I got married at the age of 13. Having an alcoholic and abusive father, my grandparents raised me since I was a child and also arranged my marriage. In the age of playing with dolls, I was forced to be intimate with a stranger. I remember going to my mother-in-law, terrified of the big, strange man in the room. She simply said, “Let him do what he wants.” And there began my journey of accepting all the adversities life threw at me.
I faced multiple miscarriages in the first few years of my marriage. Constant taunts, abuse, and the title of being “barren” put me into a depressive state. There was a time when my in-laws wanted my husband to marry again. I couldn’t handle the despair and even attempted suicide. Finally, at 16, I gave birth to a baby girl.
However, I was about to enter yet another difficult period of my life. My husband never had a stable job; there were weeks that went by without us having a proper meal. By then, I also had two children to raise. I remember one day, my mother came to visit me with another guest, and I didn’t have enough ration to even make tea. I broke down crying in front of my mother and she later helped me with some food supplies. I couldn’t bear to see such conditions and wanted to work. But in our household, women weren’t allowed to go to work outside. But I had to do something, so I started doing some handiwork from home itself and raised my children.
As I thought my life was gaining some stability, my husband’s sudden demise left us all in shock. I was left all alone, and with my kids getting married, I started to feel hollow inside. However, I decided to get back up on my feet, and finally went outside to work. Now, I have found a family in my workplace, and while it still feels lonely at times, I’m grateful for my life. The biggest lesson I’ve learned from my journey is that you will face countless hardships in life, but you must keep going and never look back. My struggles have made me who I am, and I’m proud to share my journey with others.
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