How will I manage school with a baby?
For some women an unwelcome interruption to schooling may be a deciding factor in their unplanned pregnancy. Others will seek a way to juggle parenting with these commitments and hopes. Research shows that pregnant and parenting young women are less likely to complete secondary education. Whilst many women may hope that they can manage this, it can be a struggle. It might be important to ask yourself what motivation and support you have, and how important is education to you.
Education Queensland’s policy is to support pregnant and parenting young women to remain connected to education. Each school will have their own approach to supporting pregnant and parenting students. This may include anything from doing fewer subjects and having flexible time tables to providing on-site child care. You can check out what your school might offer by contacting a trusted staff member such as the School Nurse or Guidance Officer. There are some alternative education schools which specialise in supporting pregnant and parenting young people.
If you are hoping to get practical support with things like babysitting or transport from friends and family it can be important to talk with people about this. Make sure that your specific hopes for practical support can realistically be met.
How will I manage uni or TAFE?
Each educational institution will vary as to what it can offer students who are pregnant or parenting. Contact your learning institution directly to find out what onsite child care there may be and to explore options for deferring or reducing your study load.
How will I manage work with a baby?
Managing the possible tensions between work and parenting can be a major factor in the decision making process around an unplanned pregnancy. For some women, continuing an unplanned pregnancy can mean an unwelcome break to career development and significant financial challenges. Other women will seek ways to manage parenting and work. Working Women Queensland provides quality up-to-date information on working conditions and leave entitlements for pregnant and parenting women. The Department of Human Services through its Centrelink system administers paid parental leave. Changes to entitlements to government and employer provided paid leave are currently under review and women may face reduced entitlements after July 2016.
If you are hoping to draw on informal child care support from friends, family or the man involved in the pregnancy it can be important to get a realistic idea of the level and type of support that might bec reliably offered.
Australian citizens along with a range of other resident categories and visa holders may be eligible for the Child Care Benefit and the Child Care Rebate to meet some of the costs of approved child care. The availability of places varies widely and in some situations access may be difficult or involve waiting times. The Child Care Access Hotline 1800 670 305 may be able to provide you with information about the types of child care available and availability in your geographic area.