Kay is a single mum, businesswoman, dreamer (mostly dreams of travelling the world!). She's always learning from her experiences: the good, the bad, the happy and sad! However wise and careful we may be, we plan but know not what is planned. Allah SWT knows best! When I was 16, a distant relative of mine, just 17 years old married a cousin of hers, and as soon as she had a baby she got divorced. She was heartbroken, not self-sufficient, and her journey began as a single mum. I heard my wise uncle speak, that young ladies shouldn’t start a family straight away after marriage, but rather first get to the partner, be independent, secure in relationship, etc. My teenage brain recorded this, and stored it for later, only to learn that even when wisely planned, some situations just cannot be avoided. My first marriage didn’t work; no one thought he was my match. On the day of the wedding my best friend said, “Cancel it, you’re not happy, you’re settling for this. I’ll go out and tell everyone the wedding is off, and we’re having a family reunion” I considered the notion but declined. What would everyone say? I would be hurting and embarrassing my family. I thought it was ‘cold feet’, but IT WAS NOT COLD FEET. It was my instinct, warning me of the misery to come. In short I went on to have a lying, lazy husband, health issues (IBS), and a miscarriage, eventually choosing to be free from this bond. I never thought I’d marry again, then life showed me otherwise. Five years later I met my (ex) second husband. I am a poetry enthusiast; a romantic at heart, and my love of all things poetic brought me to my second husband. I thought I had met my match, as poetic verses sparked the first conversations of many. We had many interesting conversations, and became friends who hit it off, we “got” each other. I thought we were in sync, and thought our companionship had become “love”. He being a well-spoken, educated, intelligent, well- presented gentleman, but a foreigner none the less, warning bells sounded in my family’s minds. They were not in favour of this alliance. I fought, for how could we brand them all the same? How unfair are we?! We married, and alhamdulillah, we had good times. I thrived on those times; we had many joint aspirations and dreams of the future. However there were many challenging times for me as well, as men of certain cultures expect differently from their wives. They can be oppressive, which we don’t realise at the time, and we take it as the sacrifices all wives must make and a woman’s duty (culture driven), or labours of love (one sided love as I later learnt). Fast forward to just after our second anniversary, and it was time to start a family. We’d checked all the boxes, and save for the usual marital squabbles, all was well. I got pregnant but then miscarried, alhamdulillah. I was heartbroken, and we decided to try for a family again immediately. I miscarried in January and was pregnant again in April. My duas were answered, alhamdulillah. THEN… unexpectedly began his sudden mood swings, anger, arguments, numerous hours of long calls back home and emotional (and at times physical abuse) towards me. How was I allowing this? I later realised I was so HOODWINKED in this “love” that I allowed this behaviour and treatment, while I had started bleeding in first trimester again. I was instructed to take it easy by my doctor, have maximum bed rest or risk another miscarriage. Now that I think of it, perhaps he was torturing me slowly, knowing this could be the outcome. The man that said he’d never go back to his home country suddenly had inheritance, land and claimed he had to travel by himself and I could not travel. He alternated between abusive behaviour, then professing his love and devotion towards me. Hopelessly in love, the woman that I was, I sponsored his ticket, and gifts for all back home. (Oh, he had money, the lump sum he saved to have a business one day, so I would not have to work and could stay home with our family. Until then I had run the household, sponsored holidays and other expenses and he paid JUST the rent, little else. Hoodwinked!) Just before he left, I had an ultrasound scan, and we could see our baby clearly. Alhamdulillah, I was overjoyed, and he seemed happy too. “I promise you I will be back before your 28-week scan. I will never let you down.” “I love you, I will never betray you.” When he arrived at his destination, he didn’t call, and became annoyed when I called to see if he arrived safely. I received a few measly calls, some were pleasant, others hurtful and worrying. There were many painful shouting sprees from his side. My heart was heavy, and he started drawing the saved money out in bits. He said he was buying a car there, then setting up a business, but he was only going to be there for three months supposedly. He changed his phone number, and didn’t inform me. His bank account was then empty, and his medical aid premium would have bounced, so I put money into his account. He immediately messaged to see if I had STOLEN money from him (only at this stage did I get his new number). My heart broke yet again. I asked him to check properly, as I had put money into his account so the policy wouldn’t lapse. There was no comment from him. I was still an idiotic, hopeless woman in love, and still prayed he would find love in his heart and return to be with his family. In my eighth month of my pregnancy he called me, “This is not working, I am going to divorce you.” I said, “What about our baby, our family”? The reply: “Don’t emotionally blackmail me”. I decided then, if my baby was “emotional blackmail” to him, then as this baby’s mother, this baby whom Allah SWT had given me a gift, I would move forward. I knew it was a long journey ahead: the pain of one-sided love to overcome, my broken heart to be mended, and my beautiful gift to nurture and bring up in this challenging world. A few days later I received a talaq by email, but not just talaq, there were complains of all my faults, of how bad I was, and how this was my fault. Respected ‘ulama agreed the divorce was valid, and my ‘iddah would end when my precious child was born. Alhamdulillah for everything. I now know, Allah SWT removes those that serve no good purpose in our lives, and we have to move on. Another chapter began, a fresh new start.