new parent abroad

New parent abroad: tips for coping without family support

06 May 2020
If you know you will be moving away while expecting a child or if you are planning a child soon after arriving in your new home, it’s important to research what you can expect at such an important time in your life.
Research the maternity benefits for expats in your destination country. Get clarity from your employer as to which maternity system you will fall under as an expat, that of your home or destination country? Maternity benefits for expats vary significantly across the globe.
Once you know what the maternity benefits are in your expat home, you also need to ensure you will qualify for them. In some instances, you may need to be working for a year in your destination country, in others you may not qualify for them at all as a foreign national.
If local antenatal care is not accessible or suitable for your needs, you have options while working as an expat. International health insurance for expat families can provide cover for infertility treatment, pre and postnatal care, routine and complicated deliveries. You can also opt into support services like pregnancy yoga or breastfeeding consultants depending on the plan you choose. Knowing you have access to the best available maternity care in your destination country, will ease some of the anxiety about becoming a parent while you are away from family and friends.

Becoming a parent for the first time while you or your partner are also juggling a demanding expat role can be challenging. One of the most difficult aspects of expat life is not having the support of family and friends around you, particularly at this most pivotal time. 

No matter where you are in the world, there is likely to be some form of support for new parents that you can tap into. Some easy ways you can find support as expat parents include:

  • Join expat family groups: if you find yourself in a popular expat destination there are likely to be expat family groups you can join. Meeting other expat parents is a great way to allay your concerns or fears about becoming a parent overseas. Other families may be able to offer advice on having a baby in that particular country or the challenges they have faced parenting away from home.

  • Take a postnatal class: this is a great way to meet other new parents. Although most will be in the local language, there may be options in other languages if you are in a city popular with expats. 

  • Join a playgroup, baby massage or swimming lessons: meet other mothers locally by joining a baby-centred activity. 

  • Find parents on social media: search Facebook for ‘new parent’ groups in your area. If that doesn’t work out, see if there is a MeetUp group for expats or parents that might help you widen your local support network.

  • Arrange a visit: if friends or family can visit, try to arrange for them to come after you have had your baby. Make sure they understand the visit is to spend time together and meet your new arrival rather than see the sights in your new home! 

  • Expat assistance programme:  if you are finding becoming a parent while abroad particularly tough reach out and speak to someone as soon as possible. If your international health insurance has an expat assistance programme, you should be able to access professional help quickly and easily.


While it may not be the same as having your parents or good friends nearby, with some research you should be able to find some community support at this key stage of life.