We are Shreen and Rupang the Daughter and Daddy Duo growing up together since 2015.
Somehow, I have always been the one in the joint family whose attitude towards things to do on my own way and most times my ways of living life clashes with the surrounding family though in a good way. I have always been the odd one out ;). That led me to be rebellious in the family. Prior to marriage, we knew each other during a phase in childhood and then introduced again in a traditional way. The married life on our own was not so bad, but my wife’s father was always worried due to my rebellious behaviour which led to some differences between me and him.
We were alone in UK, however, our focus was clear about the future and career. We were on the right path except that she had endometriosis and for 9 years we managed the condition as best we could. During 2014, we had twins on our way, but at 5 and 6 weeks we lost them as it was a mono-mono pregnancy which is very risky on its own. After this we were extremely emotional for a year. However, the following year we fell pregnant again. Initially the doctors were not so sure, but on the second appointment, all was fine. We stayed strong and were blessed with Shreen. We both always wanted Laxmi (Girl). Shreen means Laxmi. There was a house renovation going on , and towards the last 2-3 months, I was working, looking after wife, house, cooking , cleaning and generally becoming an all-rounder.
The moment has arrived and Shreen jumped straight from her mummy’s tummy in to my hands. :) . This one moment when I delivered the message to mum that it’s Shreen. No words can justify this moment of my life. SHREEN: The letters chosen from both of our names.
After couple of weeks, mother was showing signs which we were not aware or familiar with. The demon was post-natal depression (PND). The condition put a huge strain on our marriage and after discussions with her family, we mutually decided to divorce. The trust between her family and me was totally destroyed. I was juggling looking after mother and baby, house, work etc. The moment came when I decided that no matter what, mother and child should not be separated, however, there were some safeguarding issues that needed to de addressed. One thing I knew throughout my life from the bottom of my heart was that whatever the challenges, that I would be strong enough to deal with them as long as they come from front.
She would spend months in hospital and for the first year she was allowed to have Shreen with her in the hospital in mother and baby unit. At 13 months, an incident happened at home that resulted in the mother being taken away by the authorities. For the first time me and Shreen were left alone at home. There was no family around for support and so I had to deal with the challenge to working and caring for Shreen on my own. I remember every moment of that mother and child separation and cried probably for couple of days just looking at Shreen. I still remember that 13 months old baby stretching her arms towards her mother while she was being taken away. I felt devastated, but I knew that I had to be strong for my daughter. I had to be both mother and father and she grew up calling me mum and still does most times. She would play on rug in lounge while I worked on dining table, performed house duties including taking her to see her mother in the hospital every other day. Mother would come home, feel better for a week or so and back in the hospital for few months. The moment came when we decided that could go to Canada to mother’s family with my full support. As the divorce was agreed and my ultimate intention was not to separate mother and child. I had planned for their departure by ensuring that as long as Shreen’s Education and Health needs are satisfied, I would be happy. However, once in Canada I lost all contact with both mother and Shreen. For four and half months, I did not know where my daughter is and how is she. I could not wish her Happy Birthday, Happy Diwali or Christmas. I could not even say hello to my daughter. I decided to fight. I fought International Child Abduction on my own and manage to bring them back. Unfortunately, mother was again taken away to hospital from her uncle’s place. At a result of this incident, I applied and obtained full custody of our daughter. But I always wanted to ensure that the bond between mother and child does not get affected. We would go every other day to see her in the hospital. I have not allowed any negative or sad opportunity to knock our door ever again. After some time, she was allowed to visit her mum on every other weekend on supervised basis. Slowly, Shree and I started to build a stable life. Shreen shares an amazing bond with both of us and is a full of life, happy, kind, caring and confident child. She would naturally put other interest first who would come to her attention. Literally few months ago, her mother came to tell me by looking into my eyes that as a mother and if she was fit, she would not be able to raise her the way I have raised her. This means the world to me.
Shreen was over 2 years when we first started travelling on our own and the approach was to build her character. Shreen has walked Ben Nevis at the age of four, which is an adventure on its own.
Despite 5 court cases and some very difficult and traumatic situations, I have resolutely maintained my faith and belief not to abandon my daughter’s mother and assist her in whatever way I can. Now mother’s health is much better but we both understand and appreciate that it is not 100%. However, there is now flexibility that sometimes if I need a day's break, she will help. I strongly believe that if your fight is for the right reason, there is no way you would lose. Journey : To be Continued… :)