Pregnant? Need help?
You're pregnant and you're not ready
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...
Raising your baby
You are entitled to the following if you are an Irish/EU citizen:
During pregnancy if you are not working: (1)
- Supplementary Welfare allowance
- Medical Card/G.P. Visit Card
- Rent/Mortgage Interest supplement
- Money towards cost of necessary items such as a pram or a cot etc
If you are working:
- Maternity Benefit, if you have paid enough Social Insurance Contributions
- Health and safety benefits
- You are entitled to 26 weeks Maternity leave, plus an additional 16 weeks unpaid leave
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
- €188 per week plus €29.80 Child Dependent Allowance, per child.
- Child Benefit - €15-40 for each of the first two children per month - available to all children
- Higher amounts are paid for additional children.
- The Early Childhood Care and Education Scheme (ECCE) – Free pre-school year for all children between the ages of 3 years and 3 months and 4 years and 6 months from September 2010.
- Parents can work and the first €110 of gross weekly earnings (from Jan 2013) does not affect their rate of OPF payment. Once they earn over the €110 then half of the remainder (up to the OPF ceiling of €425) is counted as means and this will reduce the rate of OPF payment received. If a parent earns more than €425 gross a week then they are no longer eligible for OPF.
- You may be entitled to Rent Supplement
- You may be entitled to a medical card
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.
Help is free
Life pregnancy care service.
Confidential Helpline: 1850 281 281
(MON-SAT 9AM-9PM, SUN 3-9PM)
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.
Local Care Centres
- Dublin: 01 6798989
- Cork: 021 4270445
- Galway: 091 566939
- Midlands: 057 9341110
- Thurles: 0504 24402
- Letterkenny: 074 9127007
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.
http://www.giannacare.ie/ 01 5322116 OR 01 5322117
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.
Kim's story: I kept my baby
‘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
Toni's story: My baby was adopted
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)
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