Being a Pakistani Divorcee in 2021

I just want to say that not all Pakistani women and families experience whatever I have. Sometimes the stigma behind the south asian culture can cause a rift of what is and isn’t so it’s important to say that my experience is entirely my own. If you relate in any way just know you are not alone and I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

I don’t know about anyone else or if you’re able to relate, but don’t you feel like you’ve had enough of being silent & hearing others bullshit about your marriage? The marriage you tried so hard to save and make work? The marriage they so happen to have the most opinions about?

If you happen to be south asian like me then this might be a hi5 moment as I discuss my experience as a Pakistani divorcee in 2021.

My Parents

Where do I begin? I remember being told at the age of 12 years old by my mother that I needed to learn how to kneed the dough, cook curries and clean my house to please my husband and just in case I lived with my in-laws.

My mother had the privilege of being born in the UK. However, my father was born in Bahrain and raised in Pakistan. So, he was called to the UK, 3 years after being married to my mother. In this case, my mother didn’t live with in-laws, however my father was very cultural and opposed certain laws onto my mother such as not going out on her own, covering her face if she ever visited a certain part of Birmingham and being a housewife. But, soon as we grew up and my father got with the times and watched the generation change where women became more independent and were out there working hard and striving to meet their goals, my father changed.

When it came to my divorce, after me constantly trying to make my marriage work and my father watching me day and night, watching me cry and not eat, he would speak words of comfort to me. Now, not every south asian man or woman gets this treatment and till this day we are hearing and seeing people commit suicide or suffering at the hands of their husbands/wives/in-laws. But, not my parents.

All praises to God, my parents are so supportive.

The following words of comfort and encouragement are some of the things my parents said to me when I was broken and ashamed of whatever was happening:

God wanted you to be happy and that’s why he removed the one thing that wasn’t making you happy.”

Aslong as we are alive, no one can say anything to you or question you about whatever happened.

Live your life and if you want to work and travel the world go for it.”

A good man will enter your life and will support you and love you for the good woman you are.”

My Friends

My friends have been so supportive and kind. Not out of sympathy but because they’ve known me for years on end and know that I would have gone lengths to fix my marriage. ‘Fix’ was not the problem in my marriage, he is a narcissist that couldn’t get fixed.

My friends have encouraged me to start building back my confidence through skin care, getting dressed, putting on some makeup and double dates! And let me tell you, most guys don’t care if you’re a divorcee. I’ve been told my past is the past and they only care about the person I am today. It was an experience that has made me a stronger person.

Driving around the countryside, going to different cities, parks, restaurants and spending quality time with family and friends really is helping me with my mental health and well-being.

Choosing Yourself

It’s really sad that in today’s society women are being forced to stay with abusive partners and to ‘accept’ their fate because ‘daughter-in-laws’ are to take care of everyone and not have a life of their own.

I was always told from my ex that no one would look at me the same after knowing I’m a divorcee because I’m a woman. But, ever since i’ve been back and met new people, being a divorcee doesn’t affect most men’s opinions of you. This really helped my confidence.

I had to choose myself for the sake of my own mental health, to feel secure in my own skin, to be independent and have the choice of having my own bank account (I know, crazy right?) and to be loved unconditionally.

Being a Pakistani divorcee in 2021 has really shown me a different perspective of what other men actually think of you and how the community sees you and to be fair it ain’t all bad. You just have to remind yourself that you’re a bad ass bitch regardless and no one can judge you with this ‘label’ of being a divorcee.

Written by Layla

Things We’re Leaving in Our 20s

As we enter into this new decade, TalkThirtea has taken time to reflect on the last decade – our 20s. Like everyone, it has been full of highs and lows and we’ve learned many lessons along the way. Here are some of the things we plan on leaving in our 20s!

Dwelling On The Past

Obviously, this does not mean that we won’t look back at our memories with fondness. Of course we will! However, we are not looking back to punish ourselves on all of the “What ifs” and “Should’ve done’s.” We are at this exact point in our lives for a reason and every choice we’ve made up until today has led us to where we are right now. And for that we should be eternally grateful. No regrets!

Bad Body Image

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Well this one is a tough habit to break, but going into our 30s, we’re done hating our bodies or picking ourselves apart (and if you’re in your 20s doing this, please stop!) We are enough just the way we are. Gone are the days of saying “I can’t wear that until I lose 20lbs” or “I wish I wasn’t so pale.” Our 30s are going to be a decade full of self-love!

Accepting The Bare Minimum

Like most people, in our 20s, we’ve all allowed ourselves to be disrespected in one way or another. Relationships in particular have been disappointing. And we’ve learned the hard way that accepting the bare minimum is a form of disrespect. Nobody should have to beg anyone for the basics, like time and affection! So onwards and upwards!

Self-doubt/Negative Self Talk

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We’ve survived the first 29 years and we’ve succeeded in plenty of the things we’ve put our minds to. Why wouldn’t we be able to achieve all of our goals in our 30s? Negative self-talk is the biggest hurdle in reaching our goals. We’re pulling down those mental barriers in our 30s.

Comparing Ourselves to Other

Everyone is on a different path. Some people have started families, others have built successful careers. Others are struggling to find their way in life. We’re not wasting any more time comparing our timeline to someone else’s. Comparison is the thief of joy and it’s time to embrace exactly where we are in this moment.

Saying Yes/People Pleasing

It’s uncomfortable to say no to things sometimes. But we’re learning that setting boundaries is an act of self-respect. It is nice to be nice but it’s also nice to say NO. And do what you actually want to. In our 30s, we are done people pleasing while making ourselves unhappy in the process.

Waiting on “Someday”

Someday is today… “Someday I’ll start that business” “Someday I’ll go live abroad.” We’re done waiting on someday. Life is really short and growth really only starts at the end of our comfort zone, so why are we putting our goals to the side and settling for something less while waiting on someday? Not in our 30s! We’re on a mission to smash our goals this decade and seek discomfort!

“Choose to do more than just exist; choose to live.”

My PCOS Journey: Living with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Living with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, this is my PCOS journey and story. Before I begin, I just want to praise and acknowledge anyone who gets up everyday feeling optimistic and accepting their PCOS journey. Even though you may question why this has happened to you or feel you may not be worthy of being a mother, know that God or whatever you may believe in has a better plan for you.

Below I explain PCOS and some symptoms I face:

What is PCOS?

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a condition that affects women and how the ovaries function. Nowadays it is thought that about 1 in 10 women in the UK suffer with PCOS. It is a hormonal condition and it is not known what causes this. Living with PCOS can be very difficult.

Common Symptoms or Signs of PCOS?

  • Excessive hair growth (face, chest, back)
  • Irregular periods or no period
  • Weight gain
  • Difficulty getting pregnant
  • Oily skin
  • Acne
  • Hair loss or hair thinning from the head
  • Increased risk of getting type 2 diabetes
  • Depression
  • Sleep Apnoea
  • High Blood Pressure

My PCOS consists of all these common signs and symptoms except type 2 diabetes (all praises to God). However, when I was seen by a gyno 8 months ago, she told me I was borderline type 2 diabetic. I was in the middle of my emotionally abusive marriage which I know was not helping my condition either!

Anyway, I only ever started my period naturally maximum 3 times in my whole life! Once when I was 11 years old and my period lasted 1 day, again at 15 years old and my period lasted 2/3 days and lastly at 27 when my marriage broke down. But my gynocologist mentioned I may have miscarried due to stress during my marriage breakdown. As you can imagine, living with PCOS and in an abusive marriage was extremely taxing on my mental health.

At the age of 21, having no period was obviously very abnormal. PCOS can run in the family and my cousin had been diagnosed with PCOS so I was pretty sure I had the same condition. However, I was neglected by the NHS when being checked by doctors at the age of 16 and was ruled out as having a “hormonal imbalance”. At 21 I had the same scan again and was finally told I had PCOS. I cried my eyes out because the thought of not being able to have children was daunting.

Toxic Relationship and PCOS

For me personally, I now see my PCOS as a gift. Why you may ask? Without a doubt it has saved me from my biggest regret. My marriage. I know if children were involved my life would have been over because he would have used my kids against me. Being in a narcissistic relationship didn’t help me or my health when I was trying to get pregnant. And thanks to my PCOS, I was saved from an abusive relationship longterm.

My ex husband was adamant that we would have children, despite knowing about my PCOS before we married. I stopped taking my contraception pills and began to see a gynocologist to help me conceive naturally. Unfortunately after some scans and blood tests I was told I would need to go through IVF. IVF is a procedure where the sperm and egg are fertilised outside the body by scientists and then inserted back into the female. This comes with some risks and is very expensive, however, many have been successful.

I would have mental breakdowns due to my ex’s comments on my weight as well as me not being able to conceive. He would embarrass me in front of other people. I had never hid my condition from him but he made me feel like less of a woman due to my infertility. Due to this I became suicidal, and had constant panic attacks. Thanks to good friends and supportive family members (who lived in the UK whilst I was in the US) I managed to escape my marriage.

Also, the pressure of his mother always complaining about me not being pregnant was constantly on my mind. She would make remarks about if me and my ex were using protection and would discuss this with her friends in front of me. I would be so embarrassed and my ex was okay with it. He would defend his mother and tell me she can say and do what she wants.

How to Cope with PCOS

So what do I do, while living with PCOS to cope? I remind myself every day that I’m beautiful in any shape or size as PCOS does make losing weight difficult. My weight fluctuates but I don’t let it bring me down. Yes, I do experience bad days but I try to eat healthily but never starve or deprive myself. PCOS is a mental challenge more than anything so it is very important to keep and have an optimistic mindset.

PCOS does not rule out having children for me. It just makes the journey to become a mother more difficult but I know that God has a plan for me. I surround myself with people who will always love and support me.

It really does affect my mental health and I always try my best to support charities who help orphaned children and women struggling with fertility. This gesture gives my mind comfort that I’m helping those less fortunate than me and I begin to show more gratitude.

I have started to try and drink green juices every morning, I avoid dairy products as much as I can as I become bloated! I was also advised to eat gluten and dairy free products to avoid diabetes and increase in weight. So you might want to look more into that!

For excessive hair growth I have had laser treatment done and it has really helped with my confidence and self-esteem. Laser has many benefits as it also clears up your skin and any hyperpigmentation caused by PCOS.

Remember ladies, having a supportive partner is so crucial when facing difficulties in life especially involving fertility. I wasn’t as lucky BUT not being able to have children doesn’t define who I am as a person or a woman. Just remember after hardship comes ease and if we are not blessed to have children, we will be blessed in other ways.

Written by Layla

Why Your 30s Can Be Better Than Your 20s

If you are approaching your 30s with some fear that your best days are behind you, we’re here to remind you that the only way is up! Your 20s may have been a fun decade, but your 30s can be even better. Here are some improvements you can hope to see this decade.

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  1. You have more confidence

In our 20s, most of us focus far too much on what other people think and how we are perceived. By our 30s, we’ve really ran out of f*cks… We know our own personal style, our taste in music and where our priorities lay. It feels amazing to be at ease in your own skin!

2. You are more skilled

By 30, we have spent a fair bit of time honing our skills, whether they be career skills, cooking or decorating our apartments. In our 20s, we are normally all winging it and figuring out things as we go.

3. You feel more beautiful

This goes hand in hand with our confidence, but by our 30s, we know our body and hopefully should be at a better place with accepting how we look. We appreciate our bodies and can accept our flaws, rather than drawing comparisons to others.

happy woman doing a high five
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4. You don’t care what other people are doing

Of course, our loved ones matter. But what I mean by this is, we do not have that FOMO anymore and wondering if we are doing what we should be/what others are doing.

5. You are in a better financial position

Everyone is different but most of us have worked minimum wage jobs while studying or working our way up in a career. Our 20s are normally a financial struggle. But hopefully by this point, our bank balances are a bit healthier!

6. You have fewer, but better friends

In our 20s, friends come and go during your studies, different jobs and travels. So by the time we reach our 30s, we normally have a solid, good friends group who we can trust for life!

Those are just some of the improvements you might expect to see in your 30s. Everyone is different so we’d love to hear what you think about getting older. Are you scared of aging? Learning to embrace it? Let us know in the comments below!