This week I talk to Suzie as part of the series The Global Differences of Baby-Making. She had her son in Turkey. Here is her story:
Tell me a bit about yourself? Where are you from? How old is your son and where did you have him?
I’m Suzie, 26, originally from Wales and I’ve been in Istanbul, Turkey now for 5years. I met my /turkish husband here and our son M was born in March this year. He was born in Istanbul.
Why did you have your son abroad?What do you feel were the benefits to having children abroad?
When I first became pregnant, I expected I’d want to return to the UK to give birth. As the pregnancy sunk in, I realised that I didn’t want to take our baby home from the hospital to anywhere other than home, which meant giving birth here. It turned out to be a wonderful decision. Unlike the UK, I had monthly appointments with ultrasounds at each check*, I had my doctors cell phone number to call at any concern, I got to choose the doctor, and hospital and felt in control of our monitoring. Yes, we had to pay for the appointments/birth but I was able to offset the cost with my husbands national insurance and the pregnancy and birth in total cost a fraction of a private birth with the same options in the UK. The downside was I was unable to consider a homebirth, which I would have probably opted for in the UK.
As an expectant mother abroad how did you feel?
Overwhelmed by the differences at times, and having no other pregnant friends or Mums of babies here, a little isolated. On the other hand, Turkey is a baby/pregnant friendly country so I never had to stand on a bus or wait in line!
Did you encounter any opinions that would have been different in your home country with regards to your pregnancy or parenting choices?
It is rare that a parenting decision we make is in line with the ‘traditional’ Turkish opinion of what we should do and that can be tough going as people don’t hesitate to tell you, in no uncertain terms, that your choice is wrong. For example, a nurse told me using cotton nappies with M would cause nappy rash not prevent it, I’ve lost count of the number of strangers who have chastised me for carrying M in a ring sling or wrap, and people frequently tell me to put more clothes on him, cover him up. But, their intentions are all in the right place and I try to remeber that; plus, my in-laws have been fantastic in supporting the decisions we’ve made, even when they don’t understand them themselves.
What advice would you give other mothers in your situation?
Trust your gut and talk to your partner. There have been times when I have felt like just giving in for the ease, but have stuck to my instinct and ultimately have felt good about the choices we’ve made. Likewise, talking to my husband has often made a big difference to how I feel and he has been able to deal with some of the problems I was facing head-on, whereas I’d just have let them go.
*I know there are those against ultrasound, but I was grateful for the extra monitoring.
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