This week I talk the Lerner AKA the “Stay At Home Babe” who is American and had first baby in the US and her second in the UK as part of the series The Global Differences of Baby-Making. 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’m an American, born and raised in the Midwest. I grew up in Oklahoma, went to boarding school in Indiana and then traveled around like a vagabond until I got pregnant and went back home to have a more settled life when my son was born.
My oldest is seven and was born in Missouri (USA), my youngest is almost three and she was born in England.
Why did you have your children abroad?
My husband’s English and I got pregnant with our daughter while we were still living on separate continents. Whoops! As my third trimester began and he still couldn’t get transferred to the states for work, it became clear we’d have to relocate to England if we were going to be in one place when she was born. She wouldn’t listen to reason and just wait a few more months.
What do you feel were the benefits to having children abroad?
I really like that the UK has a midwife-centric system. The only time a pregnant woman sees a doctor is if there’s something medically wrong. It just made sense to me. Pregnancy isn’t an illness, why would I need to see a doctor if I’m not sick? ObGyn’s are trained surgeons… I didn’t need surgery, I was just pregnant. I felt really at ease with the midwife team I met when I arrived.
As an expectant mother abroad how did you feel?
I really loved it. I was hoping for a home birth and the midwives here really support that and have a mobile birthing pack that they will leave at your house a couple of weeks before your due date so you’re all set up when the baby comes. I ended up transferring to the hospital in the second stage of my labor and having a natural birth in the hospital because that’s just how I felt in the moment and there’s no reasoning with a woman in labor. But, overall I really liked it over here. The system just made sense to me. My first was born in the states and it always felt a little bit too sterile, not as natural as I would have liked in an ideal world. They’re much more relaxed about pregnancy and birth over here. I loved it.
Did you encounter any opinions that would have been different in your home country with regards to your pregnancy or parenting choices?
Uhoh, I think I got a little ahead of myself and may have addressed this with my last answer. But one thing that I found to be very different over here is that the midwives did follow-up visits after the birth at my home, rather than the mother coming into the office. They came by a couple of times the first week and several times during the thirty days after the birth. I was amazed! I don’t think my own family stopped by that many times in the states.
What advice would you give other mothers in your situation?
I think the biggest key for any expectant mother is to just be as informed as humanly possible. Know how your physician/midwife plans to proceed and make sure that’s what you want and feel comfortable with as well. I think the most important thing as an expectant mother is to feel supported, and in collaboration with the plan. Sitting back and being shuffled through the birth plan… or worse, the actual birth… is a sure path to a less-than-positive birth experience.
Trust yourself and your body, along with the qualified input of your birthing team. It will all be over and gone so soon; and while some parts of being hugely pregnant can be miserable, there really are some great memories worth holding onto.
Lerner is a heavily-tattooed, hen-keeping, profanity-loving, die-hard foodie mom who has a personal blog (with moxy) at Stay At Home Babe. She spends way too much time on Twitter and is also available on Facebook or by email at email@example.com
Want to share your story? Get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wow! I love how dedicated her midwife was. I would love the comfort of a home birth.
You know what the crazy part is? It wasn’t that my particular midwife was dedicated, that’s just the standard operating procedure over here. Midwives work for the National Health service, all medical care is paid by our tax dollars, so my birth was “free” and it’s just part of the program that they come by so many times to check on the baby and mom. It was crazy. I couldn’t believe it.
Love the fact that you’ve had kids both in America and Abroad, puts a very interesting perspective on it. I’m surprised that you didn’t perceive the system here as negative as I would imagine when comparing it to all the stories I’ve read here.