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Did my children die because I married my cousin?

Photo #1 from Naranpar, India by Gaurav Raste made on 2018-12-14 20:05 for Sola

Ruba and Saqib both carry a gene for an incurable condition, which means their children have a one-in-four chance of dying in early childhood. They've already lost three. Ruba now wants IVF, to select a healthy embryo. Saqib is putting his trust in Allah. And some relatives want them to separate and remarry.

Ruba Bibi had not wanted to marry so young. She had planned to do A-levels and go to university, but before she had finished her GCSEs her parents arranged for her to marry Saqib Mehmood, her cousin, in Pakistan.

Born and brought up in Bradford, Ruba had visited Pakistan twice before the wedding - once when she was four and once when she was 12. She couldn't really remember the man she was now engaged to and had never spent time alone with him. He was 27 and worked as a driver. She was 17.

"I was really nervous because I didn't really know him," she remembers.

"I was really shy, I couldn't talk much and I hadn't ever had any interest in boys or anything like that. I was scared and begged my parents to delay things to let me finish school, but they couldn't."

After three months in Pakistan she was pregnant. She returned to Bradford two months later, shocked to be having a baby so soon. But also happy.

When their son, Hassan, was born in 2007 she excitedly called Saqib to tell him that all was well, although the baby seemed to sleep a lot and had trouble feeding.

"I just thought it was normal," Ruba says.

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3 comments
David Lu
These stories break my heart
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Opie ♻️
Probably not, but maybe
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