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I'm blessed with the pals I have

Sara Hakim lives in Dublin 7 with her partner Paul Whelan and their four sons Tomas (8), Sean (6) and twins Conor and Daithi (3). She was born and bred in London to a Syrian father and an English mother.

She moved to Ireland almost 15 years ago and although her first pregnancy was unexpected, she has learned to embrace motherhood and has made some great friends.

"Tomas was a big surprise, I was 29, we had just bought our first house, I had a job I loved and having a baby was the last thing on my mind but after the initial shock was over, Paul and I were delighted.

"I didn't know how much I would have liked to have family around as I had no idea how hard it would be, so I thought I could do it all without any trouble, now I realise how much I would have liked my family to be near for practical and emotional support.

"With my parents in London, I turned to Paul's family for support – my mother-in-law has been great and really gets stuck in when she is around – but she lives in Wexford and we are in Dublin.


"When Tomas was born I didn't know anybody locally and most of my other friends were working, so maternity leave was pretty lonely initially. But after a while I found the local mother-and-toddler group and although I made a few friends there, things only really started to come together when Tomas started playschool. I met a great bunch there and made a few really close friends.

"I still miss the people that know me best – the ones who take me for who I am, no matter what. I miss the history I have with them and the way I know I can call on them for help at any time and they won't expect anything in return.

"However, I've been blessed with the lovely people I have met here, both Irish and from overseas."

Visit: www.facebook.com/ AGatheringForSyria Sara is organising an awareness evening on May 24 at The Third Space so people can show support for the people of Syria during their humanitarian crisis. Entry costs €15 (includes music and refreshments) in aid of the Irish Red Cross. SUPPORT: Sara Hakim with sons (left to right) Sean, Conor, Daithi and Tomas