One of the most common reasons women contemplate abortion is due to their financial circumstances or what they feel they can afford. When you are suddenly pregnant, you tend to only consider the here and now, rather than acknowledge that circumstances are so often temporary.
It’s so important that the decision whether to parent, adopt or abort be based on long-term factors, rather than things that could be an issue today, and gone tomorrow.
Here are some responses to common financial concerns when facing pregnancy.
I’m a single mum and I can’t afford to give up work.
Firstly, we acknowledge that it’s tough being a single parent. But there is financial help available for you. Centrelink, for example, pays various allowances that you may be eligible for, including the Family Tax Benefit (which is income-tested), Parental Leave and the single parent allowance (or Parent Payment Single, PPS) for parents of children under eight years old. This can be as much as $750 per fortnight. Centrelink also has avenues for claiming crisis payments, and rent assistance, and community engagement officers and social workers are available to speak to if need be.
When you’re ready to return to work, you will be entitled to the Family Child Care Subsidy. You can hop online to calculate how much that will be, based on your average income, number of children in care and how much work you are doing.
The father of your child is required by law to contribute to the financial costs involved with raising your child. You can find out more about this here.
Is your head reeling at all this info? Then look up your local pregnancy support centre. These places are buzzing with people who want to help make your pregnancy journey enjoyable and stress-free. They know all about the finer points of financial support, so let them lend you a hand.
I can’t afford to buy baby supplies.
When you add up the cost of a cot, pram, change table, car seat, nappies, baby clothes, blankets and so on and so forth, it accumulates very quickly into an overwhelming sum of money. That’s if you insist on buying everything new. If you get savvy, you can source everything you need from markets, garage sales, op shops, eBay, Gumtree and hand-me-downs.
Don’t be shy. Ask friends and family if you can lend the items you need. Why not be super honest and put a post on that Facebook baby items page. People love providing support to expectant mothers. Many of us were in your position once, and we’d love to pass on the love that was lavished on us at the time. Let your mum or bestie throw that baby shower. Not only will you receive a heap of the things you need, but you will find yourself upheld by people who want you to do well.
Centrelink also has a Newborn Upfront Payment and Newborn Supplement (the equivalent of a Baby Bonus) that you may be eligible for, if you’re not eligible for the parental leave pay. Short of that, drop in to your local pregnancy support centre. They would love to help you.
I have worked so hard to get where I am in my career, in terms of income and position, I don’t want to jeopardise that.
Well done! What a great achievement to have worked tirelessly to achieve that goal. We want to say that your career doesn’t have to suffer. In fact, it could even be enriched by this pregnancy.
Take some time to look into your work entitlements and any flexible return-to-work arrangements. They will be different for each workplace depending on your relevant registered agreement/contract/policy, but as a baseline, Australian employees are entitled to 12 months of unpaid parental leave and they can request an additional 12 months leave after that. If your workplace gives paid leave, this doesn’t affect your eligibility for the Australian Government’s paid leave scheme. You get both! The Fair Work Ombudsman outlines pregnant employee entitlements and other useful information too.
Many women work almost to full term before breaking for a spell of maternity leave. It doesn’t have to be a long period of time, and you may choose to return to work in a full time or reduced capacity. Australian women are experiencing more and more empowerment when balancing motherhood and career. If your workplace doesn’t support this, maybe it’s your chance to agitate for change. You can always speak to the Fair Work Ombudsman too.
Many first-time mums find that motherhood gave them new skills to take back to the workplace, making them more efficient professionals. Others find that they are given a new perspective and, for a season, they are happy for home life to be a priority.
When you add up the time out of your career that a pregnancy takes, it’s relatively insignificant. All going well with pregnancy, it can be as little as a couple of months. But you may find you want more than that!
Our family is already complete. We can’t afford to feed, clothe and school another child.
It’s amazing how a true home works. It bends and bulges and morphs to accommodate each new need – including a newborn. Your family will do the same. Older children will find a new level of maturity – some will even relish the carer role, acting like a second mummy or daddy. Your hearts will be knitted nearer, joined in this common responsibility of raising a new family member. The food, clothes, school fees and so on will sort themselves out. There are Centrelink payments that will help, and you’ll find ways to tighten the budget (shop in bulk for your food, shop op shops for your clothes, and schools usually discount subsequent enrolments…).
Right now, you’re likely focusing on all the hard things involved with having a newborn in the house. The sleepless nights, the strain on resources, the washing, the crying, the loss of independence. They are all truths. Now think of all the wonderful things. The first moment you hold your new child, their cuddles, their laughter, watching them sleep, the way it brings your family closer, the contentedness you feel about simple things, the proud moments when you see your older children taking interest and caring for the younger ones. These are the things that matter, the moments of meaning. Can you afford not to welcome those things into your home once more?
Find a pregnancy support service near you. Click here.