End Young Parent Poverty: Aimee and Matt's story
Last updated: 14/05/2023
Aimee is 22 and lives with her partner Matt, also 22. Both are full time university students and have a baby who is five months old.
“We live in a flat with our son, Noah. I worked the full length of my pregnancy from January to October until he was born and now I’m at home with him. As a young parent, you are treated as if you don’t know as much. People expect young people to be out drinking and partying all the time, and they assume you’re not capable of looking after a baby. People look at you if you’re in the shops and you’ve got a buggy when you’re going out. The security kind of takes an extra look at you, and it could just be me being paranoid, but I feel like they expect me to maybe steal something or they think I’m not able to afford my baby. I mean, we budget and spend as much as we’re able to.
Next year in September I’m going back to Uni. So, we want to try and go to our classes so that I’m in one day, and he’s in another day because childcare at the moment is thousands of pounds a month and we don’t get that much from work. We’re not qualified enough to get a high paying job to be able to afford the cost and we also want to be able to be at home to spend time with our baby, and not just working all day.
End Young Parent Poverty
Find out more about One Parent Families Scotland’s campaign to provide young parents under 25 a top-up payment through the Scottish Child Payment, and for under 25s to be paid the same rate of Universal Credit as over 25s.
We both receive Universal Credit but get less because we are students and because we are under 25. We still have to pay the same costs as people that are over 25. We pay the same amount of rent, we pay the same for food. It’s not like because you turn 25 suddenly, you’re eating more or having to buy more food. I think it is presumed that people over 25 have more costs, maybe because they are more likely to have kids or because they’re more likely to have a job? I don’t know.
Obviously, our baby comes first, he’s provided for before we get anything. We get what we need for him, and make sure that’s he sorted. I’ve been lucky that I’ve been able to breastfeed him. So, I’m not having to buy loads of formula at the moment.
My partner and I used to go to the ice hockey games, and we would enjoy going together. It’s something fun to do. We can’t afford the tickets anymore. I think we’ve been to one game since he’s been born, so that’s like 5 months of not doing something we both enjoy. I think it’s a mixture of having the baby, but it’s also how am I going to afford game fees, or how am I going to afford the training costs? You know it’s all these things that you enjoy doing that you can’t do any more. You don’t buy as many clothes that you maybe wanted, and obviously as a new parent, your body’s changed so much. and you’re trying to squeeze back into your own clothes because you’re not wearing your maternity clothes anymore, because they’re too big, but your clothes from before it might be too small.
I feel like we’re both quite mature. We know what we want in life, yet I feel like we’re more likely to be asked if our baby was planned. “Did you plan to have your baby?” or “Was he an accident?” I got a lot of awful comments like: “If you can’t afford your baby, you should have just aborted them”. Would you be saying that to someone who’s 30, having a baby? I got told I should be having 6 months of savings that cover all the costs, but how can anyone save at the moment? 6 months of these bills – that’s like having £10,000 or something just sitting in your bank account, you know, it is not realistic. I mean having kids shouldn’t just be for the wealthy.
We’re getting the qualifications to get the jobs we want to do to contribute to society and make a difference. My partner wants to be a lecturer in history or a history teacher. He wants to help future generations and I know I want to work with kids in some form and do things that make a difference.
I want my son to grow up feeling happy and loved and secure and feel like he’s able to do what he wants in his life.
Everyone’s just doing what they can to get by, so anything that the government can do to make it a little bit easier would be really appreciated, just to take the pressure off. It’s not like we’re sitting asking for the freebies, we just want to be entitled to the support that everyone else is getting like older parents. It’s not free money. It’s all going back into society.”