Chapter 1 – Introduction

I gave birth to three children in three years. I loved each one of them the moment I laid eyes on them.  To me, they are beautiful, healthy, perfect little boys. I raised them mainly on my own, as the father’s job took him away from home for prolonged periods. I never left the children alone for more than an afternoon. I breast fed for 5 years. I bought them farm milk and eggs and bio food, wanting the best for them. They happily ate vegetables and fruits. I tried to transfuse love for music and nature and art and reading. We sang together, painted and read together. We walked the neighbour’s dog together and planted a vegetable garden together. I wanted to teach them about the beautiful world. I wanted to teach them to enjoy life.They all still got their bottles for bedtime, and when they wanted also during the day. I prepared bottle after bottle when they asked for it. I gave all my time to please them and show them love. I did not ignore their basic needs for my own comfort.  If the diaper leaked, then I washed the bedding. I did not keep them from drinking fluids. If they messed, I cleaned up after them without scolding and preferred showing them how to do something in such a way so that they do not mess. They were still learning. Even I still messed and broke things by accident.

If they asked to do or try something, but might get hurt, I would help them do it. When I would not let them have or do something, I explained why, saying that I would not like them getting hurt. I love them more than any other living being on this earth. I listened to them when they spoke. I loved their voices and their faces when they spoke. The innocence and curiosity and trust in their eyes. They were still pure little white sheets of paper. I wanted to cherish and honour that. I considered myself the happiest mother having these three children.

But, everything was not right. Something was wrong in the marriage. I was never able to figure out why I got the distinct impression their father did not love me. My feelings and impressions turned out to be the truth and resulted in my worst nightmare.

The setting now: I still have 3 children. I had given birth to them, so they must be my children. These children are breathing, so they must be alive. I look at my children from a window. I listen to their voices through the floor of the house. This is because my children live on the ground and first floor of the same building as the apartment in which I live.

A nanny potty trained my smallest child. My eldest child was lisping. He must have lost a milk tooth. My second child imploringly begs for what he wants, but is refused.
I can hear them. I could not hold my children on their birthdays. I could not give them presents for Christmas. They spent their first Christmas without me with complete strangers.

The father drops the children off at will, employs nannies at will, and allows anybody to take care of my children, who I am not allowed to even greet. These small children are left alone for weeks in the care of people that do not even speak their language. People this father does not know. I am not allowed to know who they are either.

A nanny mocks my children and tells them to be quiet when they are crying. When the children try to speak, she speaks non stop over them until they are quiet.
A nanny, she was the fourth nanny in four months, told my children they are ugly. How can anyone tell a toddler he is ugly?
They are talked over, screamed at, told they will listen, pulled out into the street. No one is listening to them. I listen to this father threatening in his cold voice that he is going to beat them. I hear, I see, and I can do nothing. My children play in the snow and my heart bleeds to be with them.  Seeing them also scares me. What fable is being told to my children about why their mother is not with them, caring for them and why she is ignoring them? Are they able to hear me moving around in the apartment upstairs? I can hear them. I wonder if the children still want me? Will they understand that these horrible circumstances were not my choice, nor my doing?The last time I held the eldest two children was when I came back from an appointment and they were outside the building. That was three months ago. Today is 15 February 2013. The eldest child had made something for me in school and I saw the child ringing the doorbell of the apartment when I arrived. I was so happy to see them. I accepted the eldest child’s gift and gave him and my second child a hug and told them I love them very much. They left for school after that.
My smallest boy was inside the house. I had not held him since September 2012, five months to date. Even if I begged, cried and pleaded with this father, it would be of no use.
Also outside was this father, his mother and the nanny (she was the third one, I’ve been told). I ignored their presence and walked up the stairs to the front door with this father calling my name repeatedly. I stopped and looked at him. He said if I am outside when the children are outside, he is calling the police. I just looked at this person. My chest used to compress with fear hearing this man speak, but now feelings of disgust replaced the fear. The woman who had raised him was standing next to him with no emotion showing on her face.I tried to wave to my children from the window in the mornings when they go to school. The father, nanny and even the visiting wife of the father’s eldest brother, took photographs of me whenever I tried to greet my children. There were now at times four people taking care of 3 small boys. I once put balloons outside the house for the children. The children have always loved balloons. These people took the balloons out of the children’s hands.A week later this father sued me. This father in court stated that I was a danger to my children, as I had now “lost all touch with reality” and he “could not recognise his wife anymore”. This special forces trained man was at the end of his tether and lived in fear of his wife!  He painted a picture of someone following the children around and harassing them. As a result, he wanted an interdict of 100 metre distance between me and my children, also an immediate eviction from the house apartment and an immediate divorce. I could not help but laugh. I wanted to send this man a picture of his wife, since his memory was so short. This same special forces trained man raided the apartment I was now living in, while I was away. This fact was omitted in the court document. It would not fit into the sympathy picture created for this “poor” father.

This father’s problem: he craves what he knows is unacceptable to a civilised, morally intact society.
He knows his own children’s voices can expose his secret. Thus he is doing his utmost to keep his children silent, helpless, insecure, confused and as far away as possible from the person who can provide help and security for them; and in whom they had confided — their mother.