That motherly bond we have, the strong protective urge, the love, the momma bear; these affect how we react to situations. Situations that were previously OK for us, are no longer OK when you add your baby into the mix. Although most of us experience these things when it comes to trying to go outside after baby has come, or even to a restaurant, some of us experience these from the get go, at home.
Relationships are hard, and never more so than when your first tot arrives. Tempers fire easily and the foundation is completely shook. What’s more is you don’t necessarily see where things are falling apart, don’t realise what situation you’re in, until that little person is added in and you see everything for what it is: Dangerous.
This is where I found a woman last week. Her partner had always been a fly off the handle type and, although there had been no punches pulled, there was some shoving and flying objects in the heat of the moment. She really loved him and felt the good times outweighed the outbursts, so she stayed. Unexpectedly, they got pregnant. Every precaution was taken and she STILL got pregnant. He stood by her and helped prepare for the baby. She went back to her home country to give birth and stayed there until she was two months old. He came for a visit just after she was born.
Motherhood is scary and doing it in a foreign land is even more so, so she asked that her husband consider moving to her country in a few years. She’d come back to his country for now, and then in a few years they’d move back to her country to give her some contact with friends and family, of which she had none in his country. He agreed. She came back. And if went downhill from there.
He had lied. He had no intention of going there. He insisted that he must be able to have a job as well paid and life as luxurious as he had made it in his country, and he wanted it like that from the start. Any reasonable person knows that’s not possible. She protested, at which point he suggested she could return to her home country… Without her baby girl.
She was horrified, terrified, at a loss. He had her passport and she had no income or anywhere to go. He followed that bombshell with a refusal to renew her soon to expire spousal visa. She started to panic. It’s at this point her Mama senses kicked in and she reached out. I was among those who stepped in to support her.
We started by trying to secure her the option of renewing her visa, and then I let her talk out her options. You can’t tell someone in this situation what to do. They must decide. I could never hope to understand the full relationship they had in the short time I knew her. She told me her fears and I told her her options. It was clear from the beginning that she was preparing to run.
There is a law that prevents parents from running overseas with children when the other parent hasn’t consented. She was VERY lucky to have a loophole. Her child had not yet lived in the country a week. She did not have a passport for that country. She could argue easily that her child was yet to count as resident because she hadn’t lived there longer than her mother’s home country. This fact played a MASSIVE role in her escape.
Through clever lies she had gained her daughter’s passport, but learnt that her husband wanted to cancel the tourist visa the following day. Time up. There was no way to be sure if that would hinder an exit after that date. Forced into a corner she told him that she was going to a friend’s to stay the night and think things through, while actually going to a woman’s shelter. That the previous day’s conversion, in which he repeatedly suggested she return home alone, had made her question things.
From here on it became a rollercoaster. Because she had turned off the location on her phone, which he usually tracked her with, he flew into a rage and said he was going to the police to report them as missing persons. We had discussed how she should report the domestic violence to secure her legal position, and so she hightailed it to the nearest police station and told them everything.
To my complete surprise, the police escorted her to the airport and arranged airport security to watch over her until she was safely on the flight. In this Mums hour of need she was given every bit of support from the people in power. It meant she was able to safely return to her home country.
It has been an unbelievable ordeal and the shock of it all has really taken its toll. But here’s what changed: Quite apart from the violence which was triggered by anything, she realised she wanted to set an example for her daughter. If she had stayed, it would be demonstrating to her daughter that it is normal to be treated like that, and it would effect her future relationships. She didn’t want that. For herself, she could put up with the occasional outburst for his love, but it took her daughter to realise just how unaceptable the situation was.
I’m so glad I got to help this mother in need, even just a little, but more than that, I’m proud to have met such a remarkably strong women who gave up all her possessions, her love and her home, for the sake of her daughter. I hope that she can grow stronger and heal now she’s with her relatives in her home town.