Maybe at another time in your life you would welcome the news. Right now, you feel as if your life is over. You're pregnant! You're not the only one who has felt this way after getting the results of a pregnancy test. All the "what if's" start to pop into your mind. But it's too late to go over all of that. The past cannot be undone. But, like the others, your unwanted pregnancy is not the end of the world, despite what you may think! Know that support and help are available to you. Although your life will definitely change, you don't have to stop living.
Whether you decide to keep your baby or to choose adoption, help is available. This factsheet makes it easier to find out how to get the help you and your baby require. The information below is taken from the Life Institute FactSheet. You can see the printed version of the factsheet here
You are entitled to the following if you are an Irish/EU citizen:
If you are not working: (1)
If you are working:
Contact your local social welfare office for more information or contact the Maternity Benefit Section of the Department of Social Protection at 1890-690690.
WHEN THE BABY IS BORN: (2)
If you are a single-parent family with Irish/EU citizenship you are entitled to (One Parent Family Payment OPF 2013):
More information available here: http://www.onefamily.ie/about-us/facts-figures/
Contact the One-Parent Family Section of the Department of Social Protection at 1890 500 000 and press 4, or call the Child Benefit Section at 1890 400 400.
BENEFITS FOR PERSON WITHOUT IRISH/EU CITIZENSHIP
There are currently no state benefits for people who are not Irish/EU citizens.
But, Life Pregnancy Care Service is available to help you (regardless of citizenship) with everything including financial help, housing assistance, hospital costs, etc.
Life provides free pregnancy tests, counselling, accommodation and/or help finding a place to stay, guidance on claiming welfare entitlements, help with accessing medical services, and support as long as you need it. They offer information on: welfare entitlements, legal issues, job rights, continuing your education or training, and adoption.
We’re here to help. At Gianna Care, we have dealt with some very sensitive issues, and we realise that with each pregnancy comes different circumstances.
Talk to Carolyn on 087 6729393
If you are considering giving your baby up for adoption you have several options: Adoption gives you the choice of making sure you know your baby has gone to a secure, properly vetted and loving household.
You can choose an Open Adoption: an adoption in which you and the adoptive family get to know each other and the adoptive family allows visiting rights to you.
You may also put your baby into foster care until you are better able to take care of him / her.
For more information, contact Life Pregnancy Care Service at 1850 281281 or the Adoption Authority of Ireland at 01 2309306 to speak to a Social worker.
‘When I found out I was pregnant, I was only 15. I thought my life would be over if I went through with the pregnancy. People told me I was too young and it would be wrong to bring my child into the world. I was totally torn in two. I couldn't decide whether to have an abortion or to have the baby.
Then I met a counsellor and talking about it made me feel more positive. I no longer felt alienated from this life growing inside of me, instead I felt warmth and love. I made the decision to keep the baby. The first time I held my little boy I knew it was worth it and that I could make a real go of things. Sometimes it's hard being a single young mother, and it does get frustrating, but when Rory looks up at me with his big blue eyes I feel like I'm melting. I honestly love him more than words can describe.’
KIM, TALLAGHT, DUBLIN
While on a holiday abroad, 23-year-old Toni was raped. She became pregnant and says she spent much of her pregnancy in denial. She says she didn’t want to have an abortion because the she felt the child had a right to life. When her son was born Toni says she didn't want to hold the child. Through the hospital social worker, she was referred to a voluntary adoption agency. The agency counselled her about her choices, and Toni made the final decision to give the baby up for adoption. The agency and the adoptive family gave Toni the option of an open adoption, which would give her the opportunity to keep in touch with her child and the adoptive family, but Toni felt she was unable to handle it.
She eventually opted for ‘semi-open’ adoption. Twice a year she writes to her son and his birth parents respond with letters and photographs of her little boy. This is known as ‘letterbox’ adoption. Toni believes that giving her son up for adoption to a loving family, something good came from her trauma. She said, ‘I know I made the right decision. I would do nothing different.’
TESTIMONY ORIGINALLY APPEARED IN THE IRISH TIMES, 8 NOVEMBER 2010 (3)