‘My visa was denied.’ I never thought I’d be a single parent with a partner on the other side of the world.’: Solo mom raises son alone during lockdown, ‘I have hope we’ll be together again’

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“My journey to motherhood hasn’t gone the way I had planned, but does anything really go according to our plans?

I always wanted to be a mother. I envisioned my children and knew one day, it would happen. I was a nanny for many years and took a lot of lessons away from each family formulating my own way I would want to parent my children.

I met my partner 4.5 years ago at yoga teacher training in Rishikesh, India. From that point on, my life went down a path I never expected. I was drawn to him in a way I had never felt before and after only a month of knowing him, I knew he was my future. I knew I had to get back to India as soon as possible.

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I went home and got a job for 6 weeks before returning to India and moving in with him. I moved back and forth between America and India because my visa was only valid for 6 months at a time. I would go home and get a job and then come back and stay with him for 6 months and do it all over again.

My partner ran his own business and needed to be in India. I didn’t mind going back and forth. It was nice to have time with my family and friends in a familiar place before being fully immersed in a different culture where no one spoke English where I lived.

When I went to India, I stayed with my partner and his family, which meant we were recognized as married according to Indian culture. Since I am foreign to India, we had decided to legalize our marriage after his older brother’s wedding. My visa was coming to an end and I had already booked my trip back home for the end of May that year. We didn’t have time to legalize anything before my trip so we decided to wait until I came back again.

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2 days before I was supposed to fly back to America, I found out I was pregnant. We were overjoyed and very excited to welcome this little being into our lives! This definitely impacted our plans going forward. I couldn’t cancel my trip and because I was pregnant and a US citizen, I decided I needed to stay in America to have the baby.

We were only expecting to be apart for maybe 6 months with plans to have my partner come to America for the baby’s birth. We tried to get him a visa, which was denied. Because of our time difference, he had his interview for the visa while I was sleeping. I woke up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom (prego probs) to a message from him saying it didn’t work and a picture of the letter they had given him denying him access to the US.

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I was devastated. Maybe I was naive, but I didn’t expect it to be difficult to get him a visa just to visit for a few months. I sat in the bathroom and sobbed. I didn’t want to be apart from my partner during a very life-changing event for both of us. I wanted his comfort during pregnancy and childbirth. I wanted him to meet and know his son the day he was born. I wanted us to be together as a new little family!

There was really nothing we could do because we were on a timeline. I cried a lot during my pregnancy. I was healthy and the baby was healthy, but I was emotionally overwhelmed by the thought of doing it alone.

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I wasn’t alone of course. I had my family and my friends there to support me through it all. I was so grateful to all of them for being there for me. My mom and my best friend came to the birthing classes with me. They were both in the room when my son was born and I couldn’t have asked for better support. But I still longed for my partner to be by my side.

The birth of our son was beautiful and transformative. I knew I was strong, but that made me feel amazing! It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done and I’m so grateful that out came a beautiful, healthy baby boy.

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My recovery was longer than I had anticipated. It took about 4 months to finally feel pain-free and normal again. Or as normal as any mother feels after giving birth. For that reason, we didn’t end up going back to India until our son was 5 months old. I had planned on going back when he was around 2 to 3 months, hoping the earlier we went, the better it would be for daddy and baby to bond.

It didn’t actually matter when we came back because their bond has never been impacted by our distance. Sage loves his daddy so much! They look exactly the same, from head to toe, and they love each other so much!

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I was so happy our son, Sage, took to his dad right away. It helped me not feel so bad about things not working out the way we had wanted, even though none of it was my fault.

Once we returned to India, we stayed for a few months and went back to America to reset our visas yet again. The next time we returned, we planned on getting all of our papers legalized so Sage and I could stay as long as we wanted. Then the whole world went into lockdown. We had the paperwork filled out, but the office had closed and we were unable to send it in.

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My son and my visas were coming to an end again and we had the choice to extend for one month. We ended up leaving to come back home in July of 2020 and haven’t been able to go back since. India’s borders are still closed and since we don’t have the correct visas to enter we have to wait. It’s been almost 7 months.

I did not envision myself being a single parent with a partner all the way on the other side of the world. I didn’t expect to be my son’s end-all-be-all because I’ve been the only constant he’s ever had in his life.

Sage and I are best buddies and I’ve parented him the way that has come most natural. It worked out a lot of the Indian traditions were what felt right for me as well. Breastfeeding on demand, co-sleeping, and elimination communication. These were all things I knew I wanted to do before having him and was so thankful it was normal in India to do those things as well.

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We talk to my partner on the phone every day so Sage knows he’s still very much a part of our lives and that mommy and daddy love each other and Sage so much! But I have to admit it’s not easy at all.

There’s only so much emotional support you can get from someone on the other side of the world. Our time distance is 11.5 hrs (or 12.5 when the time changes), which means it’s literally night and day. Our window to talk is small and that means it’s mostly a check-in and then one of us is going to bed while the other is just starting their day.

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I know it’s good for Sage to see him though, no matter how small that window is. I know their bond will always be strong, no matter how far apart we are. They are a part of each other and nothing can hinder that. I hold onto hope we’ll one day be together as a family again, wherever that may be.

Until then, being Sage’s mother is my absolute priority and the joy of my life! He has changed me in ways I never knew possible. He challenges me daily and has helped me grow in ways I didn’t know I needed to. Mother has been my greatest role yet and I am grateful beyond measure he chose to journey this path with me.”

Courtesy of Brady Crews

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Brady Crews. You can follow their journey on Instagram. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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