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Thursday, 22 June 2017

Being An Expat Mum In Poland

Dearly beloved,

I don't get to share often tales of motherhood, but when I do my readers say that I do it from my heart and that I should do it more often. Living in a foreign country can provide many situations that are both fun and frustrating. Being An Expat Mum means that you don't always have the kind of support you would wish for. It means that part of your family might be miles away, and if you would have an urgent need for help you might not get a cover up. It also means you more likely will need a niania (nanny) and that you will spend most of your time with the small one - meaning you might have close to no free time for yourself. I know many stories of "broken" mum's due to the "workload". Don't get me wrong, everyone loves their children to the moon and back, but motherhood might not be fitting for everyone. Motherhood often means you have to leave you will, take leave of your sense and follow blindly on what your little bundle of joy needs (not wants! They will always want the moon in the sky... and... well... you can't deliver that, can't you?!).
Pregnant with the small one, at the Wawel Castle - Krakow
Being an expat mum brings you, from day one, in certain situations that you never thought you would be in. It's way easier if you speak the language of the country you are in, or at least understand the basics. Thank God, I live in a big city, in a university city, where people even though they say that they don't understand English they actually do and you can get to work around that somehow - including sign language... Thank God, the corporation I work for has private medical insurance/coverage for me - and doctors there speak English pretty good now (as opposed to almost 6 years ago when I first used the private care). But if you go to a regular Krakow hospital (or even a smaller city hospital) you might not be as lucky and they might not be able to understand you. Usually the private clinics (like Medicover, Enel Med or Lux Med) have doctors and nurses that speak English, so if you have that you are covered. If not... you might need to take a friend / your polish husband to help... and that might be awkward.
My big & little bundle of Joy - picture by Bellove
It's a regular thing, once you got pregnant, to schedule monthly meetings with your gynecologist, for check up purposes. You will also be doing monthly blood and urine tests and occasional USG tests. You will have to do once a glucose test - that was very yucky and unpleasant as I hate sweets... But who knows, you might enjoy it! In the last month you will probably need to do weekly checkups and a new test will be introduced in the system: checking your baby heart. This is one of the most unpleasant tests, in my humble opinion, as you have to lay still for approximately 45 minutes (Don't move!). You will probably feel like a terrorist... as you will have your belly strapped and you will have to hold a "trigger" that you will have to push each time you feel the baby moving/kicking. When you are pregnant in the last trimester, laying still on one side for 45 minutes can be quite a challenge!
Once you are in the third trimester you should be ready for the small one to pop out any minute. You should know your approximate due date according to the calculations and the USG checkups, but be advised the baby can come before or after that date (plus/minus 2 weeks!). If you are pass the +2 weeks mark and you were scheduled to have a natural birth, your doctor will change that and you will have to have a c-section. Delivering past the time would be harmful for both you and the baby, even if he is small. The doctors in Poland, in Krakow - the ones I have seen, are extremely focused on the physical well being of both the mother and the child. They will tell you what is the best decision to take, and I love that in Poland (as a difference from Romania) they are way more keen into helping women go fully natural in the children birth. It's been proved that the recovery both for the baby and the mom is much faster and easier. Plus, when you give birth naturally, you get to hold your baby as soon as it's out! And even though this was awkward for me... some mums might want to try cutting their own umbilical cord or use a mirror in order to see the baby coming out. That's not my cup of tea, but the option is available for the brave mums that wanna see the small one coming out.
In Poland there is a very smart thing that mums going full natural might want to have a look at. Poland has a set of papers called "Birth plan" - here you have a set of questions connected to giving birth, procedures, medication and after birth treatment. It's filled and signed by the patient and should be given to the nurse/doctor when reaching the hospital. Of course you should choose in advance the hospital you wish to give birth to. Of course you can choose the closest one but it might not be fitting for what you wish. For example we have a nice hospital just one tram stop away. I could have even walked there! But we choose a hospital that specialises in giving birth naturally, without any medicinal aid; a hospital where nurses/midwives know what they are doing. That was in the other part of the city... But depending on the stage of birth, the contractions you have, it's doable ;) Nurses and doctors must follow the north plan you give them until the moment when you agree on taking drugs that would help you - at that moment the papers = 0. Stay strong, you can make it! But listen to the doctor as well. They will explain you and ask for your consent when they are really needed. Don't be afraid to ask questions! Don't be shy! 
Daily walks in nature 🐞🌼🌱
Being an expat mother in Poland makes me feel much safer than if I would be a mother in my homeland, in Romania. I know many friends that had to wait in lines to the doctor, farmacy/drug store, supermarket... here in Poland it's common sense to let pregnant women to a seat it front. People here take care and understand the needs of a mother/mother to be. I could say they are more emphatic and they care more about time and how they spend it. Being in time at the doctor is always the case in Poland. In Romania, in Iasi, in the private care department even - each time I went to the pediatric check - we would have to wait at least 15-20 min and one time the max was over an hour. The only ones that really tried and managed to be on time most of the time... was Medicover! People in Poland don't barge into your life and touch your baby without asking for permission - I don't know... maybe the Romanian people love to do that because of the Latin blood flowing in our veins... but either way... even though I sometimes miss grately some parts of my motherland, I am extremely happy we (us and the little Ladybug Baby Girl) are safe and sound in Poland. With all this craziness going on in the world, I feel safe here. I feel my child is safe, and that's all that matters! 

Yours very very very sincerely,
The Twisted Red Ladybug That Loves Her Little Ladybug Baby Girl