decided to leave the father of my unborn child.
I suffered from extreme morning sickness the first 18 weeks of my pregnancy. I had trouble keeping anything down, and after spending 8 hours at work pretending not to be pregnant, the only thing I wanted to do when I got home was be sick in peace. A little compassion would have been welcomed, but the father of my unborn baby was anything but compassionate.
Depression set in my second trimester after the crippling morning sickness finally resolved. He had lost his job, and my company was in the middle of a merger that any day could have started with a pink slip. He spent his days of unemployment getting high and had zero ambition to find a job that would help me support our growing family.
My patience started running thin. I began to realize the precious baby growing in my belly was worth so much more. Just like he always did, he convinced me to stay. He had me convinced that our love was enough. (But did I know what love was?)
When I was 23 weeks pregnant, he put me through a night of torture and did everything in his power to deprive me of sleep. The next day after he made empty threats I threw my hands in the air and said I was done. He had officially pushed the wrong buttons, and I declared we were over because I wanted to spend the rest of my pregnancy focusing on giving my baby a healthy environment to grow.
To be honest, I never defined my relationship as abusive. Sure he was selfish, unsupportive and easily angered, but he never laid a hand on me or verbally threatened my life. So even if someone would have told me the most dangerous time in an abusive relationship is when you leave, I'm not sure I would have taken extreme caution.
Thirty-three weeks into my pregnancy, the father of my unborn child broke into my home and physically assaulted me. He was the same man who promised when I handed him the positive pregnancy test; this would change everything for the better. The same man who glowed with pride when he pressed his hand up against my growing belly and felt our baby kick for the first time. The man who promised to love me for a lifetime chose to take my life into is own hands. I thought I knew this man; I honestly believed he would never physically hurt me. I was wrong. Later I learned his sole intention of the attack was to murder the precious baby growing inside of me.
On March 15, 2016, my entire world was taken from me in the most heinous way imaginable. Since that day I have had numerous people tell me they do not know how I go on with life. They question how I wake up, how I smile, how I move forward. Each time someone asks this question I give the same response. That man took so much from me; I cannot give him the power to take another thing from me.
For the past two years, I have been trying to become acquainted with this new me. Learning how to live loved after loss and abuse has been an incredibly long and challenging journey. Without God, I do not believe I would be writing this article for you to read today. God is so good because "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds" (Psalm 147:3).
I have read, "when a child is born, it is a mother's instinct to protect the child. When a child dies, it is a mother's instinct to protect their memory." As a bereaved mother and follower of Christ, my life's mission is to spread the light of God. Pure evil took my daughter's life. I whole-heartedly believe it is time to put an end to domestic abuse. 1 in 4 women will encounter an abusive relationship in their lifetime. What if we could be the generation that will change that statistic. Every life that I make an impact on I give my daughter Ella all of the recognition through EllasLegacy. Because without her and the love of my God I would not have the courage to share my story. My daughter's life was not taken in vain. Through her death, lives will be saved.
Hi, my name is Jessica Jackson. I am a bereaved MOTHER to Ella who was born sleeping, and I am a SURVIVOR of domestic abuse. I live in Birmingham, Alabama, where I grew up. I studied finance at The University of Montevallo, where I graduated top of my class. For the past seven years, I have been working for an international brokerage firm. I do not look like what I have been through in my short 30 years of life. I am a lighthearted, energetic, transparent individual who is on a journey to find joy and peace despite my transgressions and suffering. I have a strong desire to one day turn my story and testimony into a book, but until that day comes, you can follow my journey at: www.strongerthanthecycle.com. You can also follow my Instagram posts using #EllasLegacy or my Instagram name: JessicaRJackson and Pinterest: jjacks2388