This week I talk to Rachel as part of the series The Global Differences of Baby-Making. She had both her sons in Brazil. 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?
My name is Rachel and I am from the San Diego, California, USA. I have two boys, 4 1/2 and 2 1/2. Both boys were born here in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Why did you have your children abroad?
My husband and I moved to Rio de Janeiro shortly after finding out I was pregnant with our firstborn. We had been living kind of like nomads and didn’t have healthcare in either country. Thankfully he got an great job offer out of the blue in Rio and Brazil has free public medicine. It was an offer we couldn’t refuse.
What do you feel were the benefits to having children abroad?
My children are truly bilingual. My 4 yr old can switch from one language to the other or translate from one to the other without hardly any effort or thought. That is one of the best gifts I could give my kids.
As an expectant mother abroad how did you feel?
I felt lost and confused. I missed my family during the entire process. Moving while expecting is especially difficult, even if you have been to the country/city you moved to. Not only did I miss the people closest to me, I had to struggle through prenatal care in a second language that I had yet to master. On the plus side, I spoke very well after those last 7 months!
Did you encounter any opinions that would have been different in your home country with regards to your pregnancy or parenting choices?
In Brazil there it is culturally acceptable to breastfeed anywhere and everywhere. That was a lovely part of having my boys here. When I went home for a visit when my oldest was 6 months old, I was shocked by the looks I received while breastfeeding in a corner covered up. That would never happen in Brazil.
What advice would you give other mothers in your situation?
Keep your chin up! You are in a situation where you have the opportunity to grow and experience new things. Although those lessons aren’t always at the most ideal time, it will make you a more flexible person. I find that flexibility is an excellent quality to have as a Mother, wife, and friend. Thankfully we have things like skype, facebook, and email to keep us in touch with our loved ones who are far away. And when you are having one of those low days where you just hate where you are at, don’t be hard on yourself. We all have those days and they pass!
Want to share your story? Get in touch