A Birth to Be Celebrated

A girl was born in Britain.

Her mother will try to give her princess as normal a childhood as possible. She knows it will be difficult, but her determination has won admirers and friends are determined to help out, as best they can. Few actually believe she can achieve this goal.

She is excited about her daughter’s prospects but also worried. What type of country will Britain be when she grows up? Will there be a Britain? She’ll have to work. That’s what her relatives did. Her male relatives served in the army; fewer options for a girl, the mother thought.

She is prettty sure what school her daughter will attend; again tradition will play a role.

Her future will be mapped out – that she understands and accepts – by forces far beyond her control. But she still wants her daughter to have a say in the direction of her life.

The mother won’t be around as much as she wants and her daughter’s dad
will be largely absent, despite the repeated, well-meaning assurances he utters. This is a family not used to seeing fathers helping out with changing nappies and doing odd chores around the house. Times change, but in her heart she knows they don’t change that much for people like her.

Social commentators are adamant that they can predict with near certainty what this baby girl will do in later life. Barely has she had her first feed, when begrudgers across the land are already stating that the family are a drain on the public purse.

Get a proper job, they shout, do something; don’t just live high on the hog as taxpayers fund your lavish lifestyle. Their accomodation, in what some papers describe as opulent, has not gone down well in a country where austerity is a part of the political lexicon.

She knows that, to some, her daughter will be a symbol; to others, she will be an object of contempt and ridicule. Her accent will allow many the opportunity to label her unfairly and presume to know her ambitions and limitations.

She is relishing being alone with her baby in the coming days, but realizes that society demands certain things of her. Some call it sacrifice. She calls it what it is: work.

The cleaning company, that pays her under the counter, has given her a week’s unpaid maternity leave. The government announced that her housing and heating benefits will be cut, as will the single mother’s allowance. She’d like to work more, earn extra money, but childcare services have been slashed. She knows that Britain is not a country where birth or rearing children is usually celebrated.

The poorest section of society in Britain are the 1.9 million single parents (average age 38) and their three million children, who make up a quarter of all families with children in the UK.

The statistics are damning with 42 per cent existing below the poverty line. Less than 2 percent of single mothers are teenagers; about 50 percent had children within marriage and 63.4 percent work, according to Gingerbread, an organization that seeks to dispell myths and labels wrongly attached to single parents.

Where a single parent works part-time, the poverty rate for children is 30 percent and 22 percent where the parent works full time.

When she was recuperating in the public ward, she heard that the Duchess of Cambridge had given birth. Her daughter was born the same day.
She wished their princess well.