Samira's story

Samira* lives in the house she owns with her husband and four children, the youngest of whom is just a few months old. Despite both parents being in paid work, Samira as a teacher and her husband in construction, Samira and her husband are struggling to get by.

Following the birth of her youngest child and the passing of her mother, who used to provide childcare for the older children, Samira told us that coping financially has become much more difficult. The money she receives for the children is swallowed up with household costs and the family is cutting back, for example buying second-hand clothes. Samira’s older children have stopped asking for money for school trips, as they know that they are unaffordable.

Samira is working more than she would like to be with a young baby, because of the financial pressures the family is under, but struggles to find the money to pay upfront for childcare: ‘I’ve had to beg, borrow, steal where I can, that’s how desperate we are. We’ve had a brother in-law who’s in the army take time off in the holidays, luckily my daughter has been able to take the odd day to look after them while she’s not at college just so we can build the £1000 up [for childcare]. I’d love nothing more than to see my child grow up and develop but the hard fact is we’ve got a mortgage and council tax, cars to run, gas and electric. On my maternity it went straight to our mortgage as did my husband’s wage’. She fears that going back to work full-time, which she would like to do in future, will be impossible: ‘I wanted to be a role model for my children but it’s crippling us at the moment.’

Samira explained that their financial situation has caused immense strain and tension in her relationship with her husband, and that she can see no way out of it. She has even contemplated suicide: I won’t lie, [I have even had] thoughts of suicide at some points. I mean how horrible is that? ‘Cause I don’t know a way out?”

Samira sees the two-child limit as cruel and unfair, especially for those who have worked all of their lives, with support not being available as it was when their other children arrived: “I don’t see how it’s fair [that] we’re not being supported any more”.

Names have been changed

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