It felt strange for Petra not to be working. Back home, she bounced out of bed each morning excited for what the day might hold.
Petra studied hard to get her degree in data science. She was good at numbers and was passionate about using her analytical mind to help others.
To get there, she spent years studying and working long hours as an admin assistant. But it was all worth it when she was offered a promotion to be a data scientist. Petra had never had such a strong sense of purpose, and she loved her job and colleagues. Her time at work was where she felt happiest. When the world was full of chaos, making sense of the numbers made her feel at peace.
After Petra fell pregnant, her partner insisted on moving back to Australia. He had grown up there and he promised that his family would help them raise the baby. Petra wasn’t so sure about the idea but knew she would need all the help she could get when the baby arrived. With her degree and experience, she thought there would be plenty of jobs for her in Australia - and she had always dreamed of living by the sea.
Before she knew it, she was boarding a flight to Australia with her partner, a suitcase of belongings and a baby on the way.
Petra’s first day in Sydney was like a dream. As she dipped her toes in the water at Bondi, she was glad to have made the move. She was sure this place would end up feeling like home.
After a few months, things started to unravel. She was excited to start working again, but her visa conditions made it impossible to find a job. Besides, no one would hire her this close to her due date.
As the financial strain increased, so did the tension between Petra and her partner. Petra had always felt like she was walking on eggshells around him, but as his behaviour got more volatile, she began to fear for her safety. As things went from bad to worse, she knew she had to leave. This wasn’t the way Petra wanted to bring her baby into the world.
One day when he was at work, Petra packed her suitcase and set out to build herself a better life.
Now, Petra wakes up in WAGEC accommodation with no idea what the day might bring. There have been complications with her visa since she left her partner, and she is scared he might find where she is. The spring in her step is gone, and every morning she misses the sense of purpose her career instilled. Instead of going to work, Petra does sudokus, sorting through the numbers to bring her some calm.
Since Petra’s caseworker referred her to the ACCESS Program, she’s started to feel better about her future. Every Thursday, Petra meets her mentor for coffee. Together, they’re working on a plan to find what visa she can apply for so she can get a job here after the baby comes. With the encouragement of her mentor, Petra also joined the parenting group at her refuge.
Slowly but surely, Petra began to get back on her feet. She realised that she wasn’t alone. She was surrounded by women who were in similar situations to her, through no fault of their own. Inspired by their resilience, she starts to feel more confident about being a mum.
Petra’s baby is due any day, and she knows that she’ll have somewhere safe to bring them home to. She wants to call her bub Jean, after WAGEC’s founder, in the hope that they will grow up to be determined and strong – just like the women in refuge.
*Name has been changed for privacy.
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