A mum delivered her baby early so that her partner would be able to meet their daughter - two days before he died from kidney cancer.Beccy Hunter was thrilled that Jamie Hunter, 38, had the chance to briefly cuddle little Harper-May when she was born in May 2020.
But she could never have dreamt that it would then take two years and thousands of pounds to get Jamie's name registered on their daughter's birth certificate.
The entire process cost her £3,500 and caused a great deal of heartache - all because they weren't married.
The grief-stricken new mum - who changed her surname from Flint just before Jamie died - had to go to solicitors and arrange for DNA samples to be collected from her deceased partner and her newborn baby.This involved Jamie's body being moved from a funeral directors to Heartlands Hospital in Birmingham, meaning she was unable to go and see him for three weeks.
Beccy then had to meet with social services and appear in court to make her case for why she wanted Jamie, a teacher and football coach, on the birth certificate.
Beccy, from Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, said: "It’s been hell, it makes me so mad that we had to go through this. If we had been married, they would have just taken it as gospel that he was the dad."It’s just because the law is so outdated. Today, lots of people aren’t married when they have kids."Having already spoken to the register office, Beccy was aware that registering Jamie as the dad was not going to be a straightforward process.Beccy said: "I had to arrange for a company from London to get a DNA sample from Jamie. It meant I wasn’t allowed to go and see him at the funeral home for weeks in case I contaminated the body."The mum-of-six explained that DNA would have to have been taken from Jamie's brother had they not taken it from him. He had to be transferred to Heartlands Hospital for it to be carried out because is it so rarely done.Beccy said: "It wasn’t nice for Harper either. She was only three weeks old and they came in, all masked up, to take her sample. But that was only part of the saga."Beccy was then interviewed by social services, which she found difficult: "They wanted to know whether Jamie wanted to be a dad and I had to prove that I was a fit mother. I don’t know what difference that made but this was all about consent.
"When an unmarried couple register a birth, they go to the register office together and that way the dad gives his consent to be named on the birth certificate. The difficulty here was that Jamie was not here to prove his consent."Waiting for her case to be heard in court was delayed due to backlogs. When she was finally able to attend, Beccy said she broke down in tears in front of the judges.Beccy said: "I had to go to court and swear on the Bible, standing in front of three judges to persuade them to put Jamie’s name on the birth certificate. It was so nerve-wrecking, I was in bits. I’ve never been in court before, I felt like a criminal."Why did I have to stand in front of a judge when I’d done nothing wrong? I spent most of the time crying and the judges, these big men who are used to dealing with lots of criminal cases, ended up crying too."After I’d explained what it meant to me and to Harper, they looked at each other and said: 'We are all in agreement and we are going to approve this'."However, that wasn’t the end of the process because Beccy then had to apply to get another birth certificate done. She finally had the copy in her hand, complete with Jamie’s name on it, in July 2022, more than two years after Harper-May's birth on 11 May 2020.Beccy said: "I couldn’t believe it when I finally had the completed certificate. I hadn’t been able to look at the original where it said father and there was just a blank space. It was wrong. "For Jamie, being a dad was all he ever wanted. Why should Harper grow up looking at her birth certificate with her dad being a blank space? I did it for Harper."If we’d have been married, they’d have just put his name on the certificate. It’s utterly wrong. We did think about getting married but everything happened so fast with his illness. "There just wasn’t time to sort a wedding out, I was eight months pregnant and our focus was on getting him there to see Harper born."He gave me a ring two days before he passed away and I changed my name to Hunter so Harper would have the same name growing up. "The whole process is wrong and we need to raise awareness to try to change it. I just feel that if I can help anyone in the same unfortunate position as me then it’s worth it."According to the Family Law Company, both parents need to be present at the registration of the birth if they are not married. If the father is deceased, the mother has to apply for a Declaration of Parentage.The Family Law Company website states: "This is a court order that confirms whether or not someone is the parent of the child in question. Applicants need to prove that they have a ‘sufficient personal interest.’"Following the application, there will be a court hearing where the court will almost undoubtedly seek to prove who the other parent is. This will normally be through a DNA test."Once it has been proved that the other person is the biological parent, the court will make a Declaration of Parentage confirming this. The court will then send this court order to the Registrar who will re-register the birth and issue a new birth certificate, with the other parent’s details added."More than £75,000 was raised for Beccy and Harper-May as a huge outpouring of grief was shared for Jamie, a teacher and football coach, who had touched so many people's lives and was described as a 'true legend.' The devoted mum has kept all the messages in a scrapbook that she shares with Harper-May so 'she can see how amazing her daddy was.'Beccy added: "The last couple of years have been tough. I talk to Harper about her dad all the time and we go to the cemetery.
"There are photos all around, she’s very aware of him. I also have a scrapbook of memories we look through together and I’ve made bears with clothes from his old clothes."Harper is an amazing little girl. She’s definitely what’s kept us going."