Category Archives: Holland

Having a Baby Abroad – Global Differences Series: HOLLAND

Next up in the series of The Global Differences of Baby-Making I talk to Lynn who is American and had her first daughter in the US and her second in the Netherlands. Here is her story:

having a baby abroad in hollandTell me a bit about yourself? Where are you from? How old are your children and where did you have them?

I am American and my husband is Italian. We have two daughters, ages 3.5 and 1.5. We had our first daughter in San Francisco and then moved to Delft, Netherlands when she was two months old. Our second daughter was born here in Delft.

Why did you have your children abroad?

We had been living in the Netherlands for a year when I got pregnant with our second child. Thanks to my wonderful local mom’s group (DelftMaMa) I didn’t have any concerns about having a baby here and I never thought about going back to the US for the birth.

What do you feel were the benefits to having children abroad?

One of the great things about having a baby abroad is that it gives you the chance to question the status quo in your own country and think about what kind of care and support is important to you (versus what everyone tells you that you need). The medical staff in the Netherlands had a much more laid back approach that resulted in fewer tests and less invasive appointments. As a second time mother, I appreciated the hands-off attitude.

As an expectant mother abroad how did you feel?

Overall, I felt positive about my experience as an expat expectant mother. My main concern was that my requests for pain relief would not be honored. The Dutch have a history of denying requests for pain meds (although this is changing), and the midwife and doctors all told me that it might not be possible to get an epidural if the anesthesiologist was not available.  That certainly added some stress to my pregnancy! I was lucky in the end to arrive at the hospital right before the anesthesiologist left for the evening…I hate to think about how my delivery would have gone had I shown up an hour later!

Did you encounter any opinions that would have been different in your home country with regards to your pregnancy or parenting choices?

A major difference I encountered was opinions about how postnatal care should be handled.  In the US I spent 3 days in the hospital and then went home. The medical staff encouraged me to get up and moving and I was back out walking around the neighborhood within a few days. The Dutch believe that mothers and babies should stay at home and do the minimum possible for at least the first week. Mother and baby are sent home as quickly as possible (as soon as a couple of hours after the birth) and once home, a special care nurse (kraamzorg) comes and helps you at home for the next week. The nurse handles all of the check-ups, appointment scheduling, cleaning and chores so that you can focus on yourself and your baby. While I loved having the kraamzorg nurse come to my house (every country should have this system), I did have a disagreement with her over whether or not I could leave the house. She did not even want me to walk one block to the grocery store. I had to get the midwife to give me medical permission to leave.

What advice would you give other mothers in your situation?

I would suggest that mothers connect with a local mother’s group and get to know other women who have given birth in the area. They will help you get answers to all of your questions, give the best advice and support you (and your new baby) through every step of the way.

About Lynn and Nomad Parents:

Find out more about Lynn on her site Nomad Parents. You can also follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Nomad Parents is the online community for expat families in the Netherlands. The site is full of helpful information, real stories and regular articles from experts relevant to parents with children ages 0-4. Come and visit us to find out what parenting in the Netherlands is all about.


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Having a Baby Abroad – Global Differences Series: HOLLAND

Having a baby abroad in hollandThis week I talk to Monique who is American. She shares her experience of having both her daughters in Holland as part of the series The Global Differences of Baby-Making. Here is her story:

Tell me a bit about yourself?
I am a former attorney turned freelance writer and blogger, living in the Netherlands with my husband and 2 daughters. While I wasn’t athletic and didn’t participate in sports growing up, these days I proudly proclaim that I’m a runner and participate in races in a variety of destinations every chance I get.

Where are you from?
I was born and raised in California, went to school Indiana and Washington, DC and lived for a while in Connecticut.

How old are your children and where did you have them?
I have two daughters, aged 10 and 7, both of whom where born in the Netherlands.

Why did you have your children abroad?
There was no master plan to move overseas to have children. We had been living in the Netherlands for a while due to my husband’s work, with no immediate plans to return back to the United States and we were ready to have a family.

What do you feel were the benefits to having children abroad?
The custom in the Netherlands is to have the baby at home, not use an epidural and to have a kraamzorg, or nurse, come to your home after the birth of the baby.

While I didn’t “go Dutch” completely when having my children, but I did take advantage of some of the customs. I was not interested in having my children at home, but I did use a midwife, as is common and encouraged for women under 35 who aren’t experiencing any complications during pregnancy. I choose to forgo the epidural during the birth of my first child, but didn’t have that option with youngest daughter, since I need to have an emergency Cesarean. I did have a kraamzorg with both children, and having someone help you during those first few days after you bring your child home is a delightful pleasure every new mother should have.

As an expectant mother abroad how did you feel?
It was a little unsettling at first because the customs were different than where I was from. I relied heavily on “What To Expect When You’re Expecting” and the website “Baby Center” to get answers and information from the cultural perspective I was used to.

Did you encounter any opinions that would have been different in your home country with regards to your pregnancy or parenting choices?
During my first pregnancy, my midwife mentioned that it was fine have wine, but it should be limited to a glass a night. This goes totally against what is expected in America, and I went with the American recommendation and abstained during both pregnancies. Breast-feeding was also not as popular a choice here when I had my children, and though not discouraged, I didn’t feel as though I had a lot of support around me regarding that decision.

What advice would you give other mothers in your situation?
Try to embrace the customs the country you live in but in the end don’t stress yourself our and do what’s best for you.


Monique Rubin writes about Netherlands travel for and her family’s travel adventures on her blog Mo Travels. She lives in The Netherlands with her husband and two young daughters. You can follow Monique on Twitter.



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Having a Baby Abroad – Global Differences Series: HOLLAND & THAILAND

having baby holland and thailandThis week I talk to Apple who is TCK and eternal expat. She shares her experience of having a baby in Holland, and another in Thailand as part of the series The Global Differences of Baby-Making. Here is her story:


The decision to have a baby in a country not one’s own is a big one for most expatriates. In situ is often the choice made, maybe with the help of the soon-to-be-grandmother willing to travel and assist with either existing children, or to give succour to a brand new mum. Others decide to fly back to their passport country for the delivery.


For me the decision was easy. Granted I was, neither time, in a country with sub-standard medical care; but the overriding fact was that as a TCK I did not consider my passport country my home. Wherever I happened to be living at the time was home.


Our daughter was born in Emmen, The Netherlands and I had nothing but praise for the care received throughout my pregnancy and after. The Dutch had post-natal care down to a fine art with home visits given by both the mid-wife and the kraamverzorgster, who helped with all things to do with the newborn. A comforting voice offering advice and sound commonsense to an at times weepy mother.


Neither did having a baby in Holland present any great cultural differences, and I was up and on my bike, along with my baby, remarkably quickly.


Still in the dark ages, before the Internet and mobile phones, we sent letters with stamps on them around the world three years later announcing the birth of our second child, in Bangkok, Thailand. It took a few weeks for the news to percolate through to family and friends but was still joyously received. A few months’ later congratulatory letters and cards finally caught us up after a relocation to Singapore shortly after the special delivery.


My doctor was a delightful Thai who happened also to be a friend. I remember being slightly peeved that he and my husband were engaged in the serious business of completing the Daily Telegraph’s cryptic crossword and were not, to my mind, focusing on the important things in life, me. But when push came to shove I had everyone’s attention.


On a gloriously sunny day in Bangkok at Sametivej Hospital just before lunch, Edward arrived with relatively little fuss considering he was ten days overdue, and tilted the scales at just over ten pounds. After lying with him in my arms for a while admiring this amazing creation and watching my husband’s delighted face, the newborn was taken to the nursery for a few rays under the lamp.


His father went home to tell our daughter about her brother’s safe arrival, which in those pre-sky-train days in Bangkok could take anything up to a couple of hours. I meanwhile was wheeled into my darkened room for a little rest and recuperation.
Dozing in and out of consciousness, happy and relaxed, I was woken properly by the door opening. In itself not a fantastic phenomena, but the breeze the act provoked created a ripple chain reaction along the polystyrene ceiling tiles, until finally the one above my bed lifted five or so inches before settling back with a sigh and a thud.


I was now truly awake and watched the diminutive nurse bustle in with a fresh jug of water and a beautiful arrangement of purple vanda orchids delivered by a friend.

“Sawadeekah,” she greeted me, pouring a glass of water.
“Sawadeekah,” I returned. Kob khun kah,” I thanked her as she handed me the glass.
“Oh Madam, so solly,” she continued, switching to English and fussing with the pillows.
“What?” I asked on instant alert, tears already flowing.
“Madam? What matter? Why you cly?” She asked patting my shoulder.
“What’s happened? My baby?”
“Oh Madam, no, no, baby OK.”
“Why are you sorry then?” I asked sniffling.
“Boy born year of Tiger vely stlong, velly difficult. Better wait for labbit.”
I cried from relief, and later pondered the thought that no matter where we have our babies in the world and no matter the research we have done, there will be cultural misunderstandings.

Twenty-five years later I am delighted to report our son, born in the Year of the Tiger has proved strong, but not difficult.


Apple Gidley writes and speaks on intercultural and expatriate issues based on her experiences as a lifetime global nomad. She has lived and worked in Africa, Asia, Europe and the US while raising two TCKs. She writes a monthly column for a Houston magazine and is published regularly in The Weekly Telegraph amongst others.
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