Next up in the series of The Global Differences of Baby-Making I talk to Shadi who is Iranian but grew up in Dubai and had her daughter in the United States (she’s also expecting her second baby). Here is her story:
Tell me a bit about yourself? Where are you from? How old is your daughter and where did you have her?
My name is Shadi. I am from Iran. I grew up in Dubai and moved to the States at the age of 19 to peruse my studies. I have been here in the States, South Carolina for 14 years minus a break from living here where I completed my masters in the UK. Ironically, I met my “English” husband in the States so we have all kinds of cultures going on in our household! We have a 3 year old daughter and I had her here in South Carolina, US where we live today.
Why did you have your daughter abroad? What do you feel were the benefits to having children abroad?
Growing up so internationally I didn’t have a specific preference of where I would like to have children. It was going to be where I was living at the time. My daughter is lucky to now have both American and British citizenships. I grew up with an Iranian passport and I know all too well how hard traveling was so I am very happy that my daughter will never experience that. I’m sure there are support groups for moms and women everywhere, there are immensely supportive groups you can find here like the MOMS Club, which I am a part of, I don’t know what I would have done without them being so far away from my family. Women need women, no matter how supportive our husbands are! 🙂
As an expectant mother abroad how did you feel?
I was very lucky to have a smooth pregnancy, I really enjoyed being pregnant. I was also working throughout my pregnancy so that kept me busy. There are so many classes you can choose to take here and if you are looking for support, it is at your doorstep. I was especially surprised at how much emphasis there was on breastfeeding. That was one of the best classes I took, it helped me so much. I ended up breastfeeding for 16 months.
Of course I had the anxieties that any person would have while pregnant, especially being away from my mom, and reading, reading, reading helped a lot, as well as talking to friends and family who have had kids!
Did you encounter any opinions that would have been different in your home country with regards to your pregnancy or parenting choices?
Not necessary with my pregnancy and of course with parenting, everyone has an opinion! While pregnant, I got great care from the doctors, I went for checkups regularly and towards the end, the visits became more and more frequent because that is what is asked of you.
My biggest issue about having a baby here was the clinical feel of it, there is a protocol and it is what it is. Most doctors treat having a baby like it’s a medical process, get it out, job done. I didn’t feel that connection with my doctors. Yes “doctors,” I was part of a medical group so I had many and whoever was available that day was going to deliver my child although at the end I found out it’s the nurses that do everything anyway!
Also, while I was pregnant, I found out that the typical process that takes place here, is they don’t let you go overdue by much, you will get induced, which is a very painful and rushed labor and therefore, you end up getting an epidural, which ends up in a c-section because you and the baby are absolutely exhausted, guess what? It is exactly what happened to me! However, thanks to my husband, we have good insurance, therefore, I had a large private room to myself, great care and at the women’s hospital I delivered at, there was a nurse that visited me daily to help me with breastfeeding, even bra fitting! I also did get to hold my baby pretty much right away even though I had a c-section, my husband held her next to my head until they were done stitching me up so I had my constant contact until I was able to breastfeed her rolling into our private room.
To be honest, in my opinion, the whole attachment to your birth plan is a 1st time mother thing, once it actually happens, however it happens, all that matters is that you are both healthy.
I would like to add here that I am now pregnant with my second and have chosen a different doctor. This doctor will be the only doctor I will see throughout my pregnancy and he will be the only one delivering my child. I also have the chance to have a natural birth even though I had a c-section 1st time around. The choices are there, you just have to look for them.
What advice would you give other mothers in your situation?
My advice would be, embrace your pregnancy, follow your instinct, listen to your body, do your research, and most importantly, find a support group. Women have been having babies for centuries, where you have your child doesn’t matter, the end result is you and your baby, that is all that matters.
Want to share your story? Get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org