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moving/ living abroad with a new baby

(9 Posts)
Bertolli Mon 12-Jan-04 17:30:47

Well, it looks like dh could have a great opportunity to work abroad- Asia or Australia to be specific. We have always wanted to do this, however i am now pregnant and due in April, so if we went, it would obviously have to be after that. My question is, are there any mamas out there who have done the same thing.. moved abroad with a new babe, and if so, how has it been?? And how soon can you do this sort of thing? (it's my first baby! I'm 29 and don't get stressed easily if that helps!)

expatkat Mon 12-Jan-04 18:43:01

I moved to the UK 5 yrs ago and immediately became pregnant. Not quite the same thing as moving with a child that has just been born, but the sense of unfamiliarity is probably similar. I knew nothing about pregnancy, babies OR London--so it was a bit of a crash course. But surmountable. I would recommend finding out as much as possible before moving: mother-baby groups, children's activities, healthcare, vaccinations--the works.

And in October I moved to an unfamiliar part of the US (without family near) with 2 little ones. And without DH. I organised as soon as I could, scouted out everything I needed to know early, and the transition was quite smooth. Doesn't hurt that I have very capable childcare while I work.

I would think your baby would be physically ready for a move within a few weeks after birth, after you've ascertained he/she's healthy etc. The question is more will YOU be physically and mentally ready. If it were me, I'd probably wait at least 8 weeks--but I may not be as unflappable as you.

suedonim Mon 12-Jan-04 19:12:17

Hi, Bertolli! I've just come back to the UK after living in Indonesia. I didn't have a baby out there but plenty of people do, to judge by all the little ones I saw! When you have a small baby it's pretty easy to move, really, as they are very portable and don't require much beyond food and sleep. In Indonesia you can buy everything you need for a baby, buggies, nappies etc and the most gorgeous baby clothes! Domestic staff are very cheap to hire - I loved having a cook and doing no housework! There are some Aussie mums on here - hope they'll pick up on your message and tell you about that aspect.

SueW Mon 12-Jan-04 22:03:28

I went to the US with an 8mo - potentially for two years but we came back after two months - DH stayed a month longer.

I'd really recommend finding the email lists or ex-pat websites that apply to the country you are going to and finding out as much as you can in advance. The one I belong to at the moment, as we were pending a move to Switzerland arranges coffee mornings, skating, tells you how to find a handy man/gym class/English speaking health professionals/childcare etc. as well as supplying transaltions and alternatives for favourite recipes.

When we were in Virginia, I joined a Gymboree class within a week or so and it was a great way of getting to know people with children of a similar age. One of the mums was very pro-active and arranged for us all to meet up outside the class too so I went along to their homes (and they came back to our hotel!) and we had outings to parks etc.

Good luck with the move.

LIZS Tue 13-Jan-04 12:14:50

I moved to Switzerland at 6 months pregnant with my 2nd. It has its plusses and minusses. Without family and established friends around it can be quite isolating and lonely. In our case there is also a language barrier which makes me feel as if I live a life in parallel to the local community much of the time so tend to mix with other Expats. There is also the guilt at depriving grandparents of regular contact etc, although being only 1000miles away means we get fairly regular visits. On the plus side you meet people beyond your normal circle and are exposed to diverse experiences and cultural differences.

As a new Mum you have to be prepared for finding things like vaccination schedules and recommended practices differing to UK and to join activities in order to get out and about.

If you are fairly relaxed about life then you could just go for it. Definitely do your homework beforehand, calculate things like cost of accommodation, education etc carefully and see what the company offers you to help out. Also would your dh be expected to travel much as this can contribute to feelings of homesickness and isolation. We actually agreed initially to come for one year, mainly for my sense of security, and have kept our house in UK, but have already been here for 2.5 years. tbh I'm not sure I would have been so keen if I had been a first time mum as that in itself can be hard going.

Good luck

kiwicath Tue 13-Jan-04 18:47:31

Hi Bertolli. Just had 3 week old Jake and living in the Sinai, Egypt. Not as hospitable as Asia or Australia though (you lucky thing). The girls are right. Prepare well, get on the net and search till your hearts content. It helps you get your head around the whole thing and puts you one step ahead before you even leave. Remember that babies have been born in Asia and Australia since the year dot and have managed quite well. I was over the moon with the care I got here although you have to be prepared for some give and take. Don't see the cultural and language differences (Australians talk funny ) as barriers but as challenges. You'ell be a much more tollerant person for it which will come in handy being a new mum . You sound like a tough nut yourself so I don't think you will have any trouble. You will probably gravitate towards other expat mums who are going through the same as you. I flew back to Sharm from Cairo with Jake when he was 2.5 days old. Was only a 50 minute flight but we all managed really well. Would wait for AT LEAST 3-4 weeks before tackling a long haul flight (check with Doc). Baby will manage fine (keep him hydrated) but you have to be ok in yourself before you go. I'm still very hormonal after 3 weeks !!!! Best of luck and keep us up to date.

sibble Tue 13-Jan-04 18:59:40

DS was 2.5 when we moevd to NZ. I agree that isolations from family, friends and associated guilt is the hardest issue, although if it is not a permanent move this may be easier. To help with the isolation i would really suggest finding out about local playgroups/coffee groups before you go or as soon as you arrive. be prepared to try a few, i tried at least 4 before I found a group of similar people who are now good friends.
Agree with Lizs that immunisation schedules may be different so it is worth checking before you leave. In NZ Hep B vaccination is part of routine immunisation and I 'had' to have DS vaccinated before he started nursery.
We were coming for 2 years to see if we liked it here, not sure if we will stay forever but we will be staying for longer than 2 years. We haev all benefited from the experience, especially DS who has been exposed to a completely different life.
Cannot advise on how soon to go except maybe to say don't make a decision until after you hve had the baby if you can leave it that long. I ended up having a caesarian and could not have moved immediately.
Good luck and let us know where you are going

morocco Wed 14-Jan-04 12:54:43

we live abroad with a small boy born here and another on the way. advice is really hard to give, especially if you're not sure where you'll be moving to (I imagine Australia might be verysimilar to UK for mother and baby groups etc so culture shock would be much less)but use as many contacts as pos before moving - try the consulates in the country for links to women's groups etc as they will be able to help you out with practical info - and don't rule out 'expat groups' until you've tried them - yes some are snotty but it is really helpful to be able to talk to people who go through the same culture shock as you, as well as mixing with the 'locals'
great experience for you and your family in any case

Bertolli Wed 14-Jan-04 13:15:51

Wow. Thanks so much for all the advice and info. The deal is that we have to wait and find out where the job is exactly and then we will make a decision.. Will keep you posted! If we do go for it, i don't know how we'll tell the grandparents-to-be (that would be, my in-laws) they'll won't be happy. Mother-in-law difficult to please at best of times. Uh-oh! Ah well, will play it by ear for now. Must say, i do fancy a warmer climate just now, so dreary and cold here in London..

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