This week I talk to Maria who is American and had her son in Germany 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 am a 32 year old wife and mother. I work for the Federal government as a water resources planner, and I promise, I am not the enemy for doing so. I love my job and believe in the need and value of providing decision makers the best information we can. I enjoy spending time with my family, running, reading, and blogging.
Where am I from? Such a simple question with a complicated answer! I grew up in small town Minnesota, went to college in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and am now living in Maryland while working in Washington D.C. In between college and now, I moved around the world with my husband (Turkey, France, Germany) while keeping a home in Tulsa.
We have one son known on the web as The Boy (TB). TB was conceived in Gravelines, France and born in Frankfurt Germany.
Why did you have your son abroad? What do you feel were the benefits to having children abroad?
Having TB abroad was somewhat planned, because we did not want to pay for the childbirth in the U.S. My husband’s job had us moving around a lot, so we did not have US health insurance, and he was unemployed during the summer months (yes, every year). Until I was five or six months pregnant, we were not sure which country we would have TB in, so when an opportunity opened up in Germany, we took it, because I knew that I could find a mommy and baby-friendly doctor and midwife and would receive quality care.
As an expectant mother abroad how did you feel?
For the most part, I felt calm and at peace, because I had found a great midwife. However, I was also anxious, because if something went wrong and my husband was on the road, I would be all alone. I was also anxious that if I ended up with a c-section, I would be without any support. Other than a few wives I knew from my husband’s work, I was quite isolated, and my family was not coming to visit until a couple of months after my expected due date.
Did you encounter any opinions that would have been different in your home country with regards to your pregnancy or parenting choices?
Where should I start? My American doctor told me that I needed to “stop eating cake.” Only I never was eating cake! He obviously thought I was gaining too much weight, but the doctor and midwife in Germany were unconcerned. In Germany, the blood sugar/glucose test was optional (according to my doctor anyway), and they were surprised I already had it in the US. My childbirth was completely different than what would have happened in the US (+13 days, vaginal delivery after a LONG induced labor). Once TB was born, I was told I could leave the hospital immediately if I wanted (I stayed less than 10 hours). When I told the midwife he would only sleep in my arms, she told me to bring him to bed with me. When he wouldn’t nurse well at first, the midwife worked with me and never once suggested supplementing. When I did the weight conversion, I know the doctors in the US would have said otherwise. I could go on and on…
What advice would you give other mothers in your situation?
I would remind other moms that babies are born healthy all over the world, and while health care in the US is good, many other countries also have good care, and quite honestly, some have far superior care. Do some (or a lot of) research, ask questions when you are not comfortable, find a care provider who will work within your language skills if they are limited, and relax. 🙂
Check out where Maria blogs: www.mealswithmariaandfriends.com and www.piecesofmymind.com. You can also follow her on twitter
Want to share your story? Get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org