Mums and newborn babies shouldn’t have to sleep in cars

The time of greatest happiness and contentment in my life so far was the first 6 months after the birth of my child number 1. I had no inkling before I met him that I could love and care for anyone so much. Those first few months were a seamless round of feeding, sleeping, going for walks, cleaning, changing and just nurturing. Me and my partner starting off this little person’s life. We were privately renting a lovely homely home and all this contentment and happiness centred around that place of warmth and safety. There was an element of bliss to it. I recall no negatives.

How different and yet how similar was the experience of the Bournemouth-based first time mum highlighted in The Bournemouth Echo recently. This mum too loved her child ‘to bits’ and had his safety as her number one concern. But rather than having the luxury of wallowing in that care in the comfort of a nice house, this mum was forced to sleep with her baby in a car. Evicted from the room in a shared house she had thought was her home and unable to find a deposit to put down on a new place, the best temporary solution seemed to sleep in a car. Told she was ineligible for support since she is not a local but choosing not to return to where she comes from for fear of an abusive ex-partner, this new mum was given little choice and seemingly no support from the authorities.

A quick summary then: New mother with newborn child-evicted from privately rented room in shared house-unable to find deposit to move to a new place and suffering discrimination from landlords through being in receipt of benefits-doesn’t come from this place so can’t get housing help-can’t return where she’s from as fearful of abusive ex-partner-has to sleep with newborn baby in a car.

This mother needed help and support so she could find a safe and secure place to nurture her child just as I did. She didn’t get it. Her child died .

I know these things are complicated. I know there are two sides to every story. But aren’t you left thinking that a better start might have resulted in a much happier outcome? Aren’t you left feeling this little family was let down?

So, tell me again why properly investing in significant numbers of council and social housing is not an option because, to be honest, I’m still not really getting it.

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