You’re living in a foreign country, you don’t speak the language, and you’re faced with new cultural customs and traditions that make your head spin. Your period is late, and you realize, “Oh my goodness. I’m totally knocked up abroad!”
Don’t fret, my pet, for this is great news! You’re officially part of the most badass club of women to ever exist and I’ll tell you why. Here are the top 10 reasons why it’s awesome being knocked up abroad:
1. Living in a language bubble is super relaxing
So many things get lost (easily ignored) when you don’t speak the local language. Is someone asking when you are due? You don’t know. And frankly, you don’t care. Being pregnant in the language bubble is blissful — nothing but you and your thoughts in your head all day long.
2. You’re a rebel almost every day
In Turkey, it is superstitious not to allow a pregnant woman’s feet to get cold, lest her womb also gets cold, and wearing socks or slippers, even in the hot Turkish heat is required. As a foreigner, you can rebel against local customs and wear those flip-flops all day long. You aren’t bound by any local superstitions and can throw caution to the wind. Live life on the edge!
3. Break all of the hospital’s rules
In Benin, West Africa, men aren’t allowed in the delivery room but as a foreigner, the nurses don’t know how to react when you demand that your husband stays by your side. Hey, if you’re birthing in Benin, you need all of the back-up you can get. Breaking the rules is a huge perk of being an expat mom.
4. Your personal doula/translator will make all of your wishes come true
Expat moms in China often ask a friend or hire a doula to be their translator in the delivery room. Feel free to yell, grunt, and grown in your own language and let your doula do the heavy lifting for you to make sure your birthing wishes are known to the nurses and doctors.
5. You get extra help in the Netherlands
Women in the Netherlands bring their baby home from the hospital (or they’ve never left their home as 30% of them have home births) and within a few hours, a krammzorg arrives to help the mother with household chores and duties so she can focus on the baby and rest. Expat moms may qualify for extra hours with this ridiculously awesome in-home help depending on how many kids are already at home or if your birthing experience didn’t go quite so well.
6. No matter what baby name you choose, it’ll sound exotic to someone
If you pick a baby name that is popular in your foreign country, it’ll sound super exotic to your friends and family back home. If you pick a more traditional name from your passport country, the locals will be scratching their heads at the pronunciation.
7. Pregnant women are treated with the utmost care in many countries
If you’re pregnant in the United Arab Emirates, you are expected to take things easy — no strain or stress for you have earned the status of a delicate flower. Strangers will go out of their way to help you without being asked. In Guatemala, there are always extra hands to help hold a baby, stir the pot on the stove, or change a diaper with their extended network of family.
8. No judgments about your weight gain
If you’re pregnant in the Netherlands, Scandinavia, or South Africa, nobody will give a hoot if you gain a lot of weight while you’re pregnant. While countries like China and Japan are a bit more judgy about gaining weight, you get a free pass as a “fat foreigner.” Either way, who cares? Eat another bowl of ice cream, you’ve earned it.
9. You can keep your pregnancy a secret from almost everyone
Since you live far away from your friends and family, you can hide any pictures on Facebook or Instagram that might show your belly. Nobody will ask when you’re due, bother you for updates and you can relax. Surprise everyone with a birth announcement when it’s time.
10. You are part of our amazing club
Let’s be honest, giving birth in any country isn’t easy and when you do with the extra challenges of language, different medical practices, and customs, it can feel really daunting. However, as soon as you learn more about the local birthing culture, you realize that all of your preconceived notions about pregnancy and childbirth are completely different when you live abroad. There is no “right” way to give birth or parent.
You discover that we all want healthy and happy pregnancies that result in healthy and happy babies. The paths we take to get to that end result will all be different, but none of that truly matters. Rest easy knowing that women are having healthy babies everywhere and some of them are wearing flip-flops and not being pestered about their weight gain. What a great time to be knocked up abroad!
Twenty-five women are knocked up abroad again!