I'm into developing further the motherhood topic today. Today I celebrate 3 months in Romania with my little LadyBug Baby Girl. It's the longest I have stayed since 5 and a half years ago when I left for Krakow, Poland. Staying over was usually for a week or two but I never had time for more. Now, with the little one, I could stay longer so she could meet the family and her my native language. I knew there was a cultural shock incoming but boy, did it test my nerves or what! But that's another story to tell ;) today I wanted to tell you a couple of differences in childbearing in Poland vs. Romania. One would think, considering their position and their similar background (Communism and all that...) that the mentalities and the way motherhood works would be similar. You could not be more wrong! A EU research shows that Bulgaria (25,7 years) and Romania (25,8 years) are in the first place of women giving birth at a young age, the average age being 29 years. Poland comes close with 26,7 years, along with Lithuania.
Another interesting fact in Romania is the "culture of abortions". Of course they were not permitted during communist times but there were certain doctors, nurses, midwifes who would risk their jobs and going to prison in order to "help" the ones in need. Of course not all were trustworthy and a huge number of women died or suffered diverse problems with the reproductive system. If you wish some light shed in the subject I suggest you to watch the movie "4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days" by Cristian Mungiu. Nowdays they are allowed and yet another research shows how Romania leads in Europe when it comes to the number of abortions - not proud to say this! It also holds one of the highest numbers when it comes to pregnancy related deaths. According to United Nations Population Fund, Romania had 3,2 abortions for every live birth in 1990! It's come down to around 2,2 but when you think that Russia has about 2, Czech Republic and Hungary had 0,6 and Germany 0,2 you start questioning things...
Now let's take Poland for a short run... everybody knows that the second biggest Polish city in the world, after Warsaw of course, is Chicago. It's also well known that a lot of Polish people work abroad and that many can be found in Great Britain. Well... it seems a little study has been made just about Polish women in Britain. It seems that once they reach British ground the Polish women have more children. The birth rate is 2/3 higher than in Poland! Now... hearing my friends in UK and friends in Poland, adding to that my very positive experience with giving birth, I would certainly choose Poland over UK!
But let's get back to childbearing in Poland vs Romania (or the other way around...). I remember my pregnancy period as a time of low energy and constant need for sleep. But other than that and the swollen feet... I must admit it was rather touching to see the positive vibes from random people on the street. People in Poland raise up and give you seating if there is none in the public transport. They ask if you are alright, if you need help with the grocery, they don't feel the need to touch you or the growing bump. They maintain your space to breathe. Here, in Romania, back home, I am saddened all this is nonsense... I took the public transport only once since I came here and I swore I won't be using it again. Here receiving odd/nasty comments is at the order of the day, the fact that you are pregnant is of no consequence! It makes me question the values and the upbringing of youth nowdays... I always stood up if an elderly or a pregnant women came in. I guess that's considered "old fashioned" now...
Add to that the public and private sector of medical care and only that can send me running away back to Poland! To take regular blood tests you need to schedule yourself on the 15th of February, let's say, so you could do the tests at the beginning of March! And for tests of course you need a paper from the doctor and that, my friend, takes ages to get :/ And guess what? When you're pregnant you need to do certain tests more often than once a month! And guess again! That type of paper can be given only once a month... yey to the joys of running around town to get everything you need... there will be queues everywhere, and even though that there are signs that pregnant women should come first, no one gives a damn :/ so... why bother?
Please, don't think I'm against motherhood or that I don't love my country. I have many friends that have birth in Romania and they are alive, kicking, with lovely babies. I, for one, can tell you I am glad someone up there loves me and that I could give birth in Poland and that I was there when pregnant. I wouldn't have it any other way! Truly!
Yours very very very sincerly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves Her Country But Loves Her LadyBug Baby Girl More!