Poonam Sarin Fernandes works with an advertising agency in Gurgaon. She is a single mother to two children who, despite not residing with her anymore, constantly give her the strength to live life happily and courageously. Poonam reveals she is not legally divorced. We spoke to her to know more about her ordeal, her bond with her children and what keeps her going.

The Journey

Poonam’s long journey has not only been challenging, but also emotionally draining. She has been both, a mother and father to her children. Poonam has technically been a single parent for as long as she can remember. She shares, “I was always a single parent since my husband worked in the Gulf. I raised my children by myself. After almost 27 years of marriage, my children and I discovered that my husband had been having an affair all this time. Since my kids were grown up at the time, they confronted their father courageously and asked him to move out of the house. It has been six years now that I’m separated and living on my own.”

Strength and Support System

Poonam, lost her father at a very early age and credits her mother and siblings for her emotional and mental stability. Her mother and sisters live close by and are there for her at every step of the way.

“My mother, despite the hardships, raised us girls well. I think it is her strength that I have imbibed in myself.”

Children are the biggest inspiration

A mother’s bond with her children can never be expressed in words. Poonam believes that had her children not been there with her, it would have been devastating. Her son, who is now married, resides in New Zealand. Her daughter is pursuing her PhD in the USA. When asked how she taught her children about gender roles beyond social constructs, she said, “I’ve raised both my children in an equal space if one can say. They have both been accustomed to a life where they respect the need for equality and righteousness. Also, throughout this ordeal, the love and support that I’ve received from them has been immense.”

Strength and independence is always the first criteria

Poonam has always taught her daughter the significance of being financially independent as a woman. She tells her daughter that becoming strong and independent is always what counts at the end of the day, and that marriage and everything else comes much later.

No one can dare say anything if one is confident and unapologetic

Poonam was initially sceptical about how people would perceive and react to her situation. She was apprehensive in the mornings when she stepped out in her building complex. However, her daughter gave her the courage to face everyone without being sorry. “My daughter always told me to walk with my head held high. She told me that her father had wronged us and it was he who needed to feel ashamed. He has been writing mails to me ever since, to take him back, threatening me. But I don’t want all that back in my life. I have moved on.”
Poonam, has been married for 32 years, cannot be legally divorced as of now. At the time of her wedding, she converted to Christianity and now getting a divorce from the church is extremely difficult. However, she is in a happy space and the six years that she has been separated from her husband. She has healed and continues to live her life independently and unapologetically. She has her children’s love and support and this is what matters to her the most.

More stories by Bhawana

Bhawana is an intern with SheThePeople.TV

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