“Before we became homeless, I used to work for the government. I travelled internationally and represented Ireland on many occasions. I was already half-way to becoming a solicitor, but all I wanted was kids and a happy family. I was single, close to thirty and I was feeling the pressure of choosing between starting a family or continuing my career.
One night, I was out with my friend when I saw him. It was actually his friend who sent me a drink in his name. For me, it was like a fairy-tale. I’d never met such a polite and nice guy. He bought me flowers, opened the door for me, he was a real gentleman. Only when I got pregnant a year later, things began to change. He started becoming jealous of every move I made. After a while, I wasn’t allowed to wear makeup, or to go anywhere apart from the shops; and I wasn’t allowed to talk to men in general – it’s not like he told me not to, but the treatment I got after made me understand. I learnt to live like that, I adapted. I actually still thought I was doing something wrong.
When you are pregnant and when you want to start a family so much, it makes it harder to realise what is going on. You think if you do everything right things will get better but instead, they only got worse. I remember nights when I was trying to hide the kids in the back room. His jealousy and his actions became more and more aggressive towards us. Then, one night he had some sort of breakdown. I knew I had to get out of there to protect myself and the kids. It was around 1 am, I packed a bag with the baby bottles, some clothes and took the baby out of her cot, my daughter out of her bed and put them into the buggy and ran out of the house. We had to get a place in a refuge to hide from his anger. I lived there for 11 months, homeless with two kids.
It was when Focus Ireland came into our lives – with their help we were able to think about the future. They gave us all the support we needed and helped us find the home I had been praying for. Now, we are ready to have a fresh start.”
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