“I tossed all night long. I weighed only forty-two kilos from the stress. I knew my Iranian in-laws had plans to marry my boyfriend. They made it difficult for me in the hope that I would get out of myself. one day a friend urged me to leave with my son Omar as my in-laws wanted to take my child away and then I knew I was serious.
Of course I can’t say 100 percent that they would have actually kidnapped Omar if I had stayed, but all the alarm bells were there and I just couldn’t take any chances. After all, how often do you hear that children are kidnapped in similar situations? Incidentally, this occurs in all cultures, so I am not judging a specific culture. But I knew I had to flee with my child as soon as I had the chance. “
“The adventure beckoned when I left at the age of seventeen with a friend for Blackpool, England. We thought it would be wonderful to spend a summer there. In the disco where I worked, I met Mohsen. A handsome, well-dressed Iranian with curly hair and beautiful brown eyes He was a few years older than me and had everything in place: a nice house and a successful real estate business. He was a celebrated businessman and I looked up to him.
When he asked me after a few months if I wanted to live with him, I didn’t hesitate for a moment. Mohsen was incredibly caring, he treated me like a princess. He surprised me with presents and cooked extensively for me. He did everything he could to please me. I liked that he was there for me, I felt safe with him. We loved each other very much. I really felt like I had found my true love. And that’s how he thought about it. “
Horror stories from girlfriends
“When we were together for three years, our son Omar was born. We were over the moon with him. Mohsen was a proud father who loved to play with his son. These were very happy years. That changed when Mohsen’s family – his mother, two sisters and their husbands – from Iran came to visit us, but I was a little dreaded, because I had heard horror stories from English friends who were also with an Iranian about quarrels, problems and meddling.They were not accepted by the family. But I planned to make the most of it and hoped to be close to my in-laws.
Unfortunately it all turned out differently. From the moment his family arrived, it was clear they did not accept me as Mohsen’s partner. The whole family stayed in our house. I was burned continuously. In their eyes I couldn’t do anything right. They thought I hugged Omar too much and had it on my lap too often. Also, according to my mother-in-law, I had to brush all day – while we had a cleaning lady. My entire household was taken over. I almost became a stranger in my own home. There was zero privacy and I was never alone with Mohsen again. And this is just in a nutshell what happened. “
“His family was to stay for a few weeks, but weeks turned into months. More and more I was left out. In my own house I walked on eggs. There was a separation between me and Mohsen. He never stood up for me when his family ravaged me. That touched me, I felt so lonely. When the whole family went on a trip to London again, I was not invited. Mohsen then condoned it: supposedly such an outing was too tiring for Omar. “
“It became clear that the cards had been shuffled very differently, when a friend of Mohsen’s came by one day. I always got along well with him. That afternoon I was home alone. That friend told me that the family had a wife for Mohsen. An Iranian who lived in London. That’s why they sat in London so often, cooking everything up. That friend said, “You don’t deserve this, you have to get away with your son while you still can.”
I was completely petrified, I was in shock. But I immediately believed him. All puzzle pieces fell into place. The hostility of his family, the many visits outside the house that I was not allowed to attend. That friend took a huge risk to tell me this; he dropped Mohsen, who was highly regarded in the Iranian community. I promised not to let him see Mohsen. But I took his warning very seriously. “
A few weeks later, I overheard a heated argument between Mohsen and his family. My Farsi was not flawless, but I could hear snippets of the conversation. I heard my mother-in-law tell me to leave, and that ‘the child must be with them. “Mohsen replied desperately that a child belongs to his mother. His family strongly argued against that. I realized I had to hurry to get away. For how long would Mohsen resist his family’s wishes? rebel against them, because he hadn’t done that before, I couldn’t trust him anymore.
Once – when I spoke to him about the stories of children being kidnapped by a parent abroad – he had promised me never to take Omar from me. But what was his word worth? Because he did meet the bride his family had chosen for him, behind my back. And in the meantime he said that I was absolutely not allowed to leave. “
Plank gas to the airport
“The family noticed my anxiety and I was watched more closely. Until one day they all went out together again and I was left home alone with Omar. They wouldn’t be away long, they said. I realized. that if I didn’t do it now, I probably would never dare it again. A primal force surfaced in me. I had to seize this opportunity to protect my child.
I quickly grabbed the money I had saved and my passport – luckily Omar was credited to my passport. With full throttle I drove to the airport where I bought tickets to Amsterdam on the spot. After that we had to wait hours for our flight. That waiting time was awful. It felt like my last hour had struck. I was always afraid that Mohsen had noticed my escape and was storming furiously into the departure hall. I was afraid of passing out from the stress. But for Omar I had to stay upright. I couldn’t breathe a sigh of relief until our plane took off and I saw the English landscape shrink below us. “
“Building a new life in the Netherlands was not easy. I stayed with my family for a short while, until I got my own rented house. I had little money and no chair to sit on. I had to rebuild everything from scratch. Van Mohsen I heard nothing. Through the friend who warned me about his wedding plans, I heard that Mohsen married his intended wife four months after I left. It hurt me that I was so quickly traded in. As if our love had never existed. But at the same time I also realized that his family would probably leave me alone now. I – the big problem in their eyes – was gone. And Mohsen was married to the woman of their choice. They had their way.
A year after we left, I suddenly got a call from Mohsen. He got my number from his friend. I was shocked when I heard his voice. We talked and cried. And we blamed each other. I thought he hadn’t fought for his family, he said I shouldn’t have left. But we both felt that Omar should not be short of anything. A child should never be the victim. From then on I flew our son to England about six times a year so he could see his father. Although I never left them alone, the fear of kidnapping was still there. “
Stuck between family and relatives
“But I didn’t mean that Mohsen should never see his child again. All I wanted was to prevent a possible drama. I don’t think Mohsen was a bad person either. He was simply stuck between his family and his family. I recently found out. an old letter from him, in which he wrote that he was sorry for everything that had happened and that he missed his son, and that he sincerely hoped that we would be happy in the Netherlands. Reading it touched me again.
Despite the renewed contact with Mohsen, I looked over my shoulders for a long time. I had a clear agreement with school that Omar could only be picked up by me or the babysitter. Because of all that previous fear of kidnapping, I was cautious and overprotective. When he got older, he wanted to walk to school alone with his friends. I’d rather not, but I had to let him go. And so he got a cell phone at a young age. When he arrived safely at school, he had to give me a thumbs up. And when he got older and went out, I always lay awake until he came home. I realize that it is quite stressful for a child, such a concerned mother. But I couldn’t help it, it was the whole situation that caused that. “
“For years I felt guilty that my son grew up largely without a father. But at the same time I knew I had no other choice. Things were decided about him and me behind my back. Never again do I want to feel so helpless. was as if I had nothing more to say about my life and my child, as if I could just be pushed aside as a mother.
The fear of losing your child and not seeing it again is paralyzing, and I never want to experience that again. I had to take matters into my own hands, and despite everything I’m glad I did. I have incorporated my experiences in my recently published book Limitless Love. With my book I want to show other women that no matter how hopeless a situation can sometimes be, there is always hope. You’re stronger than you think.”
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