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Wednesday March 21st 2018

Inspiring 26-year-old unwed single mum of two boys surviving on $500/month aid

Went up to visit Natalie yesterday, a young 26-year-old single mum of two kids, and came away inspired and mostly in awe of her raw optimism and fighting spirit.

Looking younger than her age due to her petite size and cheerful look, Natalie is not the typical single mum one will associate with. She is naturally positive and smiles alot which is unusual for someone who has to fend for two young boys with only $500 monthly financial aid from the government. She now has a 4-year-old boy and recently another 3-month-old inclusion to the family.

I took time to listen to her story and wow what a story she has to tell and it could easily fill up a book with all the drama and twist.

She is a Thai-Chinese Singaporean and her dad is a Chinese whereas mum is Thai.

She stirred up quite a online storm recently when she wanted to exchange her almost brand-new washing machine for food. Fortunately, out of goodwill, well-wishers donated food to her free and she got to keep her washing machine which is donated by the neighbourhood RC.

“I didn’t eat for almost two days then  and out of desperation I decided to exchange my washing machine for food,” she told me while carrying her new-born handsome baby boy in her strong arms.

There is also nothing much left in her bank account then as the one-room HDB flat rental of $165 has to be paid first so that they can keep the simple home without any default.  Utilities and baby food will easily take up the rest leaving very little in balance for herself. In today’s Singapore, $500 can easily be used up within a week let alone a month with two young kids living together in the household.

I surveyed the simple one-room home measuring 35m only in diameter which is mostly furnished by hand-me-down passed on by well wishers. A old laptop serves as a standby TV and also her only communication with the outside world as the family of three hardly ventures out except to the nearby childcare centre which the elder son attends daily.

There are the usual essential white goods such as fridge and washing machine but the house looks plain and simple and strangely even cosy with its uncluttered look.

“The infant-care service is only available in July when my baby turns 6 months,” Natalie informed me nonchalantly.

The young mum used to work in a cinema part-time and it is foreseeable that she will not hesitate to return to work quickly after she is able to place the younger son in infant-care due to the pressing financial issue.

Having given birth to the elder son almost four years ago and becoming a unwed single mum at 22 years old, Natalie must have grown up and matured faster than most women of her age. I told her that my daughter is already 24 years old and she is still studying.

She also drops a bombshell saying that her first boy is from a rape case and she doesn’t really know who the guy is and I didn’t press to get all the details.

Abortion is not an option and she kept the child and against all odds raised him all this while by herself.

“I used to stay with my mum,” she confided, “but the house will be abit squeezy with the new baby as its a small house.”

She petitioned the MP for her own flat several times and finally the authorities relented. I am sure her gutsy character plays a huge part in how she wants to live her own life independently.

The second child is also born out of wedlock and her ex-boyfriend gave her the ultimatum – its either the child or him. She chose the child as killing a baby is not in her dictionary.

Her maternity instinct is probably very strong within her and the recent change in law which entitled unwed single mum with a baby bonus of $3000 does help though its only used for childcare and medical expenses.

However, she is still sometimes weighed down by the sole responsibility of single parenting and felt if she can raise the two boys up well by herself.

I told her many children raised by single mums are doing well when they have grown up and some are in fact giving back to the community by virtue of their adverse childhood situation.

Many are appreciative of the sacrifices made by their single mothers and will cherish whatever they have while growing up.

As both kids are borned Caesarean, a third kid is out of the equation and I am sure Natalie agrees that two kids is already quite a handful.

I left the home after visiting for close to 2 hours – spellbound by what I heard but more inspired by a gutsy young unwed single mum who is standing all on her own and acting like me and my kids against the world!

The family will definitely struggle with just $500/month government aid till July before Natalie can get to work again after putting the baby in infant care facilities. Milk powder, pampers and even simple food items will be an issue and let’s hope the community can stretch out a helping help to them.

Editor’s note: If you want to drop by some food aid or hand-me-down to the young family, please get in touch with us at gilbert@transitioning.org. The family is in need of a rocker for the young baby boy later on.

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2 Responses to “Inspiring 26-year-old unwed single mum of two boys surviving on $500/month aid”

  1. Tan Kow Chew says:

    Where can i donate ?

  2. Stephanie says:

    Hi

    I will like ton help contribute the base necessities like milk monthly , How can i reach them?

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