Written by Daisy Leverington

Lifestyle

Motherhood: Just keep going

Daisy Leverington totally planned to have a baby. She didn’t plan on her financial situation going totally tits up before she arrived though.

skint

Being skint and having a baby sucks big hairy donkey balls.

It’s a slow-build, soul-sucking pit of fog that takes away your ability to see forwards. It forces you into the here and now at a time when the here and now is the last thing you want to concentrate on.

There isn’t an edge to peer over, there is only the constant ache of hunger, the worry about telling anyone about your money worries in case someone takes the baby away (unlikely, but try telling that to a broke postnatal woman battling depression) and the overwhelming fear that This Is It.

I used money I got on my 29th birthday to buy a handful of reusable nappies so I never had to worry about running out, but then I didn’t have enough electric in the meter to wash the bloody things, so that sucked.

I saved every last bit of decent food for my daughter, which she would turn away from being such a fussy eater, while we went hungry.

We walked everywhere, not enough money for bus fares to mates houses or coffee mornings, always arriving late and sweating, embarrassed and ashamed.

Our baby was planned while my husband and I were both in great jobs down in London, which both ended as the recession stripped away jobs in the arts.

We moved north so we could afford rent and food, and be nearer to our families who have helped beyond words while we were struggling.

My job as a street theatre performer and actor (hey, have you heard of me? NO? Shocking. My career was DAZZLING) is limited to not being heavily pregnant, and there’s no sick or holiday pay for anyone who gets knocked up.

My husband’s job as a fight director is heavily dependent on funding awarded to art institutions, so we’ve both lost a lot of work in the past five years.

Everything that was ever carefree was gone.

Nothing is ever spontaneous when you’re skint. From nights out in Islington to nights in at our new place in Derby, we’d unwittingly traded in everything to have our baby.

One evening when I was about six months pregnant, we sat on the floor in our new home and looked at the small pile of belongings that were worth a few quid that we could potentially sell to raise some money for the gas and electric meters.

That was as close to rock bottom as it got. Cold, hungry and pregnant.

Wow, I failed so early on! High five!

Our parents never truly knew how bad things got; we shielded them and our baby from the reality of having no milk for a cuppa when people came round.

Nothing is ever spontaneous when you’re skint. From nights out in Islington to nights in at our new place in Derby, we’d unwittingly traded in everything to have our baby.

Play dates and get-togethers were cancelled as our car broke and we couldn’t afford to fix it. Winter was a toughie, we wrapped up and shuffled around the house like those rubbish tip people in Labyrinth, occasionally finding a pound down the back of a chair and laughing like loons.

It got better. It gets better. Our daughter has no idea how we struggled in her first year, and how close to the nail it regularly still gets.

We both work as often as we can now and she loves her free hours at nursery. Seriously, LOVES them.
She much prefers her teachers to us, the little shitbag.

I’m hoping she’ll never know how hard it was (unless she reads these columns and declares herself a ward of the state) and if ever she gets into a similar rut we’ll strip the cat and sell it for parts if necessary.

If you’re in the place that I was in, keep going. Just keep fucking going, however you can.

Things get better, babies grow into fun little people whose hugs can lift you off the floor and back onto your feet. Work gets easier. Eventually you’ll be able to look back on the rut and be proud of yourself for climbing out. Just keep going.

@daisyjoy

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Written by Daisy Leverington

Daisy Leverington - Actor, mother, expert at winging it.