Real Life

He promised everything would change when I fell pregnant, but it only got worse

Natalie Clark, 23 tells her terrifying story of abuse and overcoming domestic violence.

By Take 5 team

Natalie Clark, 23 bravely shares hers story;

I sipped at my drink and noticed a good looking bloke sauntering over to me.
"You're stunning, can I get your number?" he grinned.
I lapped up the attention.
I was 21 and out with friends for the first time in ages.
My daughter Amelia, two, was staying with her dad which gave me a rare chance to put on my dancing shoes.
Throwing caution to the wind, I gave the cheeky guy my number but as he walked off, my friend Chloe turned to me.
"Be careful of him," she warned. "He's got a reputation as a party boy."
"I'll be fine," I smiled, feeling giddy.
Daniel called the next day and our relationship quickly blossomed.
After two months he moved in with me.
He adored Amelia and whenever she was at her dad's we'd have our date nights on the town.
But as we settled into our new routine, I noticed he had a quick temper.
He'd get angry over little things, like if dinner wasn't ready for him when he got home.
I soon found I was constantly walking on eggshells.
But his bad moods continued.
"You're sleeping with someone else, aren't you?" he spat one night.
"Don't be silly," I replied, hurt.
But he didn't believe me and we wound up screaming at each other.
Then he apologised and I forgave him.
This happened countless times.
Six months on, we started trying for a baby, but even then his accusations kept flying.
He kept track of my every move on Snapchat.
He looked at where I was on the app's maps feature and yelled if he couldn't find me.
I was a young mum and deserved a life of my own. (Image exclusive to Take 5)
That's normally when I'd get a message or a phone call.
"Where are you? Who are you with?" he shouted.
Even when I had a girls' night in with Chloe one night he called up.
"Show me the room," he demanded, convinced I had a man over.
I rolled my eyes and flipped the camera to show him the lounge room.
"See, it's just Chloe," I sighed. He hung up in a huff.
"I don't get why he doesn't trust me," I moaned to Chloe.
My friends were worried.
They knew things weren't good at home.
It didn't take long for Daniel's aggressive words to turn into violent actions.
When I got a black eye, people began to whisper.
So in an attempt to stop the gossiping, I posted on my Snapchat story and told people I'd fallen and knocked my face on the sink.
In so much pain, I wrote.
To my horror, Daniel uploaded a distorted picture of me just minutes later mocking me.
It's a hard life, black eyes and that, he laughed and ended his comment with two laughing emojis!
I felt hurt and humiliated.
He was openly belittling me to our mutual friends.
How dare he when he knew he was the cause of my black eye?
I knew then that I should leave him but I felt trapped.
And all the time Daniel kept promising the same thing…
Controlling Daniel Holliday. (Image exclusive to Take 5)
"If we have a baby, everything will change."
I believed him.
When I discovered I was over a month pregnant I prayed he'd keep his word, that he'd finally grow up.
For a few weeks things did get better.
But then one day I was cooking dinner when Daniel came in looking moody.
I dished up and his face flashed with rage.
"What the hell's this?" he roared before throwing his plate to the floor, smashing it and smearing bolognese all over the carpet.
I flinched as his dinner knife whizzed past my shoulder.
Trembling, I cleaned up the food and Daniel stormed upstairs.
By now, I was 10 weeks pregnant.
My heart raced.
He'd said things would get better but they were getting worse.
Later that evening, Daniel apologised.
But within minutes of swearing he'd never hurt me again he exploded.
"You're cheating on me," he yelled.
He raised his fist.
I cowered and covered my face.
But he slammed his knuckles into my stomach, into our baby.
He mocked me on Snapchat. (Image exclusive to Take 5)
"No!" I screamed.
Blood poured out of me into my underwear.
My mum Trudy rushed me to hospital where I was told thankfully that the baby was fine.
But that was the final straw for my relationship with Daniel.
I knew neither me nor my baby was safe with him.
I had to walk away.
It took another three weeks to work up the courage to do it.
Chloe agreed I'd call her first before I told him it was over, and I'd keep the phone in my hand so she could hear what was happening.
"But don't call the police," I begged her.
I wanted him out, but not a trial.
I just wanted him away from me and the baby.
My heart was pounding when he came home.
"It's over, you need to leave," I said as calmly as I could.
Instantly he lunged at me and snatched the phone.
"Give it back!" I yelled, but he grabbed my arm and pushed me against the wall.
Terrified, I wriggled free and raced to the bedroom.
But he caught me and pinned me to the bed.
He wrapped his hands around my throat and squeezed and I could barely breathe.
His eyes looked black.
He looked evil, like he was enjoying this.
Eventually he let me go and after throwing a clothes horse, a pram and a tirade of abuse at me, he left.
I had to get out, for my sake and for hers... (Image exclusive to Take 5)
Chloe, who'd stayed on the phone the whole time, rushed to my side and urged me to call the police.
I was scared but I knew she was right.
He needed to be stopped.
So I finally reported him and he was arrested.
While I waited for a trial I gave birth to my daughter.
I moved house and prayed he'd be locked up.
But he escaped with a slap on the wrist.
Daniel Holliday, 31, was found guilty of two assaults, criminal damage and breeching a restraining order but was sentenced to 200 hours of unpaid work and a five-year restraining order.
It makes me anxious that he might try to find me again.
I don't want my daughter to have anything to do with him.
I'm telling my story to warn others.
I ignored the signs that Daniel was big trouble and I regret it.
Don't do the same.
Chloe is a false name

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