Next up in the series of The Global Differences of Baby-Making I talk to Zoe who is British and had her first son in Dubai, UAE and her second in the UK. Here is her story:
Tell me a bit about yourself? Where are you from? How old are your children and where did you have them?
I moved to Dubai from a previous expat location, The Cayman Islands in the Caribbean. However my husband and I are both originally from Kent, UK. We lived in Dubai for approximately 3 years before we had our son there. I now have two sons, Oscar aged 3.3 who was born in Dubai and Jaspar 1.3 who was born in UK. I had Oscar when I was 32 and Jaspar when I was 34 years old.
Why did you have your children abroad? What do you feel were the benefits to having children abroad?
I had Oscar abroad as we were living in that country and flying to the UK would have been very inconvenient due to the fact you would have to fly before 7 months and then you are advised not to fly when the baby is still very tiny which would have meant being away from my husband for quite a few months. Also you do have to pay in Dubai which my husbands employer covered in their medical insurance. If they had not it may have been a different story and would have gone back to UK as there it is free!! The hospitals in the UK all look directly from the 70’s and although they have the medical equipment, because the service is free you cannot have scans etc more than twice throughout your pregnancy. So when we went to our hospital in Dubai it seemed like a 5 star hotel and as you pay for every service, they are all readily available!
As an expectant mother abroad how did you feel?
I felt totally at ease. All I felt was that as long as I had my husband there I would be ok!! Also, it didnt matter where we were, I was going to be in lots of pain either way!!!
Did you encounter any opinions that would have been different in your home country with regards to your pregnancy or parenting choices?
I found in general everything was more on the medical side than the natural side but didnt bother me too much as I like ansewrs!! I like 2 and 2 to equal 4, where with pregnancy and birth there is no exact calculation but they made you feel as though there were?!?
One thing that was different was you were weighed constantly and I was told I was gaining too much weight and kept being told the bigger I got the bigger the baby will get and I have to get that baby out somehow so better to try and keep him small. I was put on a diet of no potato, pasta, rice or bread from around 4 months. At the time it was very difficult but after I hardly gained any weight and went straight back to previous body.
With my second son in the UK I was not weighed and was told it doesnt really matter and I ended up putting on loads of weight and having a huge 4.4kg baby!! So were they right????
Also, in Dubai I was induced at 8 days over due as, again she had estimated he was a big baby, the induction was not really successful and I ended up having a c section – in hindsight I would have said no lets wait the full 14 days over to see if I go naturally – Oscar ended up 3.8kg which is still not small? I felt there was more interferring in Dubai than in the UK!
What advice would you give other mothers in your situation?
Take the docs advice but still listen to yourself and stick to your guns if you feel strongly about something.
Want to share your story? Get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org