The Plight of a Mother

May 5, 2021

(As narrated to me by a friend’s daughter whom I am mentoring.)
“I hung around the marketplace, confused, hungry, thirsty and totally lost. I stared into empty space. My son had just been taken away from me by the police. I had left him on the roadside for the third time in the same month. The first time they traced my father’s home and took the baby there, the second time they took me and the baby to the children’s department and gave me a stern warning against neglecting the baby.

I woke up this morning and put the baby on my back, I went to the bus stage where the bus conductors hang around. John is my favorite conductor. He took one look at me and offered me some marijuana. He said that would help me relax. After a few puffs, I put the baby on the ground as I smoked away, before long I was totally high. I tried to carry the baby but I could not tie him on my back again. So, I walked away slowly like I was looking for a bathroom them ran as fast as I could. John had left the place by then, and so the other bus conductors called the police who took my son away. He was only one and a half years old.

By the time I came to my senses, my son was already in a children’s home and the police were looking for me. They found me, arrested me and I was sentenced to a 6 months’ jail term. Upon my release, they refused to give the child back to me, they said I was an unfit mother.

I had lost my first-born son to pneumonia; my second son was taken away by his father who beat me to a pulp every time I asked for child support. My other two children are with my mother who keeps asking that I take them away, she is tired of feeding them.

I have done stuff in the past that I am not proud of. I have smoked marijuana, slept with men for money and shelter, abandoned my children. I am not happy with the choices I made.

After my jail term I managed to get a job as a housekeeper in Qatar. An agent got me a ticket and a visa saying I would pay him back with my salary. I was eager to leave, I did not know who would take care of my children, but I needed to leave so that I could get away from the deplorable life I was living, earn some money so I could take care of my children. So I left my children with my mother and promised to have them out of her house in two months’ time, I lied.

After 1 and a half years in Qatar, my life is back on track. I have not smoked any marijuana or chewed khat for the time I have been here. My mother threatened to throw my children out of her house but I ignored her threats. I call as often as I can, and I talk to my children. I miss them terribly. My youngest one is still at the children’s home. They sent a message to my father that I should go and pick him up. I told my father to let them know that I am away, and no one is willing to care for him on my behalf. My son continues to stay at the children’s home, it hurts me but what can I do?
My daughter just finished her standard 8 examinations. She was the top student at her school. She performed so well that the media went to my dad’s house to interview her. My heart leaped with joy at her success. She missed many school terms due to nonpayment of tuition fees, her uniform was old and tattered, she had to borrow textbooks, yet she still managed to top her class.

She will be joining form 1 next year. The requirements for her secondary school entry are enormous. I choose not to stress about it. Stressing has not helped me in the past. I will do the best I can and leave the rest to God. I will continue to work here, stay sober and one day go back home. I hope my son will remember me when he sees me, I doubt he will. They even changed his name according to the report my father received. I have let my children down. The choices I made were not good and I have paid dearly for them. I hope one day I will smile, and I can hold my remaining children in my arms and tell them how sorry I am. I am a bad mother; I would never have been a good wife to any man either.

I am choosing to keep on fighting for the sake of my children by working hard, and hope that one day I can look at all that I have been through and smile, because I will have made peace with myself. For now, that’s all I can think about, my children and my piece of mind….

My daughter, who despite all she has endured still triumphed and made everyone proud. I hope one day to be like her, she is my hope and inspiration.”

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