Thanks you for giving me this unique opportunity to express myself on this platform. Please hide my identity.
Now to my story; I had my first son at the age of 18 and unfortunately for me the man who fathered the child refused to take responsibility. My father passed away that same year so I named him after my father. My mother helped me look after my son while I continued my studies.
After university I got a job as a secretary in a local company. After working there for a while my boss who was 10 years older than me told me he was in love with me and wanted a relationship with me. I was excited and told him yes. Men my age were off the list of the kind of man I was looking for, after my experience with my son’s father. I wanted a man that will understand and treat me like a queen and not someone I will have to look after.
I dated my boss for two years and he asked me to marry him. My mother was not very pleased, she didn’t like the fact that he was a Muslim and much older but I told my mum not to worry as I loved him dearly and he treated me like a princess. He showed me off to all his friends. It was refreshing to have a man that is not trying to hide me from the world.
Immediately we got married I packed up my son’s things and we moved into my husband’s house. That night after we moved in, my husband told me he was uncomfortable with another man’s son under his roof and instead I took my son back to my mum and he would send monthly allowance to her for his up keep. This disturbed me dearly and I asked him why he didn’t tell me before our marriage and he said it was because it did not come up. We fought a lot about it so to avoid ruining my young marriage I took him back to my mother.
Two weeks after my son was gone my husband asked me to stop coming to work with him and stay at work and take care of the house. I told him I enjoyed working but he told me he made enough to make my life very comfortable and I didn’t need to work and stress about anything. “I don’t want to waste my education” I explained to him. He didn’t listened and insisted I had to stay home.
Something about the man I dated and the man I married was very much different. The man I dated was loving and understanding and the one I married was controlling and petty. I realised we didn’t talk about how things will change and how we will want them to be when we are married. We didn’t talk about my son’s situation and didn’t talk about my work. I realised I had everything in my marriage except my freedom. My husband had the driver drive me everywhere and I had limited visits to my son. The next thing I knew he wanted me to convert from from Catholic to Muslim. I told him no and he said it was either that or I walked out of the marriage. My head was spinning, so many changes in my life in just the first year of marriage took a negative toll on me. I became the shadow of myself and very unhappy. As a Muslim, I had to dress and act differently and for the love of my husband and the need to safe my marriage I tried as much as possible to fit into the Muslim community. Two years later we were blessed with two girls, twins. My husband was so happy and bought me a car as a present immediately. I told him it was time to take driving lessons but he convinced me there was no need as the driver would always be there to drive me around.
When our girls were 3 years old, my mum was involved in a car accident and died immediately. When we buried my mother I decided to talk to my husband about my son’s living arrangement since he was left with no one but me. Shockingly my husband refused, he insisted that he didn’t want another man’s kid growing up in his house and corrupting his own kids. I asked him where he wanted my son to go and he told me to contact his dad and take him there. When I told him I didn’t know the where about of his father he suggested I asked my mothers sister to take my son in.
I told him I don’t want my son away from me again as I already feel guilty for all the years I left him with my mother. He told me if I was unhappy with that I walk out of the marriage without my girls and only with what I walked into the marriage with.
I am torn apart my people. I don’t want my son away from me. I don’t want my son to feel left out but if I try to fight for him I would lose my girls too. What do I do at this point? Who can I contact as far as the Cameroon legal system is concerned. I need advice please.