In this section you can find real life stories submitted by other expat parents such as yourself. Please feel free to leave a comment on a story or to let us know if there is a topic you would like us to cover.
Would you like to share your own story with other expat parents? If so, please email it to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday 10 October 2012 at 01:19 am
By Chitra Natarajan, Childbirth Educator – HBCE & Lamaze
in Hilversum and Utrecht
Postpartum blues are signs of emotions that surface after the baby is born. These “baby blues” are a combination of many factors such as hormonal changes in a pregnant woman, physical discomfort, feeling tired, a sense of disappointment if the birth didn’t go the way she hoped for, not returning to her pre pregnancy shape easily etc.
Tuesday 04 September 2012 at 07:52 am
By Corinne Laan, a specialist nurse, holistic childbirth facilitator and HypnoBirthing practitioner at Birth Bliss
When we refer to fear in childbirth, what do we mean by it? Is it the fear of pain? Is it the fear of a prolonged labour? Is it the lack of trust in our body’s ability to birth our baby? Is it fear of the unknown? Is it fear of fear itself....?
Whatever is at the origin of that fear, it will have an adverse effect on the birthing process because the way our body is designed to respond to fear is beyond our conscious control. The problem with fear is that the mind cannot distinguish between a real threat and a threat which only exists in our thoughts.
Once the brain detects fear, it sets in motion a chain of events inside the body. The Sympathetic system which is the body’s defence mechanism puts the body in a fight, flight or freeze state. Adrenaline is released in the body and this rush of adrenaline in the blood neutralizes the effect of oxytocin which is responsible for uterine contractions. Blood supply is diverted away from the internal organs including the womb in favour of the large muscles. The womb becomes deprived of blood and as a result contractions become less effective; labour slows down or stops all together. Fear also causes tension in our body and as we tense we experience more pain. The more pain we experience the more we tense and the more fearful we become….
In the absence of fear, birth tends to unfold gently and smoothly. As a birthing mother relaxes, her body produces the right amount of oxytocin and her body releases endorphins, the body’s natural pain killers, to help her with the intensity of birth. Labour tends to be shorter and there is a much reduced chance of complications.
Wednesday 15 August 2012 at 5:05 pm
By Lynn Morrison
and Olga Mecking
We are two expat women living in the Netherlands. We each have two daughters, gave birth around the same time, and had our first child outside of the Netherlands and our second one here. We have both met women who told us stories how their wishes and needs were ignored because the midwives expected them to have a more natural birth experience. This inspired us to co-write this article to present a slightly different perspective on the human rights in childbirth debate.
This past summer the Netherlands hosted the Human Rights in Childbirth Annual Congress
. Thought leaders, researchers and political figures from around the world gathered in The Hague to discuss the rights of women to determine when, how and where their childbirth will take place.
We were only somewhat surprised to see that most of the presentations that got wide coverage were about women who wanted to give birth at home at all costs. We started asking ourselves these questions: what about those of us who want to give birth in the hospital with every pain relief option? Are our own rights to the birth of our choice worth less than the rights of women who want to give birth at home?
Wednesday 15 August 2012 at 07:31 am
From time to time we receive stories via email. This particular story came from an anonymous source and made us want to reach out and offer a virtual hug and shoulder for support. We are sharing this story in the hopes that our readers can learn how to avoid it - by speaking up for your needs and demanding the information and support you need from the medical community. If Nomad Parents can be of any help to you, please let us know.
Wednesday 15 August 2012 at 07:00 am
By Lynn Morrison (USA)
Just as I began to get settled in the Netherlands and thought that I knew my way around everything, I discovered that I was pregnant with my second child and had a whole new set of systems to learn. I scheduled my first midwife appointment and starting preparing my list of wants/needs/questions for the first visit. Everything was going well right up until the packet from the midwife's office arrived at my house. I needed to bring hospital stickers and a urine sample to the first visit - what were stickers and where was I supposed to store a urine sample? Thankfully the receptionist at the midwife was kind enough to explain where to get the stickers (and why I needed them) and to direct me to the nearest pharmacy for a sample cup.
Tuesday 14 August 2012 at 09:05 am
By Lynn Morrison (USA)
I was living in the United States when I had my first child and I can still remember how nervous I was about bringing home a 2 day old baby. I kept hoping that someone was going to provide me with a handy instruction manual or "Your Baby for Dummies" guide before the hospital sent me on my way. Had I known then how fabulous post-natal care was here in the Netherlands I would have definitely chosen to give birth here instead.
The kraamzorg system can only be described as the greatest thing ever! Regardless of whether it is your first baby or your tenth or whether both sets of grandparents live down the street, the kraamzorg nurse can make your first week at home with your new baby a much more pleasant experience. Best of all, kraamzorg care is covered under basic insurance and is available and affordable for everyone.
Monday 13 August 2012 at 05:47 am
By Rosalind Van Aalen
from her blog Tales from the Windmill Fields
Pregnancy isn't an illness ......
........ Well it isn't in Holland anyhow.
It is funny isn't how every where around the world they treat pregnancy differently. This is my first time being pregnant in Holland and it is different to being pregnant in Spain.
Friday 13 July 2012 at 04:25 am
by Olga Meckling
I arrived in the Netherlands in 2009, with a 6 week old baby, a MA thesis to write and a head full of worries. I had visited the Netherlands from time to time to see my then-boyfriend, and I knew that the Netherlands was unique where pregnancy, birth, and childcare are concerned. I was worried that the medical system was not good enough, and it was pretty confusing to me who would be performing the regular check-ups and vaccinations. Also, one of the reasons why I had given birth in Germany was that I was not sure if I trusted the Dutch system enough as it is very different from what I knew from Poland and Germany. I knew I would have to learn the language and get used to the fact that some things are just different here.