Bacup mum gave birth at 16 and went on to open own law practice

Ruth Winter

Ruth Winter

First published in North West The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , Feature Writer

THERE’S no glamour attached to teenage pregnancy. Gymslip mums are frowned upon and often written off by society. After all, what can a girl of 16 achieve with a new baby in tow?

Well in Ruth Winter’s case, an awful lot. For the 37-year-old mum-of-three from Bacup has proved the cynics – and the statistics – wrong.

Not only has she survived the ordeal of raising three children with life-threatening conditions, but she passed her A-levels, gained two law degrees and has opened her own law practice.

To her shock Ruth found herself pregnant at 16. She said: “My boyfriend and I took precautions and I even had the morning after pill. I always knew my daughter was going to be a miracle baby because she defied all the odds to be born.”

Daughter Danielle, now 19, was born with a heart defect, which was not realised until she was three months old and required open-heart surgery. If it hadn’t been for Ruth’s mum Violet, who lives opposite, insisting the baby be assessed it’s unlikely the little girl would have survived.

“She vomited all the time. We were so worried about her we started feeding her solids at six weeks to stop her vomiting. It turned out that she had a connection problem with her heart and her lungs were filling with blood. It took a doctor listening to her heart for 20 minutes to decide she had a problem.”

Ruth took a year out from her studies to care for her daughter, but, determined as ever, she went back to do her A-levels.

“But the the turning point was going into the Job Centre and realising the wages I was going to be paid with just A-levels as qualifications were less than benefits,” she explained. “So I signed up for university at 19 and set myself a goal to get the job I wanted and became a solicitor.”

She was accepted at Manchester University to study law which she combined with looking after her daughter.

After the degree, she studied part-time for a post-grad qualification. By then she’d got together with Stephen Anderson, an architect and the father of her two other children, although the couple had known each other from 16.

“I wanted to have my children before I started work.

“I put on loads of weight when I was pregnant with Daisy and my feet swelled massively. One doctor thought I was expecting twins.”

Daisy, now 11, required bowel surgery within hours of being born.

“After that, I swore I wasn’t having any more children. It had all been so traumatic. But my mum says I get a seven-year itch. I started to feel the biological clock ticking again.”

Hoping for third time lucky, it just wasn’t to be for Ruth who again had problems in pregnancy. And although the baby was fine, this time she developed pre-eclampsia, a life-threatening condition. Dylan, now four, was delivered at just 28 weeks and spent his first three months in hospital.

“It’s been an uphill struggle at times. Do I feel like a supermum? Not really, although my own mum is a supermum. I don’t know how I would have got through it all without her.”

Throughout it all, Ruth remained dedicated to her goal of being a solicitor and recently realised her dream when she opened her own practice, Winter Solicitors, specialising in personal injury, family and litigation, in King Street, Bacup. She has also taken on an apprentice, former Whitworth High School pupil Daniel Mundey, 16.

She says: “I think I should be going into school and talking to pupils to tell them never to give up on their dreams.

“My father died in 2011 and I was left some money. That enabled me to be able to set up on my own. Had he still been here I am sure he would have helped me.”

Ruth moved to Bacup 12 years ago as her brother lives locally and now the whole family lives in the Valley.

“No matter what life throws at you, you have to be determined, keep focused and you will get there in the end.”

Comments (8)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

4:19pm Mon 26 May 14

HelmshoreMan2010 says...

"Woman gives birth at legal age to give birth, then goes on to live her life"

Wow, non story of the day!
"Woman gives birth at legal age to give birth, then goes on to live her life" Wow, non story of the day! HelmshoreMan2010
  • Score: -14

4:21pm Mon 26 May 14

poppie72 says...

lovley story true insperation
lovley story true insperation poppie72
  • Score: 13

4:52pm Mon 26 May 14

frank says...

good reason to stop slagging off teenage mums.
no one can predict the future.
not even the 'perfect' people amongst us.
good reason to stop slagging off teenage mums. no one can predict the future. not even the 'perfect' people amongst us. frank
  • Score: 9

5:30pm Mon 26 May 14

zabby says...

All the best,you deserve it after all the hard work you put in,now it's reward time
All the best,you deserve it after all the hard work you put in,now it's reward time zabby
  • Score: 11

7:21pm Mon 26 May 14

Loving lances says...

Yes, good luck and well done for her hard work.
But there are estates in Bacup where whole families, including teenage parents, have no incentive to work. They are the real story but local
Labour councillors don't care.
Yes, good luck and well done for her hard work. But there are estates in Bacup where whole families, including teenage parents, have no incentive to work. They are the real story but local Labour councillors don't care. Loving lances
  • Score: 1

8:14am Tue 27 May 14

pdb951 says...

HelmshoreMan2010 wrote:
"Woman gives birth at legal age to give birth, then goes on to live her life"

Wow, non story of the day!
Correct what difference does having a baby at 16 make.
[quote][p][bold]HelmshoreMan2010[/bold] wrote: "Woman gives birth at legal age to give birth, then goes on to live her life" Wow, non story of the day![/p][/quote]Correct what difference does having a baby at 16 make. pdb951
  • Score: 1

8:16am Tue 27 May 14

pdb951 says...

Loving lances wrote:
Yes, good luck and well done for her hard work.
But there are estates in Bacup where whole families, including teenage parents, have no incentive to work. They are the real story but local
Labour councillors don't care.
Labour councillors help them get more benefits! That's why half of them do it!
[quote][p][bold]Loving lances[/bold] wrote: Yes, good luck and well done for her hard work. But there are estates in Bacup where whole families, including teenage parents, have no incentive to work. They are the real story but local Labour councillors don't care.[/p][/quote]Labour councillors help them get more benefits! That's why half of them do it! pdb951
  • Score: 3

2:40pm Thu 29 May 14

stekebabman says...

Is that a wee bit of sarcasm there HelmshoreMan 2010 ??

Would you be proud if this was your daughter HelmshoreMan2010 ??

I for one certainly would be!

Such a heart warming story of one woman's determination to succeed in her goal in life,and I think that's so rare these days as most youngsters would just give up after the first hurdle,I imagine Ms. Winters had quite a few obstacles placed in her path,due to the children's illnesses,but she coped,with strength,and will to make it,and she did,with flying colours!
It would have been so easy for this young slip of a mum just sit back,collect her Income Support etc.,and no doubt a free house to live in ,until she felt 'ready' to look for work,which I doubt many employers would want to take on simply because of age/experience etc.
But no,not only did she go on to have a further 2 children all born with problems she successfully studied and gain the qualifications she needed.
I only have praise for this young lady and wish you all the best in your future venture.
I bet your dad is looking down on you today,saying,'Told you girl,I knew you could do it!' :)

All The Best Ruth Winter's
Is that a wee bit of sarcasm there HelmshoreMan 2010 ?? Would you be proud if this was your daughter HelmshoreMan2010 ?? I for one certainly would be! Such a heart warming story of one woman's determination to succeed in her goal in life,and I think that's so rare these days as most youngsters would just give up after the first hurdle,I imagine Ms. Winters had quite a few obstacles placed in her path,due to the children's illnesses,but she coped,with strength,and will to make it,and she did,with flying colours! It would have been so easy for this young slip of a mum just sit back,collect her Income Support etc.,and no doubt a free house to live in ,until she felt 'ready' to look for work,which I doubt many employers would want to take on simply because of age/experience etc. But no,not only did she go on to have a further 2 children all born with problems she successfully studied and gain the qualifications she needed. I only have praise for this young lady and wish you all the best in your future venture. I bet your dad is looking down on you today,saying,'Told you girl,I knew you could do it!' :) All The Best Ruth Winter's stekebabman
  • Score: 3

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree