I know straight off that this is a controversial topic and pretty much everybody has an opinion on it. What annoys me the most is that as someone who it actually affects first hand, people are so quick to judge and suggest solutions, without actually knowing the details.
As you may know, or have guessed, Cameron was an unplanned baby. The story surrounding the pregnancy and his birth is complicated to say the least, and yes it would have definitely been easier if I had not had him. But to me that was not an option. I was, however, determined to stay on at Uni, and even went back only two weeks after giving birth just so I didn't fall behind with my final year.
The last year of my degree was really hard, both mentally, physically and financially. Because I was receiving a student loan, this was considered a source of income, and meant I was not given the full amount of benefits. When I completed my degree in July of this year, I had already decided to take a few months out to spend time with Cameron which I had missed out on due to me degree. So, with this in mind, I took the steps to go onto 'full' benefits, and claimed income support.
This has been the worst experience of my life. The job centre make you feel like dirt, the people who you tell you are on benefits look at you like you are dirt, every penny you spend you get judged for. I would never have chosen to go on benefits if I had a proper choice. Now, I am desperate to get back into work, to have a proper job now I have graduated, but what are my chances? Times are bleak for everyone, but how am I meant to survive on a single income, needing to pay rent, bills and on top of that childcare for Cameron which will likely be in the hundreds each week? It is just such a ridiculous system where I am actually better off to stay on benefits than to try and get a job.
It is so unfair that I want to be working, but can't see how I would be able to afford to, and yet I get people thinking the worst of me, deciding I have no ambition, putting me in the same stereotypical category as others who have made no effort all of their lives. I can't stand it.
Judge me if you will, but at the end of the day, I have a degree, a son, and the drive and determination that will get me out of this situation just as soon as I can.