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Pregnant Expatriate

Pregnant & Abroad

By Amalah

Hi Amy,

I could really use some advice from an unbiased third party.

My husband is Dutch, I am American, and we live in the Netherlands.

I’ve recently found out I’m pregnant, and we couldn’t be happier. It’s my first, but not his (he is just as happy though).

Well, I’ve been living here for three years, I have a healthy relationship with his parents, I have some contact with two out of his 15 cousins, and we occasionally see his brother…my point is that coming from a large tight knit family, the lack of family closeness is unfamiliar to me. Not to mention, I haven’t really made any real friends here….so yea, even before the hormones had anything to do with it, I felt pretty darned lonely here.

Which brings me to my situation: I want to have this baby back home in NY with the support and love from my family and friends.

I don’t want to exclude my Sweety and his family from being a part of pregnancy….but it’s not like they are around all the time either…not how my friends and family would be. This is my mom’s first grandchild and I know I’ll get the kind of attention and care that I want.

In a perfect world, (health permitting) I would want to travel back right before my third trimester and come back with the baby two weeks after labor, again, health permitting. I wouldn’t even be opposed to hubby coming to NY for the birth…I just don’t want to do it here so alone.

I haven’t brought this up to my hubby, for fear that he will think I am pushing him away and being selfish. Does that make sense? But I feel pretty strongly about it.

How can I approach the subject sensitively? Should I even approach the subject at all?

Any kind of advice would be highly appreciated.

First-time Mom Abroad

I admit I’m particularly interested in the feedback this question will get in the comments — historically these sorts of birth plan dilemmas rustle up some very strong emotions — but I’m also curious to see if we have any other expats who went through something similar and can share their stories.

These kinds of marital discussions are the hardest, I think: the kind where you’ve basically been simmering all alone in your thoughts and ideas for awhile and have already made up your mind, but you’re still hoping there’s a way you can make it SOUND like you’re open to compromise and further collaboration…even though you’re totally…uh, not.

That said, this is a discussion you need to have with him. Like today. Yesterday. You guys need to sit down and get this plan out there and hashed through from every possible angle if you really intend to do it. Who will be your OB in New York? What’s the contingency plan if you encounter complications after you fly home, or your baby needs to spend time in the NICU? What happens if he books a flight and the baby comes early, or you go past your due date and he needs to return? Would you feel pressured by a travel schedule to induce? Is making an international flight alone with a two-week-old newborn something you really feel comfortable with? (Note that I’m not suggesting that any of these questions is some insurmountable dealbreaker; they’re just the sort of logistical/practical discussions you AND your husband need to have TOGETHER.)

I really (really really really) do sympathize with and understand your desire to be with your mom and other friends/family for some of your pregnancy and the birth. I really do! But I can’t quite wrap my mind around basically shutting your husband out of it, or that you don’t seem to care about his presence or involvement all that much. (You mention you wouldn’t even be “opposed” to him flying to New York for the birth. Okay? That’s generous of you?) If you were talking about you and him both spiriting away to New York TOGETHER for the whole thing and were worried about potential hurt feelings from his extended family, I’d make fart noises with my mouth and tell you to not even worry about it. They’ll get plenty of time with the baby and missing the final trimester and birth experience is not something they are entitled to. But your husband merits a bit more consideration. He is, after all, also your “home” and “family.” If you’re feeling alone and unsupported by him, or doubt his ability to be there emotionally (or otherwise) for you during pregnancy and childbirth, that hints at a much deeper problem than birth plan logistics. But I don’t want to read into problems that might not actually exist, so let’s stick with the birth plan logistics and his possible reaction to this proposal.

You mention he has a child(ren?) already, so maybe you’re thinking that since he already got to see a birth, he won’t care about missing this one? If you’ve seen one of your children being born, you’ve seen ’em all, no big deal? I don’t know your husband, obviously, but I’m trying to picture me telling my husband that yeah, I’ve worked out my birth plan for our second (or third) born child and sorry, it just doesn’t really involve you. His presence at each and every one of my deliveries and the immediate days afterwards was a huge, huge thing for us as a couple and as a growing family. That is just my experience, of course, and I am by no means any kind of One True Example Of How Everyone Must Think. Women give birth while away from their partners every day — military deployments, babies coming early while Dad is on a business trip, babies deciding to come RIGHT THIS MINUTE while Dad is stuck in traffic on the way to the hospital. It’s obviously not the end of the world or harbinger of fatherly bonding doom.

But you’ve gotta get a read on how he feels about this, about potentially missing the birth AND the first two weeks of his baby’s life, and I think you have to give his feelings some weight. Even if they mess with the plan you mapped out ahead of time. Maybe he really, really wants to be the one to cut the cord. Maybe he can’t deal with the possibility of you having a c-section while he’s not there. Maybe he’ll resent the implication that he’s unable to give you the “attention and care” that you want during the final weeks of pregnancy. Maybe he’ll suggest a compromise, like having your mom come for an extended visit that would overlap the final weeks of pregnancy, the birth and some time with her first grandchild. Or hell, maybe he secretly longs for the good ol’ days where fathers stayed out in the waiting room during the gory bits and will be totally relieved that you’re giving him a pass. Maybe he’ll just plain understand your desire to be with your whole family and be completely on board with this plan, even though it (best case) significantly ups the odds that he won’t be there for the birth. I don’t know. We’re all missing the same crucial bit of information here: How he feels about this. 

I don’t have a good script to give you that perfectly states your position in such a moving, eloquent way that any husband who hears it will break down in tears and shove plane tickets in your hand because GO, YOU MUST GO, I COMPLETELY UNDERSTAND AND WOULD NEVER STAND IN YOUR WAY. *throws roses at stage* I would suggest sort of…floating the idea out there first, in a vague unformed way, instead of basically revealing that you’ve made up your mind and have the whole thing planned out, but hey, you’re not “opposed” to him flying in for the birth, if he wants, whatevs. (In other words: Don’t phrase that part that way, like his presence is just some afterthought or inconvenience.) Say you’ve been looking at the calendar and trying to figure out how to share both the pregnancy and the baby with your family at home, and wonder what he thinks about you going to NY for a third trimester baby shower and staying there for the birth, so you can be with your mom and friends since that’s just how your family does things and yada yada.

Consider any and all compromises he offers. Consider the possibility that the trimester-long parade of pregnancy-fueled love and attention you’re picturing back at home might be a tad idealized, as your friends’ and family’s lives will go on and they won’t necessarily be around all the time either. (Or that you and your mom might start wearing on each other’s nerves after a week or two, because omg there’s something about pregnancy and birth and mothers and daughters that just complicates it all). Consider looking around for some prenatal fitness classes (yoga, swimming, etc.) that you could join, thus potentially making some friends and giving your “I’m so lonely and alone” mindset that nice mental boost that comes from being active.

Good luck with it all, by the way. I really do hope you get the birth you want with no drama or hurt feelings. I imagine your husband does understand the sacrifices/culture shock/adjustment issues that come from living overseas and should be willing to have a reasoned discussion with you about this. As long as the discussion goes both ways and steers clear of ultimatums/”I DON’T CARE I’M DOING WHAT I WANT”s, I think you should be able to work something out.

Amalah
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch

Amalah

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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Me
Guest
Me

Another thing to think about…have you thought about or looked into the financial cost of giving birth in the US vs the Netherlands?  Do you have health insurance in the US?  I haven’t done the research myself and do not know your situation, but as a resident of the Netherlands you might have access to MUCH more affordable care than you would in the US.  Something to think about.  

Also, Amalah is right on target with having this be a decision for both you and your husband!

Hanne
Guest
Hanne

I live in the netherlands. Coming from belgium. Not that far away but miles apart in culture.

I gave birth here. In a completely different system than I was used to. I understand your doubts.

I can’t offer you advice, as i have no idea what i would do in your situation, but I can offer you someone to get to know. Someone who has done it.
Amy, you can pass my mail address along…

Good luck!

sydney
Guest
sydney

It sounds like you’re in a between a rock and a hard place.  There are a few things you might want to consider.  Flying with a baby isn’t fun.  Flying with a two-week-old baby across the Atlantic, potentially alone, when you haven’t fully recovered yet will be exhausting.  Also, it’s really nice to have your husband with you for labor.

Have you considered inviting your mother to visit you around the time you have the baby?  That might be a lot less stressful for you and I can’t see your hubby having a problem with it either. 

Myriam
Guest
Myriam

Well …… hum….. Ok, let’s tackle to practical first. I agree with Amy that you might idealize your family’s practical involvement and support during your pregnancy, and the perceived lack of involvement from your in-laws. What do you want exactly : someone to go with you to doctor’s exams, someone to marvel at your growing tummy, someone planning an “american” baby-shower ? Examining your precise motivations and desires might help you consider them in a more realistic manner, and express them more rationally. Did you consider having your mom coming to visit you, rather than the other way around? That… Read more »

SKM
Guest
SKM

Right on … that was my thought – have your mom come over if it’s feasible.

sassygill
Guest
sassygill

I was thinking exactly what Amy said! Definitely find out what hubby is feeling and joining a group to make friends is great advice.

LMo
Guest
LMo

I have to say that I agree that your husband seems like an afterthought in this process. Are you feeling like an afterthought to him, and one good turn deserves another? I may also be coming from the perspective of my relationship with my husband here, so maybe I’m wrong. Either way, I think that fulfilling both of your needs in this process should be the top priority–sharing with family members who want to be involved should be a distant second to your husband’s needs. One other thought–I frequently wish for a break from my husband, and am shocked by… Read more »

Chris
Guest
Chris

I can only second the comment above. The health care system in the Netherlands is very good from what I was told. Would your insurance (assuming you have Dutch healthcare) cover the costs of giving birth in the US at all? In particular if you go intentionally? My insurance (European but not Dutch) would explicitly forbid this.

Another thing to consider: the Dutch have a good midwifery system, so you could probably have the continuity of a professional midwife accompanying you during pregnancy, birth and  after the birth with the baby. From my own experience:this can be very reassuring.

SarahB
Guest
SarahB

It would seem far simpler to have your mom come to you. I don’t think you fully understand how incapacitated you will be during that last month and those first few weeks after the birth…you don’t want to do that alone, and, frankly, the only person in the world who fully bears the responsibility of caring for that baby with you is your husband.   For three weeks after my emergency c-section, I nursed and rested, and DH did about everything else.  We had my parents in for a week, and they were great, but they helped with cleaning and… Read more »

Mona
Guest
Mona

Many already addressed most things that came to my mind very well (husband left out, insurance issues, . I was in a similar situation to you, just the continents being switched, and that only my husband and me live in the US, and both of our families are in Europe. Add to that moving from Boston to suburban CT in the third trimester. I gave birth in the US, my husband stayed home for two weeks after, and my family came and visited when our child was 6 weeks old. We were so busy in between bonding just as a… Read more »

Tracey
Guest
Tracey

I’d also suggest taking steps to build on your support group in the Netherlands, because you are going to need it! I’m an ex-pat New Zealander living in the USA, with no family members living close by, and believe me, what saved my sanity when my first daughter was a baby, was our neighbourhood playgroup! I’ve had all three of my children over here, and I’ll ever be grateful for the support of my friends here. Congratulations by the way, and all the best!

Dawn
Guest
Dawn

Yes, you have your family in NY, but you should find out more about the postpartum assistance available in the Netherlands. Read the postpartum section here:

http://www.expatica.com/nl/family/kids/Maternity-matters-_-What-to-expect-in-the-Netherlands.html

Being able to spend the first few days of your child’s life at home AND have someone come to you to assist in breastfeeding and baby care is huge and not necessarily something your family can do.

Stephanie
Guest
Stephanie

My first thought (being a health policy analyst) is that your Dutch health insurance might not pay for a birth in the U.S., or it might cap the costs at what a birth in the Netherlands would cost. You might be on the hook for thousands of dollars. Also, if you have a c-section, you might not be able to travel for at least a month. I was in severe pain two weeks postpartum – there was no way I could have flown on a plane – by myself – with a newborn. I could barely walk 2 weeks pp.… Read more »

Erin
Guest
Erin

For logistical reasons, I moved to Hawaii with a 9 day old baby and I cannot UN-recommend that enough. I know it seems like you could go over, be fawned over (which I wanted too!) and then return two weeks after the birth but the stress and strain of travel, not being in your own place, etc., combined with the hormones is a huge punch. It catapulted me into PPD. I concur with everyone suggesting your mom visit you and also suggest finding some pregnancy yoga classes or something as a way to help find friends- being pregnant tiger can… Read more »

Kat
Guest
Kat

I agree with several folks – that “I wouldn’t be opposed” part sticks out to me quite a bit. And also this sense of being so alone. I understand that living in a new place can be tough, but you have been there for three years. Perhaps this is the perfect chance for you to step out of your comfort zone and make some friends? Being pregnant honestly made it a lot easier for me to make friends in an unfamiliar neighborhood (not the same, I know, BUT to have something pretty big and important in common with everyone in… Read more »

B
Guest
B

What is your long-term plan for where to live? Will you ever be going back to the US? Because that strikes me as the much bigger issue than where to have the baby: where to raise him or her. It sounds like you aren’t very happy living abroad (I don’t think I would be either), and maybe you should be talking to your husband about both of you moving to the US.

Jeannie
Guest
Jeannie

I have to agree with the other commenters — I’m not sure this is a good idea. Continuity of care is really, really great to have — and that’s not taking into account the insurance costs that you might face moving from one place to another. I understand that at this very important time you want things how you want them — I have moved countries before, and even small differences can be hard to cope with. But my husband’s presence at the births of our kids, as well as the closeness we had in the days and weeks afterwards… Read more »

Jane
Guest
Jane

Just adding in an “I agree” on the previous comments. If mom can’t fly over to you, she’s probably too busy to be around as much as you’ve built up. And while having this baby will be amazing and beautiful and meaningful for you, and your friends and family love you very much… they are not having this baby. They may not even like babies very much. While they might be able to get together as often is reasonable for busy working people with their own lives, it could, depending on your situation, be unreasonable to expect them to be… Read more »

Nicole
Guest
Nicole

I am American and my husband is French – and we have had two children in France. I can completely understand the anxiety from having no close family nearby, and also doing something so important as having a baby in a culture that is not natively familiar to you and without your natural support system.  Although I found working through the French system was foreign, the medical care was excellent (and I believe you would also have good care in the Netherlands).  In the end, that is what you need to prioritize, too.  Traveling internationally with a 2-week (or even… Read more »

Brigid Keely
Guest

I don’t have personal experience with this, but my SIL (lives in the USA, both parents emigrated here from Europe) married a man from Europe. All of his family is over seas, AND his dad has cancer. When they traveled to visit his family and ensure his dad got to meet his first grandchild, they did so when the baby was 2 months old. At 2 weeks post partum, my SIL, who had an uneventful vaginal birth, was absolutely not up to a many hour trans-atlantic flight and further, had problems getting their son’s passport in time. And again, this… Read more »

Hi, I'm Natalie.
Guest

Yeah… I think it would be Very Bad to travel to give birth and even worse to travel with a newborn. (Not to mention the fact that you could alienate your husband – like Amy said, the inlaws would get over it, but I would be extremely hesitant about not considering his feelings.) For my first (uneventful, healthy delivery), I was NOT READY to travel with my baby until she was about two months old and that was just a car trip to the mountains – I didn’t even breastfeed in public for about 4 weeks, so I can’t imagine… Read more »

Hi, I'm Natalie.
Guest

ETA: I lived overseas for two years (I’m Canadian, lived in New Zealand for two years) so I understand the isolation. But it can be amazing to learn to rely on a spouse – that’s what they’re there for.

Jenelle
Guest
Jenelle

I am a pediatrician specializing in newborns. I take care of a lot of moms who came to the US to have their babies and plan to return home within a couple of weeks. From a purely practical point of view, this is next to impossible. You need a birth certificate and social security card to obtain a passport. You may also need a visa for the baby (not sure if this is the case with the Netherlands). The likelihood of having all of those things in 2 weeks is pretty much zero. Not to mention, most pediatricians recommend waiting… Read more »

Ana
Guest
Ana

I kept scrolling, hoping to see a comment that addressed this. Thank you!! I gave birth to my son in 2011 in the States. When he was 2 months old, my husband moved to Europe for work. We joined him a month later (our son was just over 3 months old), AFTER all the paperwork and immunizations were in order. There was absolutely no chance we could have legally traveled 2 weeks after the birth, even if I was physically up to it (which I was NOT, I assure you). I am now pregnant again and will be giving birth… Read more »

Alli
Guest
Alli

My husband and I had lived in Asia about three years when my daughter was born with no family from either side. I understand the potential for problems and the fears about giving birth that wouldn’t be an issue at home–I had this irrational fear about people speaking other languages while I was in labor. It wasn’t irrational to consider that it might happen, but I was sort of unreasonably afraid of it.  Lots of people asked if I was coming home to the US to have the baby and looking back I can’t imagine if I’d done that. It… Read more »

Autumn
Guest
Autumn

Have you been screened for pre-partum depression?  It’s not as common as post partum, but still more common than people think.  And based on how you described things, I’m wondering if you were depressed prior to conception, and now Hello Hormones! to exacerbate things.  The Netherlands is supposed to have one of the best support systems for families during the whole pregnancy/childbirth/post partum time.  From a financial aspect alone, I would stay in Europe.  My relatively straight foreword natural birth still would have cost us over $15K if we had to pay cash.  That doesn’t include the $10K for 37… Read more »

Brooke
Guest
Brooke

Yes, please check in with your care provider regarding depression during pregnancy. I didn’t know that it was something that could be an issue and mine went undetected. I very much relate to your description of feeling so alone. 

Amanda
Guest

I moved to another state just before finding out I was pregnant. My husband’s family is here but not my own, and I didn’t have any friends. Throughout my pregnancy I dreamed of going home to have my baby, surrounded by people I knew and loved and who would be interested and supportive and would bring us meals after the birth. But for all the reasons people talked about above (another state isn’t another country, but insurance and many travel concerns apply just the same) that couldn’t happen. In the end my mother came to stay with us for the… Read more »

Jennifer
Guest
Jennifer

What I don’t understand is why you would want to give birth in a country where you won’t have health insurance & where the costs of childbirth are INSANELY overblown & where the maternal/child complication/death rate is one of the highest for a first world country…instead of staying in the Netherlands, which is internationally recognized as one of the best places to give birth financially and physically.

Meera
Guest
Meera

Hi. I’ve had two babies, both with straightforward pregnancies and deliveries. There is no way I’d fly two weeks after. Even with my second, when I bounced back way faster, I was still tired out by going along for a coffee run. And that was when I was pretty confident breastfeeding and managing baby behavior and weirdness and knew what to expect in terms of sleep deprivation. My first was much more of a shock and stress about all those things because I didn’t have any experience. I echo all the comments above – get your support crew to come… Read more »

Kelly
Guest
Kelly

I live in Thailand. I understand the isolation as well. I had many emotional skype calls with my mom leading up to the birth of my son. Ideally, I wanted to give birth at a birthing center in the U.S., but the costs disparity was so huge, that I could only afford to give birth here  The quality of care was great and an intervention-free birth cost us $1500, including a 2 night hospital stay. That is before my insurance picked up 80% of the tab.  In retrospect, my vagina would have been very angry if I had to travel… Read more »

pange
Guest
pange

i had my first baby in finland (where my husband is from) and i’m expecting to give birth to #2 in a few weeks. here’s my 2 cents: 1. join an expat group as soon as you can and start making friends (which you should do anyway, regardless of babies), and look into a play group — this was invaluable! 2. a lot of other people pointed this out — but seriously, think hard about going to a place where birth is significantly *more* risky for both mother and baby and much more expensive, and you’re away from the father… Read more »

Isabel Kallman
Admin

I just want to pop in for a sec and say THANK YOU for all the thoughtful personal stories and advice that you all are sharing with our OP.

You are really wonderful and generous.

 

Daisy
Guest
Daisy

I just had my first baby and I keep thinking back to the final weeks of pregnancy, the labor, and the weeks after…and I imagine doing it without my husband and I want to cry. We took a 3 hour drive when our daughter was 6 weeks old and it was a HUGE undertaking. Obviously people do these things because they HAVE to (for many reasons mentioned above) but most of them would have never signed up for it.The thought of your husband potentially missing the birth of your child because you’d rather be with your Mom/extended family just makes… Read more »

J.A. from Amsterdam
Guest
J.A. from Amsterdam

Hi, since I live in the NL I couldnt NOT comment. 1.  The birthing system in the NL is really lovely, with midwives, at-home care, and a huge range of options in terms of where you give birth, when, how, and who can be there with you.   All at pretty much no cost.  Highly recommend!   2.  It sounds like you really need a support network!   We are all on a facebook group called “Amsterdam Mamas”… search for us on facebook and request admission to the group.  Not all the mama live in Amsterdam proper (not sure where… Read more »

Kim
Guest
Kim

I’m going to pop in and say that I wonder how far along the OP actually is.  She says she just recently found out – and that first trimester can really mess with your head. Morning sickness and fatigue and ohmigodwhathaveIdone can lead to some serious Iwantmymommy! Particularly if it’s her first. So I kinda want to say, relax a little.  You’ve got lots of time, you don’t have to solve the problem all at once.  Do talk to your husband and let him know what your feeling.  As the pregnancy progresses, the urgency that you feel right now might… Read more »

C
Guest
C

My husband and I are ex-pats living in the US (we’re Canadian, so not such a dramatic cultural difference), and we did not have family around either. For us, it wasn’t an issue because we wanted (and had) a birth that involved just the two of us and time to ourselves after to get acquainted with our baby. However, we did travel home (6 hour flight…about the same flight time from NY to Europe) when our daughter was 3.5 weeks old and it was fine. I felt fine, and traveling with an infant is cake (compared to older babies or… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

Just an fyi for anyone reading who is a con law nerd like me, you don’t have to be born in the US to be president. The “natural born citizen” provision is most often interpreted to include a person born anywhere in the world so long as one of the parents is a US citizen at the time.

Sarah C.
Guest
Sarah C.

I’m also an American expat in The Netherlands living with a Dutch husband. I’m not pregnant and have no children (and due to infertility issues, we never will have any) but every single other point in your question was something I’ve dealt with. It’s HARD to make friends here – Dutch culture is much less open than American and it’s hard to make friends and build a support group of your own, without relying on your husband and his family for every single interaction. I’d really really suggest an expat group (and should take my own advice, as we moved… Read more »

Amelia
Guest

I think one of the most difficult aspects for me about my first pregnancy is that I would FOCUS on something and it became the be-all/end-all of issues.  Some women do this with “natural” childbirth.  Others with breastfeeding.  I did it with weight gain and whoa!  I gained 50 lbs.  So not my plan.  My point is, try not to focus too much on this “ideal” situation of yours.  You will not be able to fly at 2 weeks post-delivery.  Birth is a bloody, gruesome process (also beautiful!) and you will be tired, sore, potentially stitched back together in a… Read more »

Olivia
Guest
Olivia

I think all the comments above are thoughtful and right on. No way you can travel alone with a 2 week old! I am an American living in London and had my son here. here in England they have pre-natal birth classes run by a charity that pairs you with others with a due date in the same month and who live in the same area as you. This was an absolute life saver for me for the first few shocking months of life with a newborn. I don’t know what I would have done without these other first time… Read more »

Louise
Guest
Louise

I am currently 39 weeks pregnant with my first baby (please make this end soon!) and I’m having my baby in the US. However, both mine and my husbands family are all in Ireland. We moved to the US just a few years ago. So yes, I understand your concerns regarding being so far away from family and friends. However, part of me is also excited that it is just the two of us. That we get the chance to figure out being parents together without other people, even people who love use dearly. My parents would probably strongly disagree… Read more »

Helen
Guest
Helen

I can’t speak for the Netherlands, but I’m also an expat mom, and I can say that pregnancy and childbirth is actually a wonderful gateway making friends in a foreign culture. There are lots of groups out there (birthing groups, playgroups) filled with women with whom you immediately have something in common! Ok, so most of them won’t become lifelong bosom buddies, but they will provide support and company as you go through this. You are naturally feeling lonely and vulnerable right now, and it sounds like you still feel like an outsider in the community in which you are… Read more »

Kelli Oliver George
Guest

My husband is from India and I have loads of friends who have also married Indians and Pakistanis.  We are all over the board with this — some ladies living in India/Pakistan chose to go back to their home countries for the births of their children (despite having access to perfectly good health services there) and some chose to have their babies there.  (Sidenote: In Indian culture, it is perfectly normal for new mamas to go home to their families to have their babies. ) I say, talk it over your husband and decide what really, truly works for the… Read more »

z
Guest
z

I agree that traveling with a newborn sounds really, really stressful and unpleasant.  Seriously, even with a great delivery, at two weeks it still hurt to just walk around the house, and I was in no condition to sit on my aching bum for an entire international flight.  Also, think of what would happen if you weren’t able to travel for a while for health reasons.  If you have a complex delivery or need the NICU, your husband might miss not just the delivery but the whole first month or more.  Would that be ok with him?  How would he… Read more »

BeeBelle
Guest
BeeBelle

I am one of the people who was in a different state rather than country when I had my first. I was also cranky because when I got pregnant, the plan was for my husband to get a job “back home” by family before I delivered, and it never happened. Here’s my encouraging message if you choose to stay – having a baby is the absolutely best way I’ve found to find, make, and keep friends who have been the best part of my adult life. So, that big awful issue you have of no friends where you live –… Read more »

Julia
Guest
Julia

as a mother who has given birth in a foreign country (Belgium, I’m German), what I take away from your message is not so much where you want to give birth but that you are lonely and homesick, but of course, I might be wrong. The single most important thing for you to do is: built your own network! even if you end up giving birth in the US, you need to get to know people where you live. And not only your husbands family, or your colleagues. And here are the good news: I found the majority of my… Read more »

j
Guest
j

Ok… Maybe I’m being horrible, but as ambivalent as the OP is about her husband I wondered if she planned on going back to NL after the birth! Maybe I’m crazy, but I have seen it happen.
If not, I think all of the advice given has been right on, but OP needs to have a serious talk with her hubby asap.

Carey
Guest
Carey

I have to echo many of the other commenters that I cannot imagine going through the birth of my son without my husband.  It would have been very, very lonely without him.  Also, if there are things you need to work out with your husband, it would be a good idea to do it now.  Having children is an awesome experience that can provide opportunities to bond and also strain your marriage at the same time.  One thing to consider, though, is the philosophy on epidurals in the Netherlands.  A friend of mine was pregnant in the Netherlands and had… Read more »

Navan
Guest
Navan

Oh my. I can definitely relate to the whole “I want my Mommy” thing. I’m 30 weeks and I live on the other side of the country from my parents and friends because of my husband’s work. It’d actually be cheaper for my Mom to make an international flight than to fly here- and the distance is just about as far. But at no point did it occur to me that we ought to go THERE for the birth. Logistically it’s a nightmare- and I’m staying in the country. Have you considered health insurance? The fact that the cost of… Read more »

Alison
Guest
Alison

I can certainly relate to the OP. I had my first baby at home (the US) near lots of family. For my second baby, we moved to a remote area of Canada near the end of the first trimester, and I’m currently 8 months pregnant. While Canada is not terribly different from the US culturally, the healthcare system is quite a change – particularly in our area where there is a serious doctor shortage and care can be hard to come by or require a couple hours travel. I don’t even get to meet my ob-gyn here until 34 weeks… Read more »

Diana
Guest
Diana

I gave birth to my son here in the US, while my family and friends were all in Germany – I was lucky enough to have worked with very nice people for a few months and to have a great neighborhood, so I had a tiny network, but not what I had at home. I had moments of loneliness, many actually, but I forced myself on people (its a gift I have). From my own experience: I was almost relieved to have the whole family far away – we had time to concentrate on us three being a new family,… Read more »

Anna
Guest
Anna

I had this decision to make two year ago. I’m Canadian but live in Tokyo. Husband is Japanese. I decided to give birth in Tokyo instead of flying home. I can’t speak to your personal decision, but I’ll make two points that influenced mine. First, the logistics of flights and passports mean you’ll have to stay at least two months in the US. You usually can’t fly if you’re within one month of your due date, so you’d have to fly to the US at eight months. It can also be the case that airlines won’t take infants of less… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

My husband and I are Australian. We live in Sweden. My Mum came to stay with us prior to the birth and then for three months afterwards. We get on exceptionally well and it was a great help as we had a difficult time, both with our daughter’s birth and also postpartum. I could barely function for 2 months after she arrived. I can understand wanting the familiar around you, but I think that getting your Mum to the Netherlands is going to be way more feasible than flying in your third trimester and with a newborn. You may have… Read more »

Sab
Guest
Sab

I lived in Amsterdam for two years – get in touch with the American Woman’s Club. They have groups in most of the big cities in theNetherlands and are a great resource for support, friends & local resources. The Amsterdam group has a class you can attend to learn about giving birth in the Netherlands – it’s very detailed, covers the Dutch system from an American/British perspective & is a great way to connect with other expat moms to be. Three of my friends I met whe living in Amsterdam had their first children there, had great experiences with the… Read more »