Romane and her companion Benjamin lived on the streets for several years, crisscrossing France doing odd jobs, loving freedom and with the passion of youth. Until the day an event turns their lives as bums upside down: the birth of a little girl who will die three months later from a heart defect. Romane is 23 and looks back on her family’s journey and talks about their daily life within the association. roof for mewho has been guiding them on the path to resilience since 2019.
“You Can’t Understand Until It Happens To You”, says Romane, telling us about the guilt, grief, and emptiness of a couple who just lost their first child. It was in August 2019, just a few months after moving into one of the apartments of the Toit à Moi association, which helps people in very precarious situations and what we were talking about here. “If you’re a parent, but you don’t have your child anymore, you’re definitely missing something, it leaves a huge void”the young mother testifies, very moved.
“Somehow it was kind of thanks to her that we got this apartment”, says Romane. Romane was pregnant at the time and the couple had just arrived in Nantes to babysit a sick friend’s dogs in exchange for a caravan to sleep in. Romane then takes steps to find housing, but with no income or work, they struggle to find an apartment to build their home on. “We had no income, no work or even help because we were not 25”Romane recalls disillusioned.
Young and penniless
And rightly so, before Romane’s pregnancy, the couple could never count on social assistance or on their respective families with whom they had relationships. “complicated reports”† Between two jobs in the restaurant industry, the couple crossed France and toured festivals, loving freedom and music. Because for these two young people it is unthinkable to “working his life tirelessly, committing suicide at work, without having enjoyed life”† Problem, “we live in a system where you have to work to have housing and housing to work”†
In Nantes, Romane meets a social worker who tells them about Toit à Moi. To enable themraise their child in decent housing, the association offers them an apartment in Angers. The couple does not hesitate for a second and settles in their new place before losing their little girl. A few months later, the couple lifts their heads and decides to have a second child “to be able to give the love we intended to give”† The pregnancy is going well and Romane is thriving in her role as a mother.
Thanks to her natural strength of character, she knows how to grieve and move on. “We learn to put things into perspective. We tell ourselves that our first little girl came into the world when we needed her and that she helped us get out”† For the young mother who feels she has “already been through a lot for his age”, it’s clear that “Even if we used to have to fend for ourselves, we needed human support in those days.”
Association Toit à Moi, human support
At Toit à Moi, the couple can count on Bastien, a specialized educator and employee of the association. “He often comes home for dinner, helps us with the groceries and guides us through our administrative procedures, even though we are usually very independent”, says Romane. There are also the volunteers they share with break times Like it “this woman who is engaged in reflexology, and who is very focused on nature. We can talk about many things with her because we have common interests »shares Romane.
One of her favorite memories since she and her family came to Toit à Moi? The day when? “I decided to take driving lessons and Bastien would take me for parking rounds like a parent would have done. As a result, I came to the driving school much calmer », she says playfully. After obtaining the permit, Romane would like to follow animal care training† “a childhood dream” that she had never thought of. Meanwhile, Romane learned that she was pregnant again. The family is growing and the couple would like to find a bigger apartment to raise their third child under the benevolent eye of Ayko, their dog, as well as their oldest traveling companion.
Do you want to help others like Romane on their way to a new life? You can bid housing for a homeless person and enabling him to move from exclusion to reintegrationit happens here!