Mahmooda Begham

My name is Mahmooda Begham and I came to England with my parents in 1974 from Pakistan.

In this photo I am 10 years old - we went to a studio in Handsworth, it was an oriental studio, I remember it clearly. My little sister ( the one in bouncer) was 6 months. So that's how I remember the date because she's 10 year's younger than me And next to me is my smallest brother, He's 4 there, and he's now 47 And he's got family of his own, living here. Next to him is my sister, and she's smaller than him. She was born in 1973. And that's my dad, and that's my step mum. My dad passed away on the 2nd of October 2017 my dad was lovely. My mum died when I was 7and my dad looked after us very well he was a lovely man. I never missed my mum as much as I missed my dad, to be honest - I didn't have that much of a bond with my mum as much as my dad - since he's gone I still feel like I've lost the world. My step mum stayed with him for 45 years so she lost as well and we're all lost without him. He was the rock of the family.

I got married to my husband in 1986 and for a long time I didn’t have children - I had 7 miscarriages, and well my dad really wanted me to have a baby. He wanted me to do everything that a mother should do but I couldn't. So it was a very stressful time in my life People used to say things to us - that we couldn't get pregnant, we can't conceive. I'm too fat, I'm this and that. The people didn't let us pick their children up, just in case we put a curse on them and so their children might die or something like that. They used to snatch their children and take them away from us they were afraid of us.

We paid IVF treatment we had to have that, they refuse they said you're too fat. And I literally cried every time because I wanted a child, I wanted to know what it felt like. Other people used to have children, my cousins my sisters my neighbours everybody had them, and I wished I had one of my own. It was really hard I was struggling but I never gave up. I was 36 when I found out that I was diabetic.

The first photo is my son Mohammed when he was about 2 months old. When we found out after 24 years that I was having a baby, my dad was so happy. The whole family were. But I had to have him via a caesarian at 29 weeks plus 1, so he was 10 weeks early. He was 980 grams. There were no clothes of his size because he was so small. They used to put a nappy on him and it used to be up to his neck! And they couldn't get any clothes. Nurses started feeding him on milk just one drop at a time, and we were just so happy that he had one drop of milk. Then when he had two drops, three drops, four drops then it continued from his nose. We were blessed.

But there was a moment when they told us that he's not going to survive and we both sat there and we thought that having a child is a gift from God, and if he gives it he can also take it back. If he takes it back, we can't do anything, can we? And then we just prayed for him. After about two-three hours the doctors came back and told us that they were successful. But those two hours, I can still remember and it still brings tears to our eyes when we talk about it!

And then finally the day came when we brought him home - that was on the 24th of May 2010. And that was the date when he was supposed to be born.

The second photo is my son with his dad He used to come back from work at night and he used to come and look at him and pick him up and give him time. When he was born my husband had a new job and he couldn't have any time off, he couldn’t leave his job either because we needed the work so he used to go in the morning till night, until 10pm or 12pm. It was October, nearly Christmas time, so he had to do long hours there.

People who are waiting to have children I say just be patient and never give up on hopes and your wishes and just remember God has better plans for us and he gives us at the right time. And I pray that people who don't have kids, that will be children in your life if you want them.

I've been through a lot of trouble. I've had a lot of problems with myself, being ill and all that I was only about 10 stones when I went and by the time I waited for the money to come, it was 12 stones. The weight gain followed from there, especially when I got diabetes. Doctors were shocked when I conceived. I was on medication myself for diabetes and high blood pressure, and when I conceived they said they can't believe it, but it just happened.

The first photo is of me wearing my wedding dress and was taken on the first day of our marriage. We originally got engaged on the third of March, 1986. Then we had Islamic marriage 27th April 1986.

I am very happy, my husband always been very supportive of me when we were struggling to have children - everyone used to tell him to get married again to someone else but he said no.

That was me and my husband on the second day of our marriage. We are out for a walk in Tividale Park.

In the first photo, that's my son's granddad, my husband's father. He's never met our son but he was a very very nice person. He used to always pray. He used to say - 'don't worry, you will have a baby and if you don't have one you still have the other kids in heaven. You're going to have flowers there he used to say to me. In this photo is holding my nephew. His name is Danish, he is my son Mohammad’s cousin brother and he's 31 now. He's still got his good looks, and he's still got his blue eyes.

In the second photo, well on the left that's my son's grandmother and my husband's mum. And on the right side is Mohammad’s great-grandmother my husband maternal auntie.

I came to this country when I was 6months old and I have always lived in Tipton. I think it's a great area to live in and grow up. I'm 53, nearly 54, and I still live here. People are nice.

I used to help other people who needed help, like ladies who wanted to go to the hospital, they didn't know how to speak English, so I picked myself up from there. I used to go with them and explain everything that was happening to them. I used to go with my cousins to go to tax offices, to fill the forms, get the money back and all that, from a little age. Because my parents couldn’t speak English And I used to always look out to help my mum and dad.

I left school when I was 15, I didn't take any exams, there were a few problems in the family and then the parents of our parents didn't want us to stay in school. But my teacher did come to our house and tell my mum and dad that your daughter is very very clever and she needs to go forward. But they told her no, the girls don't go to college.

My life has changed since I have my son Mohammad. I have become a better person. We've changed house, we moved house and now we've come to Tipton by Victoria Park, and my life has really changed. I just feel happy in myself. I look at Mohammad and I get so happy.

I am happy in myself now I think Allah has blessed me. My son wants to go to Saudi Arabia for pilgrimage. He wants to go I hope somehow I have the money to go, take him around, he wants to see. That's his dream.
When my dad was dying he said to me
"Look, I'm going, everybody doesn't stay with you forever. Allah gave you a son now. And my dad used to look at my son, and he used to cry and used to say "That's what I wanted to see."  You know, somebody that cared for you, somebody that loved you.

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