Religion

Forced to give birth at 14, her Christian fundamentalist family treated her baby as a ‘curse’

In a post to Reddit from this week that’s getting a lot of attention, the author started out with a quote from Deuteronomy 23-2: “A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the Lord.”

Reddit user Rinlian_Hiraeth says her story isn’t an uncommon one, but that doesn’t make it any less terrifying.

“I thought I would chime in on the hot topic surrounding abortion in the US,” she wrote in the post from this Tuesday. “This isn’t intended to be a ‘pity me’ story, my story isn’t an uncommon one, and it’s just small chunks of it, but something that needs to be pointed out.”

Rinlian (she didn’t want her real name used for this article), who is now 28, was born when her mother was just 14. Her mother was part of a “Westboro Baptist-type of Christian cult” and wasn’t allowed an abortion. According to Rinlian, her mother wasn’t forced to give birth to her because her family believed all life was precious — “it was a punishment to a teenager who had sex. I was an example of a curse to the rest of the young adults on what happened if you listened to the devil and gave in to earthly urges.”

“I was raised being told I’d never see Heaven, and was going directly to hell for being born out of wedlock at a young age. All the other youth knew it. When the Pastor preached about the horrors of what happened in Hell, I would sit in the pew pale and full of horror. I developed eating problems and was diagnosed with stomach ulcers at age 8 (received no treatment of course after diagnoses. Was a common theme for the bastard child.) All I could think about was I was destined to go to this awful place where worms would eat me alive for all eternity. I was over run with anxiety. I would wake up every morning thinking about how I was getting closer and closer to the day I’d never see my family again and the devil would take me.”

As Rinlian grew older, the social stigma that resulted from her mother’s pregnancy was unescapable. Her mere existence was a “bad influence” on other children, causing their parents to forbid their children to associate with her.

“I would get [dragged] to the front of the church congregation and be forced to pray in front of everyone and repent for things I never did. ANY little thing I did wrong would spark a huge ‘I KNEW IT’ from everyone. It was always something small like asking the wrong question. When the time came I started actually dating someone my age from the youth circle. We where watched like a hawk. As things went south in our relationship, as many first relationships do, he went and told his mother I made him feel like he wanted to have sex. I never ‘did’ anything, but he felt urges. Things exploded in the church. He was brought to the front of the congregation while the pastor shouted about him being a golden, good young man and didn’t deserve to be treated like this as I sat in the front row being stared down by everyone.”

Whenever she hears anti-abortion activists say “all life deserves a chance,” it makes her “want to burn the whole thing down.”

“If you know that bastard kid is going to burn in hell for eternity, why would you insist on bringing it to life?” she writes. “Why would you demand it deserves a chance, and then treat them and the parent like absolute garbage to the point their own mother resents and openly despises their own kid? It’s because it has nothing to do with the child. It’s control.”

To this day, Rinlian has no relationship with her mother.

You can read her full post here.

[Quotes pulled from the post have been slightly edited for grammar]

Featured image: Michael Rose/Flickr

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