Today we mark #InternationalWomensDay by sharing the story of a mum we’ve supported. It’s not an easy read, but the stories of the families we work with rarely are. We support mothers who are going through some really tough times. We can’t fix everything, but with your help we can provide support and solidarity when it’s needed most.
Jade* (not real name) is 24 and a single mum of 3 boys, aged 6, 2 and 7 months. She first came to us for support when her eldest son was a baby. She said:
“I left home at 15 and got thrown into a hostel and left on my own. Social services didn’t care about me but they came back when I got pregnant at 16. When I was in the hostel, I was completely alone. No one checks you’ve eaten, no one cares if you come home or not. I felt like ‘I’m an adult now, I can do what I want,’ but I wasn’t, I was still a child. It was the darkest time of my life.
“When I got my council flat it was unfurnished which was difficult, it’s got massive windows and even now I can’t afford curtains.
“The most stressful thing is that social services are involved because my eldest son has behavioural issues. I feel they blame me, saying we don’t have a bond, but I’ve been asking for help and no one’s helped.
“Sometimes the social worker tells me ‘it’s messy,’ and I think ‘you’ve no idea how much I’ve done today.’ I’m juggling school runs, appointments for my middle son who has allergies, physio appointments for the baby who has a medical condition – I do what I can, my kids won’t suffer if it’s messy.
“I don’t get support from my kids’ dads. One was violent, another pops in every 6 months with a pair of trainers. I’m on my own.
“Financially, it’s hard. I ensure the kids eat but I normally only eat once a day. Plus, I don’t sleep well, I can’t switch off, my mind is constantly awake.
“Mon- Fri, 10am-5pm I feel like I hold my breath. Once 5pm comes the appointments are done, the pressure’s off, that’s when I breathe. And even then, I’ve got 3 kids to get to bed.
“My hope is that social services leave me alone or do their job, whichever works. I’m open to help, but it’s not happening.”