Natalie’s Story

I suppose looking back on it now I was a depressed child. Who would have thought that at 28 I would have three beautiful children, holding down a part time job and in a stable relationship.

Many people would describe my childhood as awful and in many ways it was. My mam had me when she was 20. I don’t remember much of my early childhood other than living in lots of different places. My earliest memories are of living in a group home with my mother. I was probably aged about 4 or 5. I remember playing with the other children and having meals with them like one big family. My mother would never get out of bed in the morning and I was allowed watch anything that was on the TV or wander around from room to room. She did tell me a story every night going to bed and always said “I love you darling” when she was leaving the room. We slept in the same room and I remember she would wake me coming to bed and I would climb in beside her.

When I was aged about 6, I remember being hospitalised for what seemed like an eternity and I my memory is I didn’t see my mother for this entire period. When I confronted her about this later she said that I had been in hospital for three weeks and she had visited me at night and I was always asleep. During my early childhood there was constant finding between my mam and my granny. They would always be shouting and screaming at each other. My Granny used to give me lots of hugs and treats and would tell me what a lovely girl I was. I think my mam might have been jealous.

When I was about eight my mam got pregnant again and my brother was born. She married my brother’s father shortly after and we all moved into our own house. She had another baby a year later. The house was crazy and disorganised and I loved it. My mam rarely cooked and I rarely got to school on time, if at all. Nonetheless every night, my mam who loved dancing would put on CDs and myself and my brothers would dance and sing. My step father also joined in when he was at home as did our friends from next door…

I was always in trouble in school because I rarely had the right books and I never had my homework done. When things got really bad my mam would go up to the school and for some reason the teachers always stopped giving me trouble and became nicer to me after her visits. I suppose they felt sorry for me.

When I was 12 my mam and dad separated. My two brothers were taken into care and I was left with my mam. We lived in the family home for a while and then, when this was sold we started moving again from place to place. Finally when I was 14 we moved into sheltered accommodation, where my mam still lives.

I was a quiet, withdrawn child. Whenever there was fighting I just went into another room and sat silently in the corner or chair. I won’t say I was scared it was more that I felt I didn’t really care. Certainly I hated school and I didn’t care at all about the teachers or homework. Most times I remember just feeling like I wanted to cry or go asleep. I stopped going to school when I was 13 and didn’t make one friend. I was a wild teenager and lets say I did everything there was to do. My mam had no idea what I was up to and I don’t know how I survived. Nonetheless I stayed living with my mam until I had my first baby and got my own house.

Even though my mother was a terrible mother I always knew she loved me. I know that she had her own problems to deal with and was trying her best. I loved the times I spent with her, when she told me stories or danced with me. When she was out of bed she was great fun and always made me laugh. Despite all of her faults she never laid a hand on me and I know that if anybody had ever tried to physically harm me she’d have killed them. My step father was also a good person and he tried his best. When he was around he made me feel good and he always said nice things to me.

I work part time in a local shop which suits me. I love my own kids more than anything else in the world. I make sure they get to school and do their homework and they are all involved in sports, which gives me a break. I do get down at times but then I think what the hell I’m not doing too bad considering. My partner cheers me up and he works hard so we have a few bob to spend on the kids. He’s no Johnny Depp but he treats me well and he loves the kids, even though the eldest isn’t his.

My brothers haven’t done so well, one of them is a drug addict, the other lives abroad.  I see my mother everyday and bring her shopping. She’s not well and she depends on me. I drop the kids to school and then I drop up to her. My kids are close to her although I’d never leave them in her care. Alot of the time I feel sorry for her. Funny thing, she still says I love you darling when I’m leaving everyday.