As you might now I’m Swedish and my fiance is French and we’re living in Barcelona. So I wanted to tell you all a little about my experience and thoughts so far. It’s of course a challenge to be living in a different country when this huge life-changing thing happens. Especially when you don’t know the language very well. And let me tell you, the beginning of this pregnancy was not easy for us. You can read more about the emotional process in this post The shock and struggles of the first weeks of pregnancy.
So when we found out I was pregnant we
1. Didn’t really have any experience with the Spanish health care system
2. Didn’t speak Spanish very well
3. Were living in an apartment that had mold in it, and the contract was until the end of July, around the due date.
So the first few weeks were very stressful, and even though we knew that it would be okay, it felt so stressful to get everything in order. We started with making an appointment with a midwife. We were registered in a specific place, in the area we lived, and we went. I was still in shock about being pregnant and I just needed to know what to do. However, the midwife did not speak a word of English, and didn’t slow down the Spanish for us to understand either. She was rude and just kept in talking, to Odi, not to me, and the panic grew. Eventually I couldn’t help it, I started crying, and what does she do? She turns to Odi and asks HIM if I even wanted the baby…
We also contacted the agency we were renting the apartment from, about needing to end the contract because of the mold. Since I’m also super allergic and was very very sick most days, so that was not a very good situation and at first it seemed like they were gonna fight us too.
But eventually everything turned out okay. We got recommended a doula and went for a meeting with the two women we got recommended. And let me tell you, I didn’t even know what doula was. They explained that they worked a lot with expat mums and they were a support system for us, they could also help with the language people if needed, and they would be with us all through this pregnancy and for the birth. After that meeting both me and Odi felt that we could breathe again. That we would have someone to turn to and someone to help us through this whole thing. We managed to get off the contract and we were super lucky to find an amazing apartment super fast. So in just a few weeks, we moved. When we moved we also got signed to another CAP (medical center), and got a different midwife. We went for the first appointment, and we got one that spoke English. And after that all the midwife visits and ultrasounds, we got people who spoke English.
We feel comfortable in the CAP that we’re in now, with the midwives we have had, with our doulas and we love love love our new apartment.
So here are my tips for having a baby in another country, more specifically in Barcelona, but maybe it can be helpful for people living in other places too. Also, I don’t have a baby yet, so this is more so for the pregnancy. I’ll write a similar one after actually having a baby here.
- You have a choice, you can change medical centers, hospitals and doctors. Make sure you’re comfortable. You have rights!
- Hire a doula, now this is of course personal, but if you feel uncomfortable or insecure it’s really nice to have support from someone who knows what they’re doing.
- Get all your papers in order. We were all over the place with the documents we needed and where we kept them, and as a organized person this one gave me so much comfort.
- Contact your consulate and ask all your questions. I sent an email and got a long respons with information about documents for registering a baby and what we need to do. Once again, feeling prepared usually gives some comfort.
- Join communities for mums on social media. Ask all the questions you have and start connecting with people who are or have been in your situation.
- Use the last point to also find groups and meet ups to join and attend.
- Relax. Everything is gonna be fine. For me, the problems seemed bigger than the turned out to be, and I stressed out a lot for no reason.
Have you had a child in another country?
What was your experience?
What are your own tips for others in the same situation?