UK

Grenfell Tower: Woman gives birth to 'youngest survivor'

Maryam Adam and her son Mohammed
Image caption Maryam Adam and her two-month-old son Mohammed

Maryam Adam was three months pregnant when her husband woke her up in the early hours of 14 June 2017 to warn her about a fire in their home.

Having experienced two miscarriages and a difficult third pregnancy, the first thought that came to her mind was what might happen to her unborn child.

That night, she was one of the hundreds of residents who escaped the Grenfell Tower blaze in north Kensington, London.

The fire killed 71 people who lived in the 24-storey block.

"On the night, I kept asking God to save my child, to save my baby," she said.

Mrs Adam and her husband Abdulwahab lived on the fourth floor of Grenfell tower at the time of the tragedy.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Police confirmed 71 people died in the Grenfell Tower fire

Their decision to ignore orders to stay in their apartment saved their lives, and the life of their unborn child.

She says as she cradles two-month-old Mohammed in her arms, "I was so, so, so worried that day."

Her joy at having a healthy baby boy is also tinged with sadness as she thinks about the friends and life she has lost.

The family now lives in temporary accommodation, which they struggle to feel settled in.

Incidents that are "normal" for the average person, are deeply traumatic for Mrs Adam, such as when the fire alarm has gone off due to someone burning their food.

She speaks of the flashbacks and suffering she experiences every time she hears an ambulance or a fire alarm:

"In Grenfell when the fire happened, we just went out [thinking] we would come back after 15 minutes to our homes and that would be it… For that reason, any alarm for us is not normal. Not anymore."

"When we hear an ambulance or the alarm, it takes us back to that day," she says.

Image caption Mrs Adam said she will let Mohammed know how lucky he is to be alive when he is older

The 40-year-old said she lost most of her closest friends in the fire.

She struggles to speak about that night without mentioning all the things that she could have done differently that might have saved her neighbours and friends.

She says she felt "ashamed" for having woken up and walking straight out of the apartment without thinking about anything else.

"That night... I just woke up and I didn't take anything - not even my phone," she says.

Her voice breaks, and tears start to fill her eyes: "If I took my phone that day maybe I could've helped some friends... I was so angry and disappointed."

Mrs Adam says that this tragedy that cost her her home and friends will stay in her mind, but the only thing she can do is continue to live her life:

"No one can change what has happened, we have to continue with our lives. We are not going to forget.

"I just [hope] that the people who died that night are at peace. I wish everyone that survived that night could go back to their normal lives - I would wish that for all of my Grenfell neighbours."

The key thing for Mrs Adam and her family is to move on and restore the normality in their lives.

"I want to have a home for my family, especially for my child," she says.

She repeats a number of times that once Mohammed is old enough to understand, she will remind him of one thing: "How lucky he is and that he should thank God that he is alive."

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