I’m writing this because I don’t know if I am overreacting or not. I am worrying that my boyfriend is abusing my daughter.
I am on my maternity leave still so I am home with my daughter all day. She is such a happy, content baby, hardly ever cries. She only fusses when she’s hungry.
My boyfriend (her father) lives here with us. When he gets home from work he’ll take a shower and come get the baby and take her upstairs. Within about 10 minutes of him being up there with her, she usually ends up screaming.
The other night he came down with her screaming so hard that her whole body turned red. I think it’s kind of suspicious that he takes her upstairs or in a different room and the end result is always her screaming.
I didn’t think anything of this until this morning when I was changing her diaper I noticed that she was all red down there. And then I got to thinking and realized that the one day when I was getting her bathwater ready I walked back upstairs and she was undressed (for her bath) and her belly was all red (the lower part of her belly) I asked him why her belly was all red and he said he was just giving her kisses.
I don’t know if I am just overreacting or if I should trust my “motherly instinct” with my suspicions that maybe he is doing something to hurt her.
I don’t want to accuse him if he really isn’t doing anything and I don’t want to just “ignore” the signs if something is really going on.
If I walk upstairs when he is up there alone with her, he almost always comes out of the bedroom before I make it to the top because he can hear me coming. I often try to “sneak” upstairs to see what exactly he is doing. I don’t know what to do. If I ask my family they will just say that I am overreacting and leave it at that.
Can you help me?
What To Do When Suspecting Child Abuse
What a difficult situation for you to be in, my heart goes out to you. The bottom line is, there is enough distrust that the relationship with your boyfriend cannot be a healthy one to bring your little girl up with, regardless if there is abuse.
It is impossible for me to say whether there is abuse or not:
- Your little girl is at the age where it is common not to want to be away from her mother, so crying when she becomes aware you are not there would be normal.
- And when a baby really starts crying and gets angry, then they do turn red.
- Also, the baby’s skin is very soft and sensitive, and going red from kisses from Dad’s rough chin would be quite possible.
So, it is possible that her reactions and her being red have completely natural explanations. And I guess, this is also one of the reasons you feel so uncertain on what to believe.
However, your job is to make sure your baby is safe and if you are not feeling you can trust your partner then it is important to get it out in the open. Firstly, you need support of people who are going to be impartial – and your family probably can’t be.
It is really difficult to involve authorities as situations can spiral out of control, sometimes without cause. However, you need to get some help to decide what is the best way to confront your suspicions. Do you have a lifeline or any telephone counseling service in your area that you can talk to?
In the meantime, don’t leave your baby alone with your boyfriend. You could install a nanny camera in the bedroom, to check out what’s going on. However, doing so is illegal in some countries, so you should definitely talk to some anonymous telephone counseling service about it.
Also, as I said before the lack of trust is serious and if you do install a camera and realize that nothing problematic is going on, you need to consider how to tell your boyfriend what you did.
If you are pretty sure he has interfered with her then you need to take her to your doctor, but be aware, he/she has a duty of care to report it.
This is going to be tough for you, so as much as possible, keep hold of the happy times when your daughter is with you.
The fact that she is not upset and distressed with you shows she is not traumatized, and that is what you want to build on. Abused children can get traumatized as much by the reactions of the family as they do from any abuse, so surround your daughter with love and keep her routines as normal as possible.
My thoughts are with you,
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