My Journey With Mental Health [Part Two]

“Change and transition can be scary. But they can also be rather extraordinary. A time to grow, a time to develop and refine us as a person.”

“Change and transition can be scary. But they can also be rather extraordinary. A time to grow, a time to develop and refine us as a person.”

I’ve always believed that I had a strong intuition. Something instinctively guiding me when I need it the most. However I’ve always lacked strength to follow through.

I guess to a certain extent, we all do that. We usually already know the answer and what we have to do, but it’s courage we lack. Because if we had the courage to follow through, it would throw us into the oblivion of change and uncertainty and as humans, it’s natural to fear the element of the unknown.

I remember having a dream, that upon hearing the news of my pregnancy, my in-laws gave my husband an ultimatum that would destroy our marriage. I had this dream a week before my in-laws actually did give my husband ‘the ultimatum’.

Feeling unsettled, I awoke from my dream and laughed at my overactive imagination. I shook it off and tried to push it out of my mind because well, I thought people can’t possibly be that unjust and heartless, right? There it was again, my naivety.

Upon hearing of my difficulties and struggles within my marriage, my workplace encouraged me to go home for 2 weeks to spend some time with my family and be around a positive support system so that I can primarily focus on my health – physical and mental. The 2 weeks apart was crucial for my husband and I, because I really needed him to think about what he wants to do, his priorities, what he wants out of the marriage, out of me and what type of family he wants.

He had arranged to visit his family during our time apart to tell them of my pregnancy and relocation to Manchester. He had promised my family at the last visit that when coming to pick me up at the end of these 2 weeks, he would tell them of his decision too, to keep them at ease.

To me, it was important to leave him alone for a while because I too needed to see what decision he comes up with on his own without any ‘influence’ or ’emotional pleas’ from me. I needed to see him handle his family alone without me. There was a huge risk that by him going to his family alone, they would fill his head with toxicity and he would be swayed by their judgment quite easily. But I still needed to know that he’s able to be a man and make a decision and stand up for his own little family (me and our baby). I had never been away from him for this long and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t going to miss him.

I remember the night before my departure like it was yesterday. I was in our flat that evening and I wanted us to leave on a positive note. I made all his favourites for dinner, I wore my new knee length emerald green dress which was gently pinched at the waist. It was a recent purchase but I just never had a reason or occasion to wear it. I made my hair look pretty and put a little bit more effort into my makeup. I just wanted him to see me. Really see me, just once.

It was nearly time for him to come home from work, so I hurriedly finished dinner. He came in and came straight to the kitchen where I was. “I know what you’re trying to do” he said with a smirk on his face. “I just want us to leave on a good note, that’s all.” I replied slightly disappointed in his reaction. My efforts of dressing up for him went completely unnoticed.

We had dinner in silence, tidied up and sat on the sofa together to watch TV. He always sat so far away from me as though he had his own designated side to the sofa. I always did find it incredibly strange because it’s only us two in the flat with no other prying eyes. He was so formal with me. I sat close to him and took his hand in mine. I anxiously told him that I want to talk about us. I was nervous about talking about my feelings again because of his track record of disregarding them.

As soon as I started speaking, my eyes welled with tears. I was as open and sincere as I could be. I told him that I really want us to work on this marriage, that I’ll work on myself and do more as a wife and try to make him happier with me but it takes two to make a relationship work.

I told him my fears of having no support from him or anyone around me in London during my pregnancy and especially when the baby is born. I begged him to consider relocating to Manchester even on a trial basis for 1 year and I will personally attend to the needs of his family and ensure that I am doing everything I can to maintain those relationships. I told him that I had envisioned a better relationship with his family due to being a little closer, perhaps they will feel better too knowing that their grandchild is closer to them, we can invite them over more regularly on the weekends for family meals together. I told him that if after 1 year, he is genuinely miserable we will move to a mutually agreed location.

I couldn’t have been any more fair than that…My venting was met with comments such as; “But I’ve done so much for you.” “It’s usually the woman who follows the man, not the other way around.” “I know so many women who give birth alone. My mum gave birth away from her family too so why can’t you? You just get on with it.”

I never understood where his mind was at, despite trying hard to understand. I just needed reassurance from him, that’s all I needed. Reassurance that he’d take care of me. Something I’ve very rarely felt in our marriage. And even if he had lied at that point and told me what I wanted to hear, I would have taken it, because that’s how desperate I was to hold onto ‘us’. Or maybe it was the idea of ‘us’…a broken yet familiar version. But I knew where we were heading and it was time I stopped trying so hard to explain my feelings to him.

I should have realised that he is what he is and that’s all he’s capable of being. Some males just aren’t capable of giving more, or being anything more. I just didn’t realise that expecting the bare minimum would be this difficult for him. And I never thought that I would have to beg to be given some importance whilst being pregnant. All I’ve ever asked him to be is ‘fair and just’, but I guess that too, is too much for some males.

Growing up, we’re taught so often to ignore the bad and focus on the good, to see the best in people. But I was slowly learning that it is equally important, if not more to see people as they are, not who we want them to be. No matter how much we want them to be different, to be better, they won’t change.

I’ve thought about this quite a lot and I’ve come to the conclusion that people are definitely capable of change. If someone truly wants to change, they will. Whether it’s for someone they love or for themselves. But they will only do so if they accept that their habits are causing harm to someone else. If they don’t accept that they have done anything wrong or ever contributed to your suffering then there’s no reason for them to change.

You could scream, break down, anything – nothing would have an affect on them, because they believe that they have not contributed to it. It’s almost as though there’s an inferiority complex that is instilled in them – perhaps from childhood, due to upbringing or external factors such as friends and school etc. Regardless, 2 and a half years later I was learning how little I meant to him and my place in his life.

The next day was my first scan and also the day I travel home. He accompanied me to my scan and I prayed this would soften his heart towards me – seeing our little baby on the screen and hearing the heartbeat for the first time. As we sat in the waiting room amongst the other couples eagerly waiting our turn, I had forgotten about our problems for a little while. I felt like we were a ‘normal’ couple just for that moment and it felt, good. I was in a great mood after the scan.

We walked out of the hospital, like a formal unmarried couple. I was much shorter in comparison to him and a slower walker. I would always end up trailing behind a little when walking. I hurried my pace until I was by his side and slid my small hand into his. I reassured him yet again that I want us both to make this work, that I will consider compromising (as always) because I know he won’t ever budge in his ways for me. I told him that I would consider staying in London even though this means that I would physically, emotionally and mentally struggle even more.

However, I also made clear that I need these 2 weeks to outweigh the pro’s and cons of both; staying in London and relocating to Manchester. “The end decision is yours Safura. I am happy either way with whatever you decide.” he said happily. I foolishly mistook his happy mood for being happy about sharing the experience of the scan with me, but in fact he was relying on me staying in London so that he can fulfil his dream of living the ‘London life’.

We were on our way to Kings Cross station and suddenly he said something that caught me off guard. He said that he wants to move back to his parents home. I froze. He had always made clear to me, before the wedding and throughout the marriage that he never wants to live in his hometown, and contrary to the act he puts on in front of everyone else, he was very open to me about his dislike towards his family’s ways, mindset and traditions.

Little did I know it was me he was putting the act on in front of. I couldn’t help but let out a loud “What?!” He continued to explain that he has always wanted to live with his family longterm but couldn’t because of me. My mouth dropped open in dismay. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Because of me?

  • He had told my family and I before we were married that he doesn’t see eye to eye with his family and clashes with their mentality and therefore cannot live with them.
  • Various points throughout the marriage – he would tell me he dislikes his hometown and wants nothing more than to move out of that ‘ghost town’.
  • He disliked calling his parents from London, and despite my differences with his family, I would encourage him to call them every week at least, without fail and to be more involved in the lives of his sisters and younger brother, because he was always so disconnected with them.
  • When we would visit his family on a weekend, he would book the latest train there on a Saturday and tell me to lie to his family and tell them that the journey takes 2 hours, as opposed to 1 hour – because his family will then expect him to come more often. He would also book the earliest train back to London on a Sunday because he couldn’t wait to get out.
  • In one of the many ‘talks/arguments’ we had with his family in the past – His mother told me that they have always had an issue with him not wanting anything to do with the family and being distant, ‘before I came into the picture’.
  • When I found out that I was pregnant, I had planned cute pregnancy reveals for his entire family because I was so excited and wanted to share the good news with them. I was more excited about sharing the news with his side than my own family because deep down, I had hoped that his family might like me more or accept me if they knew I was pregnant…but he told me not to tell his family and to wait “as long as possible” to tell them. Maybe because he knew his parents will do what they do best and try and control him.

I was not going to accept this random accusation. It was clear he had lied to me for the entire marriage, made me believe one thing when the reality was completely different. His masks were slowly falling off and It was becoming increasingly difficult to paint him in a different light. I knew exactly why he was saying this now.

He was petrified of visiting his family in my absence. He was absolutely petrified of being a man with responsibility, a father. He wasn’t capable. And the best case scenario for him at this point is to save himself and do what he knows his parents will tell him to do. I tried really hard to ignore his comment because I wasn’t going to see him for 2 weeks and I did not want to leave on a bad note.

We got to Kings Cross station, I stood in the first class cabin at the doors and was overcome with a feeling of heaviness in my chest. I don’t know what it was, maybe my intuition preparing me for the departure, my final departure. Once again, my eyes welled with tears as he took my hands in his and kissed them goodbye. I smiled, because it was the first time in 2 years he touched me by his own accord.

I know…it’s really sad and humiliating for me to admit that, but the simple act of physical touch is one my love languages and it meant a lot to me… I took my seat and stared at him with wide eyes through the window, watching his head buried in his phone. Little did I know, that would be the last time I would see him.

The next day I sat down to make a list to outweigh the pro’s and cons for Manchester and London. My main reasons for wanting to relocate were;

  • To be closer to both families (Manchester was literally directly in between his hometown and mine, so we literally can’t be any more fair than that) – in order to be more accessible and get help with my new baby if need be.
  • I want our child to grow up not only knowing both of our families, but to have an amazing relationship with both sides which include regular visits so we can all create memories together.
  • Cheaper living costs in Manchester as opposed to London.

I called my husband and read out my list to him. It’s nothing he hadn’t heard before. I even looked into some bigger flats in London which would be better suited to us with a growing family – which I told him about, but he wasn’t keen on considering. I also told him about some flats I found in Manchester too in excitement. I had covered all avenues and presented him with options and a plan. I let him know that I’m edging towards relocation for the sake of our new little growing family.

He laughed hysterically. “So…you’ve made your mind up.” “Well yeah…that’s what I’m edging towards.” I replied. “How can you do this? This isn’t what we agreed!” he exclaimed. “But you told me that you were happy either way and that it was my decision?” I said in confusion. “Because I thought you’d just stay in London!” he yelled. “Did you even make a list? Why am I the only one who is losing my mind about all of this. I’m trying to make a plan but you’re not even willing to consider anything. What’s on your list?” I said. “I haven’t had the time to make a list yet.” he replied. “Well I’m asking you now to tell me your points in favour of staying in London?” He proceeded to tell me his two reasons:

  • I want to stay in London because my current job is based there.
  • I want to stay in London based on future possibilities of me wanting to change jobs.

“Is that it?” I said thinking he was going to say more. “Yeah” he replied. “And are our baby or your wife on your list?” I asked slightly taken back. “Erm…I don’t know.” he laughed. His two reasons for wanting to stay in London only verified his selfishness. Something I knew all along but constantly chose to ignore. What I found infuriating was that his boss had agreed to accommodate to our situation and gave him the thumbs up to working from home for 3 weeks of the month and travel into London for 1 week. His accommodation would also be arranged by his boss at no added cost. This was the best case scenario for him, yet it still wasn’t enough.

I had to realise that I can’t change his priorities, because I’m no one to him. I can’t force him to give me a place in his life. This is something he needs to sit down and decide for himself. I couldn’t help but remember a random rainy Sunday afternoon in a cafe in Shoreditch. Out of the blue he said “When men find out that they have a baby on the way. Why do they feel the need to drop what they’re doing and change for their wife or child. I don’t agree with it at all. I don’t want to stop what I’m doing or change. I should be able to do whatever I want to do.”

I remember feeling slightly worried. I wasn’t pregnant at the time, but it was made clear that responsibility frightened him. His priorities also became much more clear – for him career was number one. And it wasn’t to establish himself for his family or to give them a better life. It was purely for self importance and self worth.

Fast forward to Friday. The day he planned to visit his family to share the ‘good’ news of the pregnancy and the possibility of us relocating to Manchester. I nervously waited all day for a text or call from him to tell me how the talk went, constantly checking my phone. We both already had a feeling that they wouldn’t take it well, because we both always knew that they were far from understanding or fair.

1:00am. I had still heard nothing. The next morning, I woke up and checked my phone anxiously. Still nothing. I grew increasingly worried…

“Is everything okay?” I text. “It went very badly.” he replied. I pushed for a phone call so that we could talk, but he said he’s not in a good place right now and a phone call would make it worse. I was going insane with my thoughts from yesterday and really needed to know what happened, so I kept calling him until he picked up. “This is all your fault! You’ve ruined everything!” he yelled. I had never heard such anger and resentment in his tone towards me before.

I tried to calm him down and understand what actually happened but it was no use. He told me that his parents gave him ‘an ultimatum’ and if we decide to move to Manchester or anywhere that I suggest, they will cut him off completely. I sunk back into the chair that I was sat in, encapsulated in utter disbelief and denial. My dream. It’s actually happening. This can’t be real, I thought to myself.

My husband continued to yell at me on the phone. “The relationship with you and my family is fucked! you have never done anything for them. Tell me what the fuck they have ever done to you. You have caused all the arguments in that house!” I was speechless. I couldn’t do or say anything. I was hurt at not only what he was saying, but how he was talking to me. I didn’t recognise him.

And just when I thought the situation can’t get any worse, he told me that his mum accused my elder brother of behind the mastermind behind all of this and that she is convinced that the only reason I’m pregnant is because my elder brother told me to try for children. Readers, I’m just going to give you all a moment to re-read that part again, because It took me a while to digest that…

Needless to say, I was hysterical upon hearing this. How is my elder brother still at the tip of this woman’s tongue? What a disgusting thought to have! I was convinced that there is something horribly wrong with the people in his family, namely his mum. She actually thinks that the only reason her son and I had relations was because my elder brother ‘scheduled’ it in for us. I can’t even type this without feeling sick. It just sounded…tribalistic.

It took me a while to digest this absurd claim and I was fuming. I asked him what his response was to this. “Erm..I told her that it’s wrong…obviously” he hesitated. The hesitation in his reaction made me question the way in which he must have spoken to his family and what he actually told them. Because that’s all it comes down to really doesn’t it? Conviction.

What he was going there to do wasn’t a big deal at all and did not warrant his family’s reaction or his. Even though his parents said to him that they will cut him out if he chooses to relocate to anywhere that I suggest – he could have easily reassured them that he isn’t letting them go. That relocating closer to them is a GOOD thing, not BAD. If they want to cut him out, fine. But he will go and visit them every day if he has to. Whether they open the door to him or not, he will be there.

The reaction from his family just showcased their intentions and bad faith. Because there was no logical explanation for being that worked up after being told they are to become grandparents for the first time and that we are deciding to move closer to them. For them, there were only two options:

  1. Move back in with them
  2. Stay far away in London

It was clear that their only concern was to undermine me and ‘my family’ and to ensure that their son goes against what ‘we’ say – despite my family having nothing to do with our decision of moving to Manchester. My husband was not all innocent in this either. Because from what I know of him, he loved remaining the middle man in everything. Because what this does is, It safeguards him because nobody can essentially point any fingers at him for taking a side or making a decision.

He also loved hiding behind me and throwing me and my family under the bus to save himself. I was so certain that he would have gone home and played the “Safura and her family are making me move to Manchester, I don’t want to but they’re forcing me and I’m struggling, help me” card. I cut the phone off because quite frankly, that is all I could stomach that early in the morning.

If a family, upon hearing that they are going to be grandparents for the first time – cannot solely be overwhelmed by that happy news and instead be so pre-occupied about controlling the marriage, then there is something horribly wrong with them and I want my child to have nothing to do with any of those tribalistic beings.

I ran into the bathroom to get some privacy and allowed myself to burst into tears. The type of tears where you can’t control. The type where it physically hurts. I covered my mouth because I didn’t want my family to hear me or see me, not like this…

I eventually pulled myself together and thought – you have always asked God for a sign and He has always presented you with endless opportunities to see their true colours yet you kept choosing to ignore it. Don’t make the same mistake again because this time, it isn’t just about you, it’s also about your baby.

I text him to tell him that I’ve decided to take care of myself and my baby on my own and won’t be returning to London or anywhere near his family. I went downstairs and told my mum what he had said to me…still confused as to what actually happened with the talk. Upon receiving my text, he began flooding my phone with texts and calls for me to talk to him. I ignored him because I had nothing else to say to him.

My elder brother decided to text him to find out his side of the story – his attempt at being fair was only met by disrespect from my husband. He had always been disrespectful towards my elder brother/guardian because his family had always instilled in him that my family doesn’t have any value, especially my elder brother. For a 27 year old to disrespect a 39 year old, made me feel so ashamed that I was his wife. I told my elder brother not to attempt to contact him again and to stop being so polite with him because he never deserved it in the first place.

He was due to have another talk with his family the following day. Needless to say, I had no contact with him and was kept in the dark yet again. I always did find it strange, how whenever he was with his family it was as though he has no wife. Almost as though he is afraid or embarrassed to be a husband.

Anyway, after receiving no further information from him, I questioned his intentions of involvement with our child and asked him if he wants custody. No reply. The next few days, he was extremely difficult to get hold of. I was left in the dark again. He didn’t care about his pregnant wife at all. My thoughts were driving me insane. I felt broken but was adamant on not showing how I really felt to my family. They had never seen me as ‘vulnerable’ and I wanted to keep it that way. It was difficult, battling with myself to remain collected in-front of them when all I wanted to do was break down.

A few days later, I called him to understand what on earth actually happened when he went home and talked to them, what was said, what actually made them give him an ultimatum and most importantly why he’s keeping me in the dark. Once again, the way he spoke to me was out of the ordinary. I didn’t recognise him. It didn’t feel like him. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but he was, different. He was talking to me like I was his biggest enemy. He wasn’t happy about me asking about custody. But what did he expect? How long did he think I was going to put up with their ways?

He accepted my decision to not return to London and just disconnected himself from me and the baby with a click of a finger. And I think that hurt the most, because throughout the marriage, despite me struggling I still couldn’t allow myself to give up. I continuously wanted to make it work and made active efforts to do that. But now, when I’m at my most vulnerable, physically and mentally, I’m not allowed to have any sort of reaction to his family’s stupidity and his cowardice. I’m expected to remain completely calm and in control.

Heartbroken. I stopped sleeping. I stopped eating. I was full of anger, hate, hurt and confusion. With every day that went by, there was no contact from him. In fact, when I told him that I won’t be returning to London, he informed his parents immediately who instead of using their position as parents to advise him to fix things with me or to contact me themselves to find out what happened or even contact my family, they started planning to help him get rid of my belongings. It all made perfect sense…this is what they wanted from the beginning.

Feeling alone and helpless, I contacted one of his cousins. She was older than us and I always liked her because of her neutrality and calm demeanour. I rang her and told her the good news of my pregnancy. I was just over 3 months at the time and she was over the moon! I told her that I have some bad news too and suddenly started crying. I mustered the courage to tell her what was going on with my husband and I.

I told her the limited information that I had from him – that his parents have given an ultimatum to him. She refused to believe me. I told her that I too can’t believe it but I’m struggling to get anything else out of him and I don’t know the details. She asked me if she can contact him to find out what’s going on and I agreed. I had hoped she would have better luck getting through to him than me.

At the end of the day, she called me back to relay her conversation with him. She listed the things he had said to her and luckily, I wrote them down. You see, my husband had a ‘selective memory’ like most men I assume. But he would somehow manage to mix up and erase events and conversations in his mind almost immediately after it’s happened to best suit him.

Reality would be drastically different compared to the events in his mind and It baffled me every time how someone could be like this. One of the major downfalls to this is that you can never hold him accountable to anything he says or does because he conveniently, doesn’t remember his faults or anything that he’s said or done. Anyway, the list was as follows:

  • All the issues in his household are caused by me. His family have done nothing to me.
  • I over react and I’m triggered by little petty things.
  • He doesn’t want to babysit me anymore. He needs a wife and not a baby.
  • I’m using the baby as a pawn to get what I wants.
  • He’ll move to Manchester and lose his family but then he also wants my family cut out of the picture too.
  • I have thrown the divorce card too many times.
  • He’s done everything in the marriage but I turn every happy moment into a negative one.
  • I have too many expectations of him.
  • I use the mental abuse card all the time. Her family has caused me mental abuse too. Maybe I should also use that card.

As I was listening to these claims, It felt like my heart was being pulled out of my chest. I was devastated. My husband, my best friend, the man I loved and gave my life to is saying these things about me to his cousin. I was in denial. Complete and utter denial. I didn’t want to believe, no…I couldn’t believe that he said these things about me. I stopped his cousin from talking immediately because I couldn’t bear to hear anymore. I told her that I needed to hear this directly from his mouth to believe it and I put down the phone.

Feeling shattered, I called him immediately. “Is it true? All those things your cousin told me? I really…I just need to hear it directly from you. Please I need to…just tell me if you said those things” I said with a broken voice. “What the fuck do you think, I’m not the one who told her a sob story, you did. And I told her exactly what you’re like.” he sniggered hysterically with a raised voice. “You’ve been unreachable for the last week, I asked her to reach you and told her exactly what you told me. Did you say those things about me? You tried to ruin my character? I need you to say those things to me. I really need to hear you say them to me…” I cried. I repeated each and every claim back to him. “Did you say any of these?” he didn’t respond.

“Do we mean nothing to you? me and the baby? I put you first for 2 whole years, I took pride in looking after you, in being your wife. I did everything for you and you try and taint my character..” I bawled. I had lost all control at this point. I was a complete mess. Desperate to find an ounce of humanity in him, a small sign that he still cared about me or even loved me. In our darkest days, sometimes that’s all we want and need, a companion. Someone to lay down your burdens to. Someone to lean on.

What I received instead were comments such as “Just that you’re pregnant do you think you can ask for whatever you like? Just get over it.” and “You have an unhealthy attachment to your family.” He told me to come back and visit his family because apparently I “owe them after what I have put them through.” Almost as though he wanted me to ‘sacrifice’ myself and give his family the satisfaction of yelling at a pregnant woman.

He also said something to me which left me more confused than to begin with. He told me that he never said that his parents gave him an ultimatum and that I had made it all up. Wallahi, I didn’t think it was possible for me to feel as low as I did. I couldn’t deal with this, not right now. Once our phone call ended, it was 3am. I stayed sat in the middle of the living room floor, completely still. Silent. As my tears fell uncontrollably from my eyes. I was grief-stricken and lost.

My nights were dreadful. I was in one of the worst places mentally. I would close my eyes tight in hope I would somehow fall asleep and forget everything just for a while, because every part of me was exhausted. But my mind kept me awake all night. Forcefully replaying our two years of marriage together as I questioned each and every memory. Was any of it real? Did I ever really know him?

I couldn’t get myself to even look at our pictures together on my phone because it all felt like a lie. It made me sick to my stomach. I was sharing a room with my sister whilst staying with my mum and I would silently sob myself to sleep every night, tightly muffling my own mouth so that I wouldn’t make any noise.

During the days, I would randomly burst into tears and my mum would hurry over to me and try to console me. I would tell her to please stay back and just let me cry it out because I need to. I desperately need to. She would try her best, but whenever it would happen she would look at me with her helpless wide eyes full of pain. I knew she wanted to take away every ounce of pain that I was feeling. That’s the beauty of mothers…

With everyday that went by without contact from him, broke me that little bit more. I didn’t understand how someone can disconnect so suddenly with the woman who is carrying his child. I was so angry at him but I still wanted answers. I called him again and again, constantly questioning him why he’s not actually telling me what happened the day of the talk. But I’d get nothing from him other than more distance, anger and disregard. I completely lost it.

“You’ve taken 2 years of my life and I’m not going to let any of you do any more damage. I’m done. You and your family are all dead to me.” I yelled as he listened calmly. I wanted him to react, anything was better than silence. How can a normal living breathing human being be so cold hearted and distant in this situation. I just wanted to remind him that I’m still here, that I’m still hurting. But the truth was, he knows I’m here, he just doesn’t care.

You’re probably wondering how my family were like amidst this chaos. I think my mum was affected the most because out of everyone in my family she was the pillar of hope. Throughout the entire marriage, she would be the one who constantly gave him benefit of the doubt, even when it was difficult to do so. She took his side over anyone else’s despite his wrongdoings and loved him like her own son. His every mistake was met with love and nurturing to help him grow and be a better person, for me.

My elder brother was deeply upset, but he’s not one to wear his emotions on his sleeve. It was almost as though he was in denial. Even though he knew from the start that we were heading down this road, he kept holding onto hope. Hope that maybe just maybe, he will realise what he’s doing. I admired their approach – they never encouraged me to leave him. They never told me their opinion because the last thing they wanted was to sway my judgement. “I’m sorry that it may feel like we’re leaving you alone in this, but the end decision has be yours and yours alone.” is what they would say to me.

Truth is, I did want them to tell me what to do. I wanted someone to tell me outright that they don’t want me going back to him. I didn’t want the responsibility of making that decision because I was so afraid. I didn’t want to accept any of the mistreatment him and his family have put me through and I definitely didn’t want that for my child. I can’t go back to that with a baby. But the thought of being alone through my pregnancy terrified me…I felt weak and reliant on him. I didn’t have the strength to just leave despite a huge part of me telling me that I had to.

After much deliberation and internal battle with myself, I felt like I needed to go back and see him in front of me. I needed to see his body language, his face. I needed to hear him insult me, criticise me in person, just one last time because I was denial. I wanted to go back and lay all of our issues on the table and see what we can and can’t work on. I felt like I had to try, just one last time, so that I can look my child in the eyes and be confident when I say I did everything I could.

I was terrified to go back. I didn’t trust him and every ounce of me was telling me not to go. I informed my family of my decision and I could see the fear in their eyes of me returning but they didn’t stop me. They told me to do what I need to do for my marriage. And if I need closure and want to try to see if it can work, then I should go.

I felt like this was my last chance to salvage…anything with him. I had a momentary lapse of judgement and ended up texting my mother in law pleading for her to talk to me for the sake of her grandchild. Asking her why she isn’t happy that I’m pregnant and why she doesn’t care that she’s going to be a grandmother. I hated this side of me. This need of wanting closure from everyone! Why couldn’t I just accept that they don’t like me.

To no surprise, she ignored all of my texts. I didn’t have any pride when I text her and my intentions were clean. And although I felt really stupid for begging her to talk to me and accepting my child, I felt some relief that at least I had the decency to try.

I informed my husband that I’m returning to London. He told me to make my own way to the train station. I told him that I’ll physically need help and as a husband, the least he can do is get me from my family’s home with respect, especially after everything he’s put us through. This didn’t sit well with him. He said he doesn’t owe my family anything. I explained that this isn’t for them, it’s for his wife who is carrying his child.

Eventually he agreed to come to the house to pick me up. I think his sudden cooperation and talking to me like I’m an actual person – was primarily because he was trying to lure me back to London with him permanently…I made it clear that me returning to London is not me accepting what is happening and that I am not returning to stay. It’s to see if we can salvage anything and if we can work through our issues one last time. I made clear that there is a high chance that we won’t be able to move past certain issues and we must explore the option of separating.

He came to my younger brothers house where I was staying. My mum opened the door and he stepped back in fear. My mum invited him inside and after hesitating, he entered fretfully. I came down the stairs slowly as I collected my items and entered the living room. “Hi Saf” he said with a smile on his stupid face. Really? After these 2 weeks, “Hi Saf” is all I get and that too with a smile? I wanted to slap him across his smug face and I really wish my mum did too. (A girl can dream right…)

My mum gave him a pep talk before allowing us to leave. “I am allowing her to go back with you on the basis that you treat her well. She isn’t a burden to me, do you understand me? If I hear anything from her, I will bring her right back without hesitation. She’s not going back with you so that you can do what you like with her and make her visit your family in the state that she is in. She doesn’t owe them anything.” she said firmly. Mum then turned to me and said. “You are not sacrificing yourself, do you hear me? I am not sending you back to bend your back for him or his family. You think about your health and your baby no one else and remember that I am always here.”

I instantly started crying as we embraced. I held on for a little longer, because I was afraid of going back with him. I wanted mum to stop me and tell me to stay. She kissed me on my cheek and off I went. With every step I took outside the house I kept looking back. I felt like I was making a huge mistake. Every ounce of me was telling me to turn back and go inside back to my mum.

For the entire journey back, he was completely silent. We got into London and something was happening on the tubes, which made it extra busy. I hadn’t seen it this cramped before. We managed to get onto the platform and wait for the tube. The platform soon filled up behind us as people started pushing each other to make room.

I was standing close to the edge and a group of teenagers were stood next to me. There was no room on that platform to even wiggle around or even decide to exit and I began to grow increasingly worried as I kept trying to step back. The group next to me kept shouting “we have to push when the train comes okay? BARGE!” And I was really frightened. People kept nudging me in my spine from behind. I held onto my little bump with both hands as I tried to calm myself down.

The tube came onto the platform and I could feel that I was about to have a panic attack. The doors to the tube opened and there was a surge of people who got off and another surge of people pushing to get on in the sam moment. I started to cry and turned to my husband and said I can’t do this. I was caught right in the middle and received more nudges to my bump. I cried more as I desperately tried to find a way off the platform. People started staring at me as they saw me cry and panic. By the grace of God, a random middle aged man saw me amongst the crowd and saw how other women pushed me out of the way. “Can’t you all see that she’s pregnant! She’s struggling! Let her get off the damn platform. Make room for her!” He yelled as he pushed a few women out of the way with his hands. I couldn’t stop crying. Others began to follow his lead and pave a path for me.

I was so grateful, more than he knew. I found a corner where there were less people and stood there to catch my breath. I took a few deep breaths as I tried to calm myself down. My husband came near me and said “aww, Saf come here” and tried to pull me in for a hug. I pushed him back and yelled “Get away from me!” Inconsiderately, he urged me to try to get on the busy platform again and I told him that I just need a moment to catch my breath. Once the platform seemed at it’s usual level of busy, I took a deep breath, managed to get through and onto the tube. The rest of the journey home was also in complete silence. I felt really sick towards him, especially how he didn’t even help me on the platform. I really wished I had stayed with mum.

We got back to our flat around 11pm. I was exhausted. I went straight to our room to unpack and there at the end of the bed were my clothes that looked like they had been taken out of the cupboard. And on top of the chest of drawers were all my underwear/lingerie folded. “Wh..what is this?” I stuttered in confusion. “You said you weren’t coming back. My dad was going to help me pack up your things.” he replied calmly.

I took a deep breath in and exhaled as I told myself to stay calm. I slowly waddled over to the pile of clothes and started putting things back in the wardrobe. He watched me as I sorted through the clothes. Without saying anything or even offering to help, he walked into the living room and sat down engrossed in his phone. It took me about 1 hour to sort through everything and also unpack my suitcase. My back was in agony. I sat down on the bed for a moment as I tried to rub my own back for temporary relief.

He came back into the room, “so when are we going to have the talk then?” he said. “Incase you haven’t noticed. I’m still pregnant. I’m exhausted from the journey, from the “little” mishap on the platform, from putting my clothes away that you so conveniently took out and left out, so we won’t be having a talk today.” I said firmly. Like a robot that hadn’t been programmed correctly, he just stared at me blankly and then walked back into the living room.

Whilst I was tidying my things away, I came across a small puffy bear print jacket that I bought for our baby as soon as I found out that I was pregnant. I sat on the bed with the jacket in my hands and burst into tears because I felt like a failure. I tried to quieten my sobs as I held the baby jacket close to me. I looked down at my growing miracle, put my hands on my bump and whispered “I’m really trying.”

I had an idea. I called my husband to the bedroom and handed him two sheets of paper. I told him to write a list of issues, complaints and dislikes he has about me on one sheet. And a list of complaints and issues he has against my family on the second sheet. And I will do the same about him and his family. I suggested we have the talk tomorrow. He looked at me as though I had insulted him or something. He took the sheets of paper, exhaled in anger and stormed off back into the living room.

I could hear the quick scribbles of his pen against the paper and the sounds of him slamming the pen on the table every once in a while. This person who I was with in the flat, didn’t feel like my husband. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I just didn’t recognise him. He’s been different since the moment he went home to his family to have the talk. You see, my elder brother was also a ‘raaqi’ as a side profession. He had always had a strange feeling about his family and always told me to be careful, especially seen as his family didn’t allow us to lock the bedroom door and began using our wardrobes as their own personal storage space in our absence. I don’t want to accuse someone of doing something without any proof, but what I will say is – I just don’t trust his family, especially his mum.

Once I finished my list, I prayed and got into bed and tried to get some rest. My husband soon joined me and ended up creating a barrier with pillows between us. The silence, the distance hurt…

Just as you think things can’t get any worse, this happens…

The next morning, he went to the kitchen to make himself breakfast. I didn’t want to be in the kitchen with him, so I let him finish first. He took his breakfast to the living room and started watching TV and eating alone. I went into the kitchen, opened the fridge and saw that there was nothing there. I paused, I looked at him from the kitchen and laughed to myself, because I couldn’t believe how inconsiderate he can be.

I waddled back to the bedroom, quickly got ready and headed towards the door. “Where are you going?” he asked. “To get some stuff for breakfast. You didn’t leave me anything. But no please, you stay sat and continue eating.” I said sarcastically. I walked down the four flights of stairs slowly, being extra cautious not to touch the railings seen as the Coronavirus had started making more of an appearance on the news.

I always hated this staircase. It just felt dingy to me and was really inconvenient when pregnant. The cold breeze hit my face and I felt, free. It was suffocating, being in that flat with him. I didn’t trust him and I didn’t feel safe around him anymore. After picking up some essentials from the local Asda, I went back to the flat. “So, when are we going to have the talk then?” he asked casually. “Am I allowed to have breakfast?” I replied in dismay.

After breakfast I told him to bring his list to the dining table. I decided to record the talk in secret because:

  • I didn’t trust him.
  • He would forget everything that was discussed almost immediately, making our discussions even more difficult.
  • I had 1% hope that he would come to his senses and I wanted to show him how he sounded when we’re okay…if we’re ever okay.

He grabbed his papers and sat down, huffing and puffing. Trying to make it known that he’s not in a good mood. I slowly waddled over to the kitchen to get myself a glass of water, waddled to the sofa, grabbed a pillow for my back and sat down. He stared at me, as though in a state of comatose. Since I had last seen him, I had a small bump. I thought that he might feel something towards me seeing how my bump is evidently growing, but nothing.

Anyway, I explained that I want him to go first and go through each point on his list that he has against me, preferably with examples so that we can discuss them. I will then make note of which points on his list I can truly and genuinely work on. We will then do the same with the list about my family and vice versa. I wanted our talk to be structured so that it’s efficient.

“Well I don’t have examples!” he said angrily. “But if you’re making a point, to strengthen that point I’m assuming you would have specific examples no?” I said. “Look I don’t have examples ok!” he yelled. “ok. just read what you have then and we’ll work from there.” I said as though speaking to a senseless child. He hesitated. “…I don’t want to. Just read it yourself.” he said smirking. “erm, no. This is really important. This is the reason why I came back. So stop being a baby and read your list.” I said.

After an unnecessary 10-15 minutes of going back and forth with him, he started reading his list. With each point, he would slam his pen on the table. I had to stop him many times and ask him to keep his attitude and tone in check because he had an attacking demeanour and was shouting whereas I was surprisingly calm and collected. He did what he does best and played word games and faff with his words thinking it made him sound clever, but in fact it just made him sound incredibly stupid. It always made him sound stupid. (Political risk analyst’ my foot. He couldn’t even hold a conversation properly.) His points and arguments against me quite frankly didn’t make much sense and lacked evidence and support.

Once he was done, I took his list and made a star near majority of his points and told him that I genuinely can and will work on these points, because I truly believed and was willing to. It was now time for my list. I proceeded to read my points, explain them in detail, give multiple examples and also ask him if he has any comments or wants to add anything. (Being a lawyer comes in handy)

My points were severe and major red flags as opposed to his points which sounded like he was describing the entire female species (stubborn, emotional, gets angry, complains – I’m serious, these were his points) At the end of our lists I asked him what points he can work on. “None” he replied casually. Long story short, after a gruelling 3 hours, the following was made clear to me:

  • I am nothing to him.
  • He has no intention to progress things.
  • He spent 2 and half years fooling me into believing that he’s someone else.
  • His family and him have collectively been playing this ‘game’ from the beginning, and I am simply removing myself from the circle so that can continue playing their game.
  • I want no part in this and do not want my baby to be part of this toxicity.
  • He really is nothing but an empty shell. No substance. He has nothing to give to anyone.

After those 3 hours, I felt so much certainty that I was 100% categorically done. I was still calm and collected and it felt so strange that I was this composed at this point. Perhaps it was a coping mechanism or Allah (swt) guiding me and giving me the clarity that I have been praying for. Just when I thought this lump of uselessness can’t get any more pathetic.

That same evening, he pretended that he was in physical pain (because HE’S the one that’s pregnant guys, not me) He laid down on the sofa and made whimpering sounds. It was really driving me up the wall watching him play victim. “You do know that we have a bed, stop moping around and go and lay on the bed if you’re not feeling well.” I said.

Very slowly, he walked over to the bedroom, huffing and puffing, continuing to make whimpering sounds as though he has severe back pain. He got onto the bed and slowly lifted his legs up and laid down. I got the soft bed throw and put it over him. I felt…pity towards him. He was pathetic. But I’m not a heartless monster. I’m a mother to be…

I went to the kitchen to make some dinner. I asked him if he wanted any. “Im okay…” he said as though he suddenly now has a throat problem too. “Would you like some dinner?” I repeated. “…N…no I’m okay.” he said again. “I’m not going to repeat myself a third time, dinner is ready. if you want it, eat, if you don’t, then don’t” I said as I sat on the dinner table and ate alone. I had learnt this much, his heart isn’t capable of caring about anyone other than himself, and I wasn’t going to highlight my pregnancy pains or aches to him or stop eating to get his attention, because at the end of the day, he simply doesn’t care and I’m responsible for my baby.

This new wave of cool headedness was surprising to me too. I had suddenly just focussed on the pregnancy and the baby and I think that itself was a coping mechanism. The baby helped me stay on track. Helped me direct my focus and energy, preventing me from losing my head.

After dinner, I was physically exhausted so I decided to have a lie down too. I was on my side of the bed and he was on his side. He almost immediately got up and went to the kitchen. I could hear the kettle on so I thought maybe, just maybe he’s making me a hot drink? or maybe he’s filling up the hot water bottle for me? Boy was I wrong. He came back into the room and laid down on his side again. I thought to myself, any minute now he’s going to put the blanket over me or give me a hot water bottle. 10 minutes passed and complete silence. Hmm, what’s taking him so long? I sat upright and looked over at him. He was hugging the hot water bottle.

Readers, he. Was. Hugging. The. Hot, Water. Bottle. I wanted to burst out laughing, because I actually thought that it wasn’t possible for him to drop any lower in my eyes but he proved me wrong. I got up, walked over to the door and switched on the lights “Are you comfortable there?” I said. “What?” he said with a strange grin on his face. I walked out of the room and got ready to pray because God knows I desperately needed to in that moment before I lose my head.

After I prayed, I sat on the sofa to watch some TV. He got up and also sat on the sofa far away from me as though he’s trying to maintain a ‘halal distance’. My phone rang and my husband somehow still managed to look from the corner of his eyes at who it was. It was my elder brother. He never usually calls me. He was really worried about me and wanted to check that I’m okay because he didn’t trust him.

Apparently from the moment I decided to come back to London, my family had been going insane. All three of my brothers had said to my mum in my absence that I should not have gone back and to find out asap if I’m okay. Upon seeing my brothers name on my phone, my husband exhaled, got up and went to the bathroom. I reassured my brother that I’m okay and that I couldn’t say much right now because he’s here…I told him I’ll call him tomorrow. My brother didn’t want to put the phone down. “Please just talk openly and tell me what’s happened. I don’t care If he’s there. Talk to me.” he said. “Bhaijaan I’m okay, I promise I’ll call you tomorrow and talk properly then.” I replied. After reassuring him that I’m okay, we put the phone down.

The next day my husband went to work. I called my family and told them about the talk we had and what my decision is. I told them that there is nothing left for me here. They were also surprised yet reassured how cool-headed my demeanour and tone were whilst talking about all of this. In a way that reassured them that I had made my mind up and it was carefully thought out.

Now that I had made my decision, my elder brother couldn’t bear that I spend another minute in London with him and would have driven to me then and there to get me if he could – but he was in a meeting quite far and was unable to. His wife and my sister both volunteered to drive to London the next day without hesitation to get me. I started to pack my belongings and de-clutter immediately. Whilst going through my belongings, I felt so upset that it had come to this. I came across my fancy bridal lingerie. I paused as I held them. Feeling hurt and angry I threw them into the bin. Every piece of fancy lingerie I had, I threw away…

I de-cluttered a lot and threw a lot of my belongings away. I carried the full bin bags down the 4 flights of stairs, outside and into the big bin. I must have done that about 6 times. By the end of it I was physically in pain. I text my husband as his time for coming home was soon approaching. I told him that I’m leaving tomorrow. He came home and saw majority of my belongings packed and ready. He asked me what I’m doing and I told him that we both knew it was coming to this, especially after yesterday’s talk. I asked him to help me get down some items from the top shelf because I couldn’t reach and he did. He also helped me pack. Yes, he helped me pack.

He was somewhat afraid of how calm I was being in this moment. I explained that sometimes marriages work and sometimes they don’t. I’ve tried my best and given him all I have to give him, just like he has given me all he has to give me, but I now have to think about my baby and I don’t want to raise my baby in this toxic environment with him or around the toxicity that his family spew. Divorce is an option for a reason and it’s time we proceed with it.

I was still surprised at my maturity at this point. Since I had returned to London, not once did he mention the baby or the pregnancy. Even at this point, it was as though there was a blindfold over his eyes. I continued getting my items together and I think the strain of the physical exertion and possibly forgetting to eat during the day started to catch up to me, causing me to physically shake and become light headed. I went to get a glass of water from the kitchen and he turned the light off in the living room and just stood a step away from the doorway of the kitchen in the dark, smiling…

I turned to look at him and put my glass of water down on the worktop. “Why are you smiling…?” I said feeling an increased sense of fear. I had watched way too many horror movies to know what could come next so I looked around the kitchen in angst searching for the knife, just in case he took it without me knowing. He opened his arms, as though asking for a hug and continued smiling. In that moment, I was petrified to my core. “Turn the light on and get away from the door!.” I said. After a few minutes of utter creepiness, it was as though he snapped back into reality and calmly put his arms down and turned the light on. What the hell was that? I thought to myself.

“Can we sit on the sofa together?” he said in an emotionless tone. “Why? so we can play happy family for one last time?” I replied sarcastically. We ended up sitting down on the sofa and he began to sniffle. With his snot hanging from his nose like a child, he just sat there. I tried to regain control of the situation again by telling him that there’s no reason why we can’t be civil through this process of separation. He nodded. You could tell that he knew separation was the best outcome for us, because he wasn’t man enough, no wait, he just wasn’t a man in the first place. He wasn’t capable of understanding the responsibilities of a husband never mind of a father. “Do you have anything to say?” I asked him. He just sat there, letting his snot hang from his nose. I told him to clean his nose. This was all an act that he was putting on.

He wasn’t upset that I was leaving, because he hadn’t said or done anything to stop me from leaving. He was just afraid of what he’s going to tell his family. I told him that he doesn’t deserve the kindness that I have shown him and I wish I was amongst those women who would have slapped their husband in this situation, but I’m not. I began to cry. I told him that I feel like God Is with me through this journey. “haha, you think God is with you? even warriors in battle think God is with them, what makes you think you’re so special that God is with you.” he replied smugly.

The next day, he got up and got ready for work. Silent. Detached. Emotionless. This was the day I’d be leaving. He knew my sister in law and sister would be coming to get me and didn’t want to be there when they came, so like a coward he ran off to work so that he doesn’t have to see anyone. That morning was the last time I saw him and you know what the last thing he said to me was before leaving? “So can I still come to the birth then?” Can. I. Come. To. The. Birth he says. My mind wasn’t capable of handling this much stupidity.

I reminded him in plain and simple terms that I am leaving him. I will be pursuing the divorce because I do not want to be his wife or be in this ‘marriage’ with him. He walked out of the door and went to work, that was the last time I heard from him that day.

I left him a written note:

“As I sit here writing this, I don’t feel anything but pity towards you and your family. Make no mistake of my calm and structured approach. With Allah as my witness, this is the best thing I could have ever done for myself and the baby. You won’t realise anything just yet, but you will eventually. One day, when you’re with your family, you’ll realise what you lost and that they will never be able to fill that void. But it’ll be too late. I’ll eventually be happily married one day to a man who would do anything for me and my children and would never dream of putting me through what you all have put me through.

We are not leaving on a good note. We are not leaving on a bad note. You are nothing to me. I feel so sorry for you.

These past few days have made me realise how I’ve been wasting my time on you. You’re empty. You are literally an empty shell who has nothing to give to anyone.

Your family can have you back.

PS: For what it’s worth, I hope this all means you’ll eventually have a good relationship with your family again – which you love to remind me that I ruined.”

After 5 hours of driving, my sister in law (who was slowly recovering from a broken ankle) and my sister, made it to London. We weren’t the most efficient team but we made it work Alhamdulillah. 1 pregnant woman, 1 injured and 1 weakling all carried my heavy boxes and bags down the 4 flights of stairs. After shoving everything in the car, we drove home. I didn’t know what to feel. I closed my eyes and tried to sleep. I wasn’t ready to deal with the emotions just yet.

I got home that night and mum opened the door and hugged me tight. I wanted to cry. I really desperately wanted to break down, but I somehow managed to stop myself and instead smiled and told mum that I’m okay. I received no contact from him whatsoever after that. This part was the most testing time I have ever been through.

I struggled everyday. I felt worthless and as though I had no value. I felt out of place, like I didn’t belong. Everything had changed. I didn’t know where I fit in and I just needed to break down. The only solace I would find is in prayer and that’s where I would uncontrollably break down. every ounce of me would weep as I begged Allah (swt) to give me the strength to get through this test for the sake of my baby. To make it easier for me to accept what is happening. I would constantly repeat “I trust you Allah, every ounce of me trusts your plan.”

1 week after I had returned home, a dear friend of mine called me late at night. She apologised for what she was about to tell me and told me to try not to stress out. She sent me a few screenshots that her friend had sent to her. At first, I didn’t know what I was looking at. I looked more carefully and realised that it was a marriage profile on Minder. A marriage profile of my husband that was set up recently.

He had used a picture that I took of him, put down his marital status as “divorced”, his short greeting as *something witty*, his religiosity as ‘fairly practicing’ and his bio as ‘I am an easy- going, ambitious guy. I struggle to write about myself so any questions, please ask.’ his account was also showing that he was active on the account. I don’t think I had still processed it. I could feel my heartbeat increasing as a wave of shock overtook me. I took deep breaths as I tried to calm myself down. Despite my heart feeling like it was going to pound outside of my chest, I still truly believed that I needed this.

I thanked my friend for showing me and told her that she is a blessing in disguise because I truly believe she is. I went downstairs to my siblings and sat down quietly. I took a deep breath and showed my younger brothers and sister the screenshots. They couldn’t believe it. They asked me if I was okay and I could feel my lip quivering and eyes welling up. One of my younger brothers came over to me and held me close as I cried. It was 1 week since I had left. Just 1 week…

I sent him the screenshots and told him to go to hell. He immediately deleted his marriage profile and tried to contact me. He messaged me and said “I made it out of upset and anger. No other reason. Of course not to be used. I had no intention of using it.” His reaction was guilt. He wasn’t remorseful about his actions, he was sorry that he got caught.

In this moment, although I felt betrayed, I felt surprisingly content. I didn’t even feel the need to hear his explanation because I was now content. It felt that little bit more easier to accept the situation which is exactly what I had prayed for SubhanAllah. I am always in awe of the mysterious ways Allah (swt) works.

A month later, I was slowly finding my feet in the midst of random breakdowns and sleepless nights. I would pray for that family and him to be exposed for who they really are every single day. As I was sat on the prayer mat, his young cousin messaged me (husbands uncle’s daughter who’s around 16 and was always so close to me) She messaged me on Instagram as usual. We hadn’t spoken for a while, but she told me that my MIL had visited us in London 3 weeks ago and also visited her house 2 weeks ago and her mum had asked about me as always – especially now that the lockdown was in place. My MIL apparently hesitated and tried to avoid the topic, but lied and said that I’m fine and busy working as always.

Feeling confused I told the cousin that I’m having a baby and wasn’t in London 4 weeks ago. The little cousin was unbelievably excited about the pregnancy and ran and told her mum who was equally over the moon. The little cousin asked me when we would get to meet and I didn’t want to give her any false hope so I briefly told her that my husband and I aren’t going to be living together anymore so I’m not sure when we’ll ever get the opportunity to meet again.

I really liked this whole family because every time we would visit their house, they were always so excited to see me. They acknowledged me and actually spoke to me unlike my in-laws. I had nothing but praises for this family, all of them. The uncle, his wife, his mum and his children. I spoke with the little cousins mum on the phone and she congratulated me on the pregnancy. She told me that her daughter told her that me and my husband are separating.

I had nothing to hide, so I told her everything that has happened between me, my husband and his family from the very beginning. I also made clear that it was my decision to leave and I have no intention of returning. She was heartbroken. But what she revealed next, I didn’t expect…she told me that she has been through the exact same, if not worse for a longer period of time since the moment she got married, at the hands of my MIL. She said that my MIL and her daughters have never cared or valued any other woman. They had always disliked her because she too was from outside of the family and my MIL’s sisters would attempt to turn the little cousin against her own mum. I was speechless…

My mum also spoke to her husband (my husbands uncle) – He apologised to my mum for everything despite him not having anything to do with it. He told my mum that he has a good judgment of character and from the times he has seen and spoken to me, he believes everything that I am saying. He said his sister (my MIL) is completely wrong and she has a track record of doing this. She did it to his wife and also to her 2nd brother’s wife. He said that if his dad was alive right now, he would have put her in her place because he hated this sort of treatment towards women. But because he’s no longer with us, she’s off the rails.

He said that my FIL isn’t a man and never has been. She likes to feel like she’s on top and remind everyone of their place. He told my mum that he will stand by me no matter what and side with the truth because at the end of the day, he too has a daughter and cannot be on the side of wrong.

Hearing all this being revealed gave me a sense of satisfaction. I mean it was a huge deal for my MIL’s brother, her own flesh and blood to admit her wrongdoings and expose that family for who they really are. That took a lot of courage. I was amazed at how God works. The next day, his wife called me again and told me that she called my MIL and confronted her. My MIL immediately got angry upon hearing my name and that I had spoken to the little cousin and her mum. She denied knowing anything about the pregnancy or that I had left her son and come home to my mums and said she doesn’t care either. She yelled at her sister in law and told her to not utter a word about any of this to anyone else in the family.

If someone was innocent, would they have reacted the way my MIL reacted? Would they have been this angry or felt the need to lie? It was clear that my in-laws were trying to keep everything quiet until they know how to control the narrative. They knew that if their family members know about the pregnancy, they will soon start asking questions about where I am and why they haven’t seen me in a long time. And people will then start pointing fingers at them for letting me go in this state. If there’s no baby, there’s no problem…

2 months later, it had come to my attention that he had in fact moved back to his family’s home in Stoke. His financial assistant (me) wasn’t there, so he could no longer afford the flat that we were living in. It’s funny how he now has no problem working remotely. I asked him a few times to return my belongings that were in Stoke back to me. He did what he does best and made excuses such as “I don’t know how to return them.” I knew his tight fisted self and family weren’t going to comply.

Eventually, I paid and arranged for a movers van and driver to go to Stoke and asked him if he would comply to pack my belongings and put them in the van. After spending unnecessary time pushing for an answer from him, he agreed. His family had withheld my Walima outfit along with the expensive gold gifts that I had purchased separately for my MIL. I felt a sense of disgust towards them as their behaviour even now just verifies their bad faith.

As time went on, I started to accept the reality of the situation and slowly but surely settled into this new period. With Allah on my side and sincere intentions I felt content Alhamdulillah. I began to realise that I had to find peace with the apology that’s never coming…and even if it came, it wouldn’t be enough and doesn’t hold my healing.

My only priority was and is my baby. Me leaving London coincidentally occurred directly just before the lockdown and I couldn’t help but feel like it had to happen this way. Allah (swt) has surely saved me from great torment. Torment that I probably didn’t even see coming had I chose to stay with him. It felt like everything happened at the most perfect time.

I’m now 30 weeks pregnant and things have been difficult, no doubt. But I have unbreakable faith in Allah (swt) and his plan for me and my baby even if I struggle to see beyond this period sometimes. Change and transition can be scary. But they can also be rather extraordinary. A time to grow, a time to develop and refine us as a person.

This article was originally published on Safura’s blog, found here.

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