This week I talk the Melaina AKA the “Transatlantic Blonde” who is American and had her son in Scotland as part of the series The Global Differences of Baby-Making. Here is her story:
Tell me a bit about yourself? Where are you from? How old is your son and where did you have him?
I’m a 31 year old American, originally from Ohio, who’s lived in Scotland for 7 years now. I work from home as a Social Media Consultant and am first time mom to Blondie Boy who is 20 months. BB was born here in Glasgow in January of 2010.
Why did you have your son abroad? What do you feel were the benefits to having children abroad?
I had BB here because we lived here but before I got pregnant we definitely talked about having children in Scotland rather than the US. The biggest benefit was that I didn’t pay a single cent towards my pregnancy, birth or ante-natal care. All my prescriptions and dental care were also free while I was pregnant and up until BB’s first birthday. I have so many friends with huge medical bills (with insurance) in the USA and I can’t imagine what all it would have cost for us stateside.
As an expectant mother abroad how did you feel?
Part of it was hard because my friends and family didn’t get to see me pregnant and I didn’t get to do all the normal things you do back home. No showers and certainly no multiple scans. I blogged weekly about my pregnancy which hopefully helped my family feel like they weren’t so far away.
Did you encounter any opinions that would have been different in your home country with regards to your pregnancy or parenting choices?
I feel like I was really bullied about breastfeeding here. Personally I think it is every woman’s choice to make, once she knows all the facts and information, what is best for her and her family. I was persistently asked again and again and even when I quoted back the positive statistics regarding breastfeeding and that I understood them but it wasn’t right for me they didn’t stop. In the hospital when I didn’t know how to make a bottle or feed my son I got massive eye rolls from the midwife– how was I supposed to know though?
What advice would you give other mothers in your situation?
I think you have to think about your pregnancy in relation to other women around you and not those back home. I could easily get jealous of all the extra scans and free formula women get in the US but it wouldn’t make things any better or worse for me to be that way. Universal health care is amazing; I had an emergency section, Blondie Boy required paediatric care and I had a three day hospital stay all of which cost me nothing. I think it’s also really important to keep in touch with your family and make them a part of it as much as possible whether that is blogging or sending bump photos.
Learn more about Melaina by following her on Twitter and checking out her blog
Want to share your story? Get in touch: email@example.com
Yeah the cost in the US is awful and we even have reasonably good insurance.
Wow, Ameena! What an amazing series! And thank you so much to Melanie for sharing her story! This has me thinking about a Dutch girl here in the Andes who has specifically chosen to have her child here, not at all because of the healthcare, but because she wants to be in a more relaxed environment during her pregnancy and childbirth.
Melanie, I love how you made sure to blog to keep your family and friends up to date on how you were doing. What a perfect way to document that stage of your life too! =)