I was 29 and suddenly alone with 2 babies. Aman was 2 and Aden a newborn, debilitating is not strong enough a word to explain my feelings at the time. Abandoned by family, a social pariah, I struggled through those early days...waiting for a visitor, someone to come by, to chat and break from the humdrum domesticity that was my life, or just to hold the babies while I showered, but nothing. Did I need the additional persecution from our families, from our people, and from our society? Of course I did not, why exactly at the time of being at one's most vulnerable, do people decide it the most opportune moment to disappear?
The sadness can engulf, the pain can become overbearing, but the strength can and does prevail. I read somewhere stronger women give birth to boys, whilst I do not know if is this true I do know they are my source of strength. Whilst I perhaps made mistakes, and indeed during my marriage I did, I didn't deserve this hurt. When some friends stopped calling, when my neighbours' children no longer wanted (or weren't allowed) to play with my sons, or when I was expected to abandon all hope and ambition for them or I, this hurt was immeasurable. Were we three supposed to adhere to society's expectation of us and fail; coming from an Asian Muslim background I may as well have become half a human being without the cachet of a husband, and being a single mother warranted an annihilation beyond belief.
The connotations attached to the title of single parent were an albatross around my neck, how could I fight the world I had always known and make for a new one? Why do the cultural norms outweigh the religious, and which does one tackle first?
It is amazing how one does in fact realise who their friends and in my case who their true family are. The reality in fact took a while to sink in, that the only real family I have were the two on my lap. I fed my sons with joy, my legacy, my pillars of strength. My aunt in as far away as Bangladesh called to tell me there will one day be a man on each of my arms, and my very best friend reminds me every day they are my ambassadors.
A family lawyer myself, but sadly one devoid of any knowledge when it came to my very own divorce, I went through three solicitors, £36,000 less better off, still alone and working every hour God sent to keep the roof over our heads, it was a tough time... Never one to be a strong believer in faith I still cried out to God one night as Aden awoke me from another jagged night of sleep; I was awoken to his demands for "formula" which is what we always called the baby milk. I shook the formula without the bottle lid on, of course the milk spilt all over me, over my already soaken milk drenched breasts, I felt I was a cow. God if you are there help me. And help me He did. Aden is 8 this year, Aman almost 10, both beautiful smart young men. We are the 3 Musketeers, a trio of strength and a force of love.
A single Mum, with both my sons at the most wonderful school for which I have almost bankrupted myself, I am nonetheless hugely proud. Having been through what I have, I am determined to help women avoid the indignity a divorce can bring, the fear, the uncertainty and of course most of all the losses; sociological, psychological and of course financial.
I have not only practiced and lectured law for almost 15 years, I have felt it first hand, I have endured the role of CAFCASS, the solicitors, the barristers, the judges, the courts, in other words the system...it was at points unbearable and I myself am a lawyer. I dread to think how other women endure the same. It is for this reason amongst several others, that I am now the Women's Lawyer - www.thewomenslawyer.co.uk
The words do flow, the liberalization it affords beckons for which I am truly grateful.
The future is ours, my sons and I. I am looking forward to one man on each of my arms, and God willing, Inshallah, one behind too.