'I gave birth - even though I thought I was a virgin'

Published Wednesday, Jan 1 2014, 13:30 GMT  |  By  |  Add comment
After being sexually abused as a child, Tori Gabriel couldn't bear physical intimacy.Yet, miraculously, the 30-year-old from Kent has just had a daughter.

"Everyone says that Christmas magic is for children. But this year, when I wake up on Christmas Day and pick up my three-month-old daughter, Jessica, I'll know miracles really do happen.

Because, for as long as I can remember, I'd been resigned to the fact that I'd never be a mum. I'd look at children and my heart would ache, believing I'd never have one of my own. It was impossible – or, so I thought, for the simple reason I'd never had sex and I was never likely to.

Tori is a mum, even thought she's never had sex

© Angela Nott

Tori is a mum, even though she's never had sex

Yet, despite incredible odds, this year I managed to conceive and give birth to a gorgeous baby girl who I love more than anything else in the world.

My fear of sex started when I was nine, after a 16-year-old boy lured me into a garage and abused me.

When I emerged from that garage, shaking and crying, I was a different person. I became quiet, withdrawn, nervous around strangers. And as I hit my teens and my natural curiosity in boys arose, I was confused – and scared.

In my mind, sex was something to be afraid of. Something dirty. I had boyfriends but I couldn't go any further than kissing. Once I felt their hands stray, my heart would quicken, my palms became clammy and I'd panic, pulling away. But teenage boys aren't very patient.

'You're dumped,' they'd say. 'You're frigid!' In fact, I was just terrified.

I was 18 when I told my mum what happened. She found me crying and I told her my boyfriend unzipped his trousers when we'd been kissing in his bedroom.

'I was so scared, I threw up,' I sobbed. 'He told me I must be a lesbian.'

The whole ugly truth spilled out about the abuse. Mum was horrified she hadn't known and encouraged me to get support. I told my GP and even went to a counsellor for six months, but nothing helped.

Over the years, I watched boyfriends leave when they knew I wouldn't have sex.

I tried to fancy women, reasoning it was men I found so scary. But of course, I couldn't make myself. It was men I liked but, without sex, would anyone like me?

By the time I was in my mid-20s, I'd resigned myself to a life alone. Not only would I never have a physical relationship, I also knew my fears of anyone touching me intimately meant I'd never have a family. "I'm broken," I told myself. "I'll never find anyone able to put up with me."

Tori is delighted to have a family

© Angela Nott

Tori is delighted to have a family

People say you find love when you stop looking. I met Steve at a Halloween party in 2009 when my sister's boyfriend introduced us. He was funny and gorgeous.

We kissed at the end of the night and, later that week, he took me out.

Over the next few months, I was the happiest I'd ever been but I was waiting for it to end. As soon as Steve found out how scared I was, he'd flee.

Three months into our relationship, we were at his house when his hand strayed towards my skirt. As I stopped him, I blurted out the truth. When I finished talking, I waited for him to tell me it was over. But he told me he could wait.

'But I might never be able to have sex with you,' I said. 'That's OK,' he said. 'I love you.'

I couldn't believe him…

But true to his word, Steve didn't pressure me. Instead of ending thngs, two years later he asked me to marry him.

We had the perfect day, followed by a honeymoon in Tunisia. With such a wonderfully romantic setting, I wondered if this was the time for us to try having sex.

We tried and, although we didn't succeed, we came closer than we ever had before. Together, we managed to satisfy Steve without having intercourse.

Back home, we talked about having a family. We'd both always wanted children, so we discussed fostering or adoption.

I couldn't believe how lucky I was to have found such a patient, caring man.

But last January, I was at work when I realised my period was late. Immediately ruling out pregnancy, I started searching online, terrified it was something serious.

Noticing my distress, a colleague asked if I was OK. I explained I was four days late and she insisted I take a pregnancy test. Unwilling to unveil my no-sex secret, I took one. And it was positive.

"I told you," my colleague beamed. But I just stared at her in disbelief. How? How?

Unable to believe it, I bought six tests – all positive. But it wasn't until I heard my baby's heartbeat at the 12-week scan that I finally believed I was going to be a mum.

The only way my GP could explain my pregnancy was that Steve must have super-strong sperm and I'd conceived after we'd been fooling around.

Because of my fears, I gave birth to Jessica via Caesarean section. As soon as I held her in my arms, I fell in love. At 10lb 10oz, with the darkest eyes I'd ever seen, she was gorgeous – and now, at three months old, she still is.

I hope one day I'll be able to have sex with my husband – and perhaps conceive a child in the traditional way. But for now, I'm just so grateful for the little girl I thought I'd never have.'

By Anna Wharton and Sarah Whiteley