For many women, concern about income and financial stability can be a big factor in their decision about if and when to parent. Depending on your situation, some financial support may be available in the form of government payments.
The Australian Government’s Department of Humans Services is responsible for providing payments to eligible Australian residents for a variety of reasons, including to assist with raising children. These payments are made through Centrelink. You may be eligible for a parenting payment from Centrelink if you meet tests about your residency and income. You may also be eligible for Family Tax Benefit A and B, child care support, or a range of other measures to support families. These payments and criteria are listed on the Department of Human Services website. You may also receive child support payments from the biological father of the child; more information about this is also available on the Department of Human Services website.
It is important to remember that while Centrelink can provide some income maintenance, it may not be sufficient to cover all your living costs. The Australian Council of Social Services' Poverty in Australia Report 2014 [pdf] found that 37% of people in households whose main income was social security (Centrelink) were living below the poverty line.
It is important to think ahead about the costs associated with raising a child and how you can meet these costs. Having a new family member may impact upon your income from work, work hours, need for child care childcare, or your household living on a single wage for a period of time. There may be one-off costs associated with relocating to a larger house, buying a bigger car or white goods to manage the load of a larger household.
Your general day-to-day living expenses will also change, including food bills, clothing, and education costs. If you don't currently keep track of your dollars in and bills out, start writing these down and try mapping out a budget. Money Smart is a government website with lots of tips. If you think you could benefit from support or counselling to assist you with your finances you might also like to look at the directory of services available through the Commonwealth Financial Counselling Program.