I stayed single for a long, long time. My kids were my priority, without a doubt.
Cape Town, South Africa
My husband started having affairs when the kids were still quite young. Aashiq was in grade 1 and the little one, Riyaald, was 3 years old. I didn't want my children to see his continuing extramarital activities and the abuse that came with it. So I worked harder to gain financial stability, so I could walk away.
We got divorced in 2007. I was adamant I wouldn’t marry again. My focus was now me and my children, and we started all over from scratch.
Did the divorce affect me? Yes, it was hard, complicated. I read somewhere that the stress of divorce is similar to someone dying, and I get that. My mom and dad have been high school sweethearts and are still married to this day, so they found it hard to see this ‘divorce journey’ that I was making. No one really understood how I felt, what I had gone through and the reasoning behind my decision to walk away, but it’s what I had to do.
I stayed single for a long, long time. My kids were my priority, without a doubt. But I also never lost sight of who I was. I needed to reassure myself that it was going to be okay. I would go out at least twice a month and enjoy myself with my girlfriends. I feel it’s important to look after yourself and be true to the person that you are. I found myself during that time. My true self. And I’m more confident now, more independent. I’m not putting myself on a pedestal, I know I’m not perfect, but I’m proud of who I am.
I was totally adamant I wouldn’t marry again, and then I met Bashir. He’s the most amazing man, ten years older than me, and hadn't been married before. It was super important to me that my boys liked him and that they all got along. I’d been single for 8 years, so I didn't want our relationship to be invasive in any way. This was their space.
We got married in 2015. We only told the boys about the wedding 2 weeks beforehand. They were ecstatic! Bashir moved in with us and we were married for a whole year before we started thinking about having children. We wanted to bond first as a family and as a couple.
My third pregnancy was completely different in many ways. I had a foetal assessment this time, and I had an easier time overall. I was much more aware of what was happening inside me, carrying this little human. I was fascinated by what was going on. I was more mature, more appreciative of the change within me.
The birth was different too. I had the benefit of being on medical aid this time, so I had my own private hospital room. I elected to have a c-section.
I’m a different kind of parent now. When I was much younger I thought dummies were bad for the boys - now I know they’re an absolute lifesaver! The two older boys adore their little brother. They are planning their futures together as siblings - it’s wonderful to watch them all. I hardly ever have to change nappies, feed him, bath him - the two boys do everything! Real brotherly love!
My ex-mother in law, to this day is still very much in the picture too, even though I am divorced from her son. She will move mountains for her grand children. The boys see their dad every second weekend. They see their granny even more than that. They adore her. It’s maybe not the family I would have planned when I was younger, but it all works. We’re happy.