I was a single mother at the age of 19 years. The story was one that is common and most of us presume that it will never happen to us. A relationship where things were moving too fast, a boy begging to let him go all the way and despite knowing about contraception, stupidly not paying attention to it. Once I missed my period I knew that something was wrong. Sheer fear of my parents and in desperate hope that some solution will be found, I kept the pregnancy hidden for as long as I could. Six months later I was showing a bump and the father of my baby had left me and gone off to college. My parents found out as did the entire neighborhood and from being a simple girl next door, I became the ‘pregnant one’.
I was barely out of high-school and had a baby girl to take care of. My parents were in my case fighting a lot and my pregnancy just went and tumbled the entire apple cart over. They got divorced and six months after my delivery I did not even have a house to live in since they sold it off. Mom moved in with her boyfriend and dad got a job transfer and went off to Sydney. I took a one room apartment on rent and from then on was in a complete soup. I could not go to work, since I had a baby at home and did not have the money to leave her in a day care since I had no job. I was caught really badly. To make matters worse, I could not get a well paying job since I did not have a college degree and could not get a college degree since I did not have money to pay for my fee. Everything just came crashing down like a house of cards and I had no clue who to contact.
I took Eliza to the hospital for her shots and it was here that I happen to mention to the nurse there that I was in a big soup. She gave a bunch of flyers and brochures and said I should go through them for more information. It was in one of these brochures that I found some grants for child care. I had no clue that there are loan and grant options for single moms who cannot afford child care and have to go to work. This seemed like a doable option for me and I began to search the net for more information on the issue. I went to the local library and browsed on the net and found a lot of sites that gave some amazingly comprehensive information on the topic.
http://www.singlemom.com/need-help-with-paying-for-child-care/ was the link that I used to get my ball rolling in the right direction. I filed my papers and was soon informed that I made the cut for the grant. From here on things began to fall back in the right place. I got a job with a local bakery and was able to leave my daughter in a day care for six hours a day. Within the first three months, I saved up enough to look at options for a rented house in a better area and closer to work too.
While initially I got a grant for full waiver of the child care, once I got my job and all I had to pitch in while the State shared the fee with me. With a day care for my baby I was able to concentrate on my work and so broke free from my first catch 22 situation, then came the more difficult one. I knew if I wanted to get a better job, then I had to get a degree of some sort. Since I was happy working in a bakery, I decided what will work out best for me is a baker’s course and that is what I set my mind to pursuing.
While there are a lot of grants and loans for the traditional degrees that one gets from colleges, when it comes to training courses, things get a bit dicey. But since I had gotten my ball rolling with the grant for child care, I knew there are bound to be some options in this case too. There were and I did manage to get a student loan for the same. I kept my job at the bakery, managed to pay entirely for the day care and also went on to do my two year course in bakery. From working at a local bakery I went on to apply for a job with a leading 5 star chain of hotels and am today sending my kid to a private school and own a house too.
When I look back I realize how the circumstances could have broken me completely. I had not help of any sort. No parents to fall back on. No money saved up and a kid to take care of. Today I am doing much better and it was that seemingly small benefit that the federal government offered that changed things for me. With that little support that was given to me during the initial few months, I was able to pick myself up and get going.
I did have my lows and things did seem like they were going to be the end of me, but the one thing I realized was that there are always positive options. We just have to set our mind to look for them and then adopt them too. So do not give up. Keep looking for a positive solution out of your catch 22 situation and you will be surprised how things change for you.