Having a Baby Abroad – Global Differences Series: UAE

Next up in the series of The Global Differences of Baby-Making I talk to Rima who is originally Lebanese but born in Dubai. She’s had both her children in the UAE. Here is her story:

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

My name is Rima Karam and I am Lebanese – I was born in the UAE on May 9, 1979 and I was raised in Kuwait, USA, and the UAE. I met my husband while in high-School in Dubai and 16 years later we are married with two adorable children – Tiana is 3 and Kai is 8 – 1/2 months.

Why did you have your children abroad?

For me the UAE is my home as I was born here and spent the better years of my life here but my parents left Lebanon before they were married due to the country’s constant unrest and civil wars – there were no jobs so a great percentage of the population moved to the ME – mainly Kuwait (where my parents met) and the UAE.

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

As I am sure a lot of people know the UAE is a very cosmopolitan country and especially Dubai. It is a melting pot of different nationalities and I love it here. It is so up to date with medicine, technology, and education that I still wonder why it is referred to a 3rd World Country! I was blessed to have a fantastic OBGYN (the same one for both my kids) who took very good care of me like I was her own daughter and was there for me anytime I needed her. The hospital nurses were great and most of the doctors were brilliant but I had a few complications with my second delivery (a c-section) but thankfully all is well.

As an expectant mother abroad how did you feel?

The first time around I had a natural delivery and I was surprisingly calm as I didn’t know the ordeal I was getting into! I was informed of everything, I had met the anesthesiologist in advance as I had opted for an epidural and I had to sign a few papers and discuss a few side effects that could occur but thankfully I was ok. My OBGYN let me tour the delivery unit where I would be giving birth a few days before my due date and it made me feel more at ease as I familiarized myself with the place so it didn’t feel alien to me! All the midwives were extremely sweet and helpful although I don’t recall much from 0 – 2cm as it was all a blur of pain! Thankfully after the epidural I could think straight!

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

I am not sure as I have never resided in Lebanon, but all I know that in Beirut it’s a stereo-type and a trend to have a C-Section as its faster and easier for the mother and the doctor! But I was never pushed into anything like that here, my 2nd delivery was a C-section as my son was a big baby mashallah and in my first delivery my daughter had to be literally sucked out by a a ventouse as she was stuck as my canal was a bit tight. Hence the C-section, but that was decided at the end when we had an approximate weight estimate and we knew it would never happen with natural!

What advice would you give other mothers in your situation?

Be as educated and informed as you can be about your situation, but don’t be extremely anal or that will work against you. Do remember that the doctors are here to help so if you don’t like something they are saying get a second opinion – its ok to disagree with your doctor on a few things but you have to be happy with them and trust them as yours and your baby’s life is in their hands. And use all the help you can get from the hospital/clinics, if they give home visits use them, if they have free classes on breast feeding etc, use it all! There’s nothing wrong with needing help, as there is no right or wrong way to raise a child. Also one more piece of advice – don’t get stressed if everything doesn’t go the way you planned it! There is no such thing as a plan with a newborn child – go with the flow and be happy that you and your baby are healthy and well.

About Rima and Fashlink

February 2012 was a very important month for my family and I as we welcomed our baby boy Kai into the world as well as another “family member” per se. Fashlink.com was born in February 2012 – and it started out as an online window shopping site – which focused on what was in stores in the UAE. It was great helping create the site and watching it grow and evolve into an online shopping site – due to popular demand – targeted to the Middle Eastern shopaholics. We focus on small business/designers/entrepreneurs who create/sell products focused on women and children and hopefully mid- 2013 we will be launching the men’s section. I focus on sourcing brands/products for the children’s section – being a mother I find it very challenging and fun to meet new people who are so creative – its inspiring and motivates me to help them succeed and promote their products to the Middle East – and the world.

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