Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Having a baby in Germany
Introduction and Disclaimer

At age 35, I'm one of the last of my group of friends and family to have a baby. For the past few years, I've been storing information in my memory bank, listening to stories about triple screen tests, pain relief options, which pacifiers work best, and how to get a good deal on diapers. I've visited new babies nestled next to moms and dads in birthing suites in hospitals all over my American hometown. I've noted the names of obstetricians, midwives, and lactation consultants. I know the difference between Boppy and My Brest Friend.

And all that information became basically worthless to me when we moved from the USA to Germany last year. I knew that choosing to have a baby overseas would be a challenge; it would mean confronting the language barrier and the cultural differences from a whole new direction. Living in a new country means one surprise after another, from what arrives on the table at a restaurant to what's expected of me by my neighbors. But I was hoping to minimize a few surprises during this whole pregnancy/childbirth odyssey. I hoped that some other expatriate hausfrau might have written (in English) an account of her experience having a baby in Deutschland. But I've done a bunch of searching around bookstores and the internet and, so far, no dice. The English-language books and websites I've been devouring are helpful, but when they start referring to the best carseat brands, or how things work at the hospital, I have to read with the awareness that procedures and traditions in my current life could be very, very different than what happens in the typical American doctor's office or baby supply store. Or they could be the same - how am I to know?

So, to fill that void (someday, someone else is going to wonder about this stuff, I just know it), I plan to write a series of posts about my journey through pregnancy as an American woman in Germany. By series, I mean I may end up writing a couple of posts, or I may write eight or ten. It's probably obvious that I am not a medical professional, nor am I a cultural expert, so let this serve as a disclaimer that this will be my story, from my perspective, colored by my biased opinions and expectations.

If this stuff bores you, don't worry, I'll still post my regular pop culture commentaries and food photos and daily drivel. And I promise not to post any photos that might gross you out. Stay tuned for the first installment.


Anonymous said...

Hi Blythe,
This is Anne, I met you at an IWG function a few months ago. I know several people who have had babies here. Would you like me to send them your way? They live in Herzo. I have been reading your blog ever since you had an article on Expatica. I'm a fan!!!!

NorthwestLadybug said...

Ohhhhh -- please DO!! I think it's a fascinating topic -- likely BOOK WORTHY!! But then, I am a childbirth educator and doula with a keen interest in childbirth in other countries. Did you see the PBS show a few years ago about childbirth in various contries? It was absolutely fascinating... and yes, germany was one of the countries. I wish I could remember the name! Feel free to write to me at carolhsnider(at)gmail(dot)com and I'll see what additional info I can find for you.


christina said...

Hi Blythe,

I've lived here for 16 years now and had my babies in 1993 and 1996 so it's been a while and some things have changed but feel free to mail me (address on my blog sidebar) if you have any questions.

Nicole said...

Hi! You commented on my blog today, which sent me to yours. I had a baby in Prague and have a friend who had two babies in Munich. If you would like to talk with her, let me know.

Blythe said...

Thanks, all, for your helpful offers. I will get in touch if (when?!) I am feeling particularly at sea.

tim-berly said...

Thanks for taking the time to post about your experience. It's now 5/6 years later, but I'm in the same boat and have benefited from what you have written. So thanks! :)