When I was young I pictured my life pretty much as it is now, maybe not with four children but certainly a couple. I didn’t picture what work I would be doing, which is building, but knew I loved doing it with my dad. I loved watching my dad building and always joined in. Was nice to spend father daughter time. I found once I got married when my husband was away, I always started building jobs at home, but never knew it would be such a large part of my life now.
Was strange when I found out was pregnant for the first time as my nan had passed away six months before and I was having counselling try to understand her death. In a strange way felt my nan had sent a baby for me. I was so close to my nan as my mum was so hard working.
[The pregnancy] was a shock pregnancy. I hadn’t had a period for a few years and was having tests to see why. I’d been unwell and after having tests they revealed I was 18 weeks pregnant. I wasn’t with my partner at the time and was only 20. But there wasn’t any doubt on my part that I would keep the baby, others felt I shouldn’t. Amy was born 8 weeks prem [premature] so [it] felt like a very short pregnancy.
Going into the first steps of motherhood was hard. It was never plain sailing as I was not 100% sure I was doing the right thing as I was young…but my nan had passed away and I felt she had a part in the start of my motherhood. I know it may sound strange, but that was my way of coping [with] losing someone so important in my life. As soon as Amy was born, I knew that it was all I wanted to do for the rest of my life, be a mum.
Probably my greatest challenge has been bringing up my four children and for a time bringing up three on my own. It was very hard, but I overcame my fears with help from friends and very close family – as I still do with lots of things these days. Have had my fair share of hard times especially before Amy was born, a couple I would rather not discuss. But later in life, there have been ups and downs: one broken down marriage, bringing [up] three children at one point on my own, living in one room back with my parents. And struggling to look after them and myself. But [I] held it together, got a house, and started a new life.
Being a mum is the most precious thing in the word and given me the most proudest moments in my life. Especially giving birth as I did that. No one else but me. I hope my children realize everything I ever do is for them and their future and how proud I am to be their mum. I don’t want them to know how truly hard some times have been for me, but to know it’s all been for them.
Clair Layton Jones
cheam, Surrey, England
This story has been condensed and edited for clarity