Having a Baby Abroad – Global Differences Series: CANADA

Next up in the series of The Global Differences of Baby-Making I talk to Deb who is French and had her daughter in Canada. Here is her story:

having a baby in canada french mother

Deb and Sixtine Charlotte

Tell me a bit about yourself? Where are you from? How old is your daughter and where did you have her?

I am a 27 year-old Parisian French mother of one and I was born and raised in France. I met my husband (Canadian English) in Iceland, Europe in September 2008 and I moved to Prince Edward Island, Canada in July 2010. I got pregnant in February 2011 and gave birth on October 17th, 2011 to a beautiful baby girl named Sixtine Charlotte. She is now three months, 2 weeks and 6 days.

Why did you have your children abroad? What do you feel were the benefits to having children abroad?

I had my daughter in Canada because this is where we live. We are very close to his family and they were very helpful during my entire pregnancy. It would have been nice to share this with my family as well but it wasn’t possible. Fortunately, my mother was able to come visit us both at the beginning and at the end – and was even able to assist to the birth of our daughter.

To be honest, I can’t really say how different it would have been had we lived in France. She was our first baby and I don’t know how it works in France. However, I received excellent care from both my OB-GYN and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital of PEI’s nurses who took care of me during labor and delivery. I feel very thankful for that. According to my mother, there were many different aspects of labor and delivery that surprised her but again, I couldn’t tell.

having baby abroad canadaAs an expectant mother abroad how did you feel?

As an expectant mother in Canada,I felt lost and overwhelmed at first. I had preconceived ideas about what would pregnancy be and prenatal care was a lot different than it is in France. I was very stressed during the first few months – I was expecting to be checked and reassured as soon as I got pregnant: Instead I was given a first appointment at the twelve weeks mark. I was also surprised and upset to learn that I wouldn’t be able to know the sex of my baby. We actually had to pay a private clinic for this service. And wait until I was six months pregnant ! In France, it is much earlier than that and it is free of charge. Also I found I didn’t have as much privacy during L&D as I thought I would have.

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

don’t like to compare both countries as it makes it sound like I am criticizing and not appreciating my country of residence but this isn’t at all what I am trying to do.

On the other hand, as I mentioned earlier, despite of those “oddities”, I had a great Doctor which made up for it all. At the end of the day, my daughter was born healthy and that is all that really matters to us.

I felt guilty for not breastfeeding long enough. I don’t recall breastfeeding being as massively advertised in France as it is here.
Co-sleeping, and cloth diapering are things that I had never heard of before moving to Canada. In my opinion, it is less popular in France which explain the puzzled reactions in my French entourage. Most mums go back to work after three months in France so co-sleeping isn’t as practical.

What advice would you give other mothers in your situation?

This is your pregnancy, and this is your baby. Listen to your heart and don’t feel that you have to explain yourself on everything. Do what feels right for you. Try not to compare between what things could have been and what things are. Just take the best ! And forget the rest ! I would also recommend the movie “Le Premier Cri” (“The First Cry”) which is a beautiful movie about pregnancy and birth around the world (http://www.disney.fr/FilmsDisney/lepremiercri/) .

Connect with Deb here:

Facebook Sixtine and the little things
Blog Sixtine and the little things
Email Contact me


Want to share your story? Get in touch: ameena@mummyinprovence.com

12 thoughts on “Having a Baby Abroad – Global Differences Series: CANADA

  1. Carrie

    This is a very different experience than what I had in the province of Ontario, Canada (where the option of having a midwife is covered under the provincial health coverage, and where we could have found out the sex of our baby at no cost to us). It would seem that the experience of having a baby in Canada differs widely depending on what province you live in (because healthcare is provincial jurisdiction, not federal).

    1. Rachel

      Have to agree with you Carrie. I had my first in Vancouver and chose midwifery care. I also chose to have a home birth. The experience was fantastic, long appointments with the MW and I had a wonderful drama free and private home birth.

      Canada is such a big country and medical services vary from province to province. Also, if you are in a remote area you will not have access to the same services as someone in a larger city.

      That said, nice to get a perspective on a hospital birth with an OBGYN in P.E.I. British Columbia also now charges to find out the sex of your baby and they also have a less frequent appointment schedule in the first trimester.

      We’ve just moved to the Isle of Man and are thinking about having a 2nd. Home birth is not offered here so I am not sure what I will do.

      1. Deb

        Rachel, your birth experience sounds ideal !
        If I had a second one, I would probably do it differently but not sure if I could handle a home birth. We may not stay here and move to a bigger city, so hopefully, we will have more options ! Thank you for commenting.

    2. Deb

      Hi Carrie and thank you for commenting !
      This is a very good point: Prince Edward Island is a very small province which means that our options were very limited (in my opinion) in terms of pregnancy care and child birth.

  2. Deb

    Thank you for featuring my story on your website Ameena !

    1. Ameena Falchetto Post author

      Thank you Deb!!!! It’s a great story and you are the first person to give a story from Canada!!!

  3. Pocket.buddha

    the ultrasound thing made me giggle. Routine tests covered by healthcare vary in different health regions, if an ultrasound isn’t needed for medical reasons then they don’t do it (though where I am in Canada most Doctors can be talked into prescribing one anyways)

    But it is very ‘canadian’ to hear that something you wanted is unavailable and make it into a good thing with a shrug and a clap on the back.

    1. Deb

      Hi Pocket.buddha,
      In France, if I am not mistaken, you get a regular ultrasound to check if everything is going well, and they can tell you at your request the sex of the baby at that same appointment. It is not an extra procedure/appointment but since they can see it…

      1. Ameena Falchetto Post author

        Deb, in France I had an internal ultrasound at 7 weeks to confirm my pregnancy, then another one at 12 weeks which was the NT scan.

        I was then sent to a special scan place to have another scan at 22 weeks – this was to check growth etc & you could find out the flavour of the baby then 🙂 )

        We chose to have a private ultrasound at 18 weeks as we were too impatient to wait to know if BiP was pink or blue!

        The next scan was at 36 weeks to check the size of the baby

        Last scan was at 40 weeks at that was with my gyno.

        I had a very hands on doc – most women in France only get 2-3 scans …

  4. Emma

    It is a very interesting interview!

  5. Ezra

    I wish the internet was as big as it now so my mum could have read posts like these. She gave birth to three of us in a very, very foreign country-Zambia (she’s from the Philippines). Everything was a shock to her and she did end up being the ‘odd one out’. One thing she never could bring herself to do is carry the baby on the back like the natives there do. It didn’t ‘feel right for her’. I’m enjoying your blog (nice of you to get others involved in sharing experiences)

  6. Mademoiselle Slimalicious

    I’ll contact you in a couple of years if I still live in Australia! I’m a French expat in Sydney, planning to have a baby in the next couple of years. It’s a bit terrifying to be so far from home and family to support me through the experience of becoming a mother, but it would be fine, I’m sure! Great blog by the way, interesting concept. I really like the “having a baby abroad” series.


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