Research and Practice in Adult Literacy – a friendly group


Anon, MTC Maroubra

This is a story about a single mother. Her name is Hazel. Hazel had a five year old daughter named Daisy. Hazel had been in a ten year relationship with Daisy’s father. Although Daisy’s father was not physically abusive, he was verbally abusive and controlling.

When Daisy was four years old she asked her Mummy if they could leave and find a new Daddy. Within days Hazel packed the two of them up and moved in with Daisy’s grandmother in Sydney.

Hazel was not very confident and found it difficult looking for a unit of their own. Hazel was struggling with being a single parent. After one and a half years Hazel found the right home for herself and Daisy. Daisy started school for the first time and settled into her new life with her mummy.

When Daisy was six years old, Hazel met a man at a friend’s barbeque, who was also a single father himself. Daisy liked him very much. Although this new man, who we will call Peter, never moved in with Daisy and her mum, he was around a lot.

After one year, Hazel discovered she was pregnant with Peter’s baby. Both Daisy and Hazel were very happy to be having a new baby in the family. Although Daisy liked Peter, he sometimes scared her when he would yell at her Mummy and break things.

After Daisy’s sister was born, life for Daisy and Hazel got progressively more violent and disruptive. Hazel would break up with Peter and try to get on with life with two young daughters. But Peter would always be trying to come over or call, pleading to see Hazel and the girls. Hazel’s self-esteem and confidence was at an all-time low.

Peter would beg and promise that the violence would stop and that he would change for the children and Hazel. But after a couple of weeks, Peter would get angry, and the violence and chaos would start all over again.

The Department of Community Services became involved. They removed the girls from Hazel’s care, saying Hazel was too sympathetic to Peter and that the children’s lives were at risk. Hazel was suffering from depression and anxiety. She admitted herself into a rehabilitation program for three months.

When Hazel finally came home, she continued to see a psychologist and got legal aid, a wonderful lawyer, and took the department to court to try and get her children returned. Daisy eventually went to live with her father full time. After years of fighting with the court system, Hazel slowly started making progress, getting Daisy’s little sister returned.

Throughout all these years and struggles, Hazel has learnt that she is stronger and more resilient than she ever realised or imagined. Now Hazel knows that no matter what people say or do to try and pull her down or say she will never make it, she has the strength and ability within to know better and not give up.

Hazel now gets up every morning with a new sense of purpose and confidence. Hazel has learned that she is very resilient, strong and committed when she needs to be. This whole experience has made Hazel the mother and woman she is today.


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