Having a baby is one of life’s greatest experiences. It is a truly life changing but nerve-wracking time that throws up many questions. In your home country you may know the answers to some of them and family, friends or your doctor can help with the rest. But what happens if you are planning a family whilst on expat assignment?
Should we have a baby overseas?
The answer to this question is going to depend on your individual situation. Ultimately you and your partner must be able to accept and embrace the differences there may be between having a child in your home country when compared to your new home. These may include:
- differing cultural considerations
- financial implications
- lack of support network
- language barriers
How much will it cost to have our baby overseas?
What maternity services and waiting periods does our expat health insurance plan have?
What country will our baby be a citizen of?
What local maternity practices should we be aware of?
Maternity practice varies around the world. While you may receive the best possible care, it could be different to what may happen in your home country. Typical areas of difference include:
- how care is delivered during pregnancy
- home versus hospital birth
- pain relief during birth
- recovery time after birth
- common customs and practices around having a baby
It is worth researching all of these areas and any others that you may not be familiar with before committing to pregnancy and birth while overseas.
Are there other expats we can talk to about having a baby overseas?
Who will support us once the baby is born?
One of the benefits of having a baby in your home country is you are more likely to have family or close friends nearby to help in the early stages. This may not be the case in your expat destination. See what your options are when it comes to coping without family support. Does the spouse not carrying the child qualify for time off work? Do you have some friends you may be able to reach out to for help? For many of us, asking for help from people we don’t know well is difficult but sometimes it is required and you may be surprised by the kindness people show once they know their assistance is welcome.
Starting a family should be a magical, momentous event in your life. Having a baby overseas shouldn’t change that. With some planning and research welcoming your bundle of joy into the world will be a wonderful experience, no matter where you are living at the time.