Born in the 70s, raised in the 80s, both my parents worked. The only child of them both, I had older half-siblings but my only memories are being an 'only child'. My parents were both functioning chronic alcoholics, I don't remember a single day when they didn't drink, mostly whiskey. While most kids learned how to make a cup of tea, I knew how to pour a whiskey and dry ginger ale, just how my mum liked it.
I craved my mums attention but back in the bad old days conditions like ADHD weren't recognised, and my mum couldn't cope with my impulsive, challenging behaviour. At school I was labelled 'disruptive', 'chatterbox', I was extremely intelligent and once I hit secondary school, extremely bored.
Within 3 months of starting secondary school, my parents, struggling with spiralling debts and at risk of losing the house in Gedling, sold up and moved to Cotmanhay, Ilkeston. As an only child in a strange area, I was desperate to make friends, and soon fell in with a bad crowd. Delinquent teenage behaviour led to me being sent back to Netherfield to live with my sister. I returned to my original secondary school 18 months after I left, but friendship groups were already formed, and I was again an outsider. I started skipping school, hanging out with older friends. I was going missing regularly, until eventually I just never went back.
At 16, I finally returned to Ilkeston, and my dad helped me gain an apprenticeship with Luxfer in Colwick. The commute to work by bus was hard, but the pay was 3x the going YTS rate, so I was happy. I started a relationship in Cotmanhay and soon moved in. At 18 I was pregnant with my oldest son, T.
Then my world changed forever. My dad was dying of non-hodgkins lymphoma. The chemo hadn't saved him, and he died just 5 weeks before the birth of my son. I was devastated. My mum however, had already moved on, and the guy who was to become my step dad, was at my dad's funeral.
My relationship began to fail, and I wanted to return to Nottingham. In December 1995 I did just that, T was 15 months old when I got us into a hostel on Balmoral Road, Colwick.
I started a relationship with C, which lasted 10 years, but was toxic. Our son R came along quickly in 1997, and later that year we married.
In 2001 we had son D, then in 2002, while pregnant with B, my step dad was found drowned in the Erewash canal. I supported my mum as we identified his body, but our relationship was strained. She wasn't the grandmother I'd hoped for my kids, and I was resentful.
B was born a few months later in 2002, and K arrived in 2004. While the kids were well loved and cared for, our marriage was in the bin. By 2005, I was struggling, and we came under the radar of Nottinghamshire social services...