‘I was in care as a child, and now I’m a parent. It’s really scary.’
‘I felt like I finally had the chance to have my own little family,’ the 28-year-old recalls. ‘It was my turn to love someone, and have them love me back.’
The oldest of four, Rosie grew up looking after her three younger brothers, thinking it was totally normal. ‘My mum was quite a young mum and she had a lot going on,’ Rosie remembers. ‘Sadly, there was a lot of drink involved. The relationship wasn’t great.’
When Rosie was 16, she was a victim of domestic sexual assault, and fled the family home. ‘I never went back,’ she says. ‘Straight away, I thought about where I was going to live. I ended up staying with my friend for a few weeks and then into emergency supported accommodation.’
The police got involved and Rosie was assigned a social worker who encouraged her to stay with a foster family, rather than living independently in support accommodation. ‘I resisted it though,’ she admits. ‘If I couldn’t have my own family, I didn’t want another.’
After the trauma of the assault and leaving her family at a young age, Rosie says her mental health broke down, adding, ‘there was no way I could ever trust anyone again.’
For 18 months, she lived in supported accommodation, dropping out of college to work in retail and save up money to rent her own flat and pay for her own food.
When she changed jobs and started working as an apprentice in an office, she was given a flat to rent.
‘I was put in a flat I couldn’t afford,’ Rosie explains. ‘Because I was working, I wasn’t entitled to housing benefit, but my wages wouldn’t cover the rent.’
Desperate not to give up her job, as her colleagues had given her the emotional support she needed, Rosie made the decision to move back into supported housing, where she was also able to receive help for her increasingly deteriorating mental health.
Then, just after moving into another flat in Bristol at 20, Rosie and her partner discovered they were expecting their own child in 2015.
‘I didn’t tell any social care professionals I was pregnant at first,’ she says. ‘I remember the midwife at my assessment asking if I had any social care involvement, and I said no. If I had said yes, I was worried that it might trigger involvement from social care services.’
Source of data and images: metro