On February 24th I left for Sweden together with my husband and two Siberian huskies. We fell in love with nature, the peace and the carefree way of life and decided to take the step after a number of holidays.
Emigration in itself is a big step and not for everyone. Leaving your friends and family in the Netherlands, knowing that spontaneous visits are a thing of the past and you are dependent on each other.
In a new country where you have just arrived, where you can not make yourself properly understood in the local supermarket and without a fixed income, many do not think about bringing a new life to this world. Being pregnant in Sweden, we were not aware of this either.
No contraception, but after all the stories that it might take a long time before you get pregnant, I thought: 'Well, it will not go that fast'. But nothing is less true.
Being pregnant in Sweden: everything and everyone seems so far away
I felt a little different for a week or two, moments of nausea and very tired were the main 'complaints'. I decided to go to the pharmacy in mid-May for a pregnancy test. How do you wait until the next morning? Right to the bathroom and yes, two clear lines: I am pregnant!
Calls to parents, friends and former colleagues followed with this unexpected news. News that I would rather have told personally, especially to my mother. Her first grandchild, my first pregnancy. Then the Netherlands and your immediate family suddenly feel very far away and at that moment and the time after I had a feeling of homesickness. What would it be nice to go to an ultrasound with my mother or to shop with my thickening belly for the best clothes. But because of the choice I made, it is not in it unfortunately.
The distances here in Sweden are huge
For my standard check with the midwife who now takes place again in the 3 weeks I have to travel a single distance of 18 km. That is not so bad because in this city I also go to Swedish lessons and do our shopping. However, for the echoes (at 13 and 19 weeks) we have to go to a larger city with a larger hospital. This is 1 hour and 15 minutes for us. You guessed it: this is also the place where I will have to give birth at the end of December.
Here you have no choice and every woman in this province gives birth in that hospital. Home deliveries are absolutely not here, so giving birth means going to the hospital.
But do you have contractions, but do you still have the actual delivery? Then you get a room in the adjacent patient hotel and you go to the delivery rooms when the birth actually starts.
Differences with giving birth in the Netherlands
Perhaps the biggest difference is that there is no maternity help here in Sweden. If everything goes well 3 to 6 hours after delivery, you can go home with your newborn miracle.
Help! This is my first child, how is that all about things like breastfeeding, enough rest, a household, two dogs?
It is customary here to go to information evenings with different themes such as: childbirth, maternity, breastfeeding etc. It is also asked if you have been to such evenings. You get a lot of information to read, booklets, folders, you name it. Because: for women who have prepared and read in well, childbirth is often easier.
Many women choose to stay for 1 or 2 nights after the delivery in the patient hotel. Medical staff and obstetricians are nearby if necessary and this gives a safe feeling. Also, after two days a heel prick will be done with your baby and in my case we would otherwise have to drive 2.5 hours from home to the hospital. So for logistical reasons it is often chosen to stay a few more nights.
Another big difference is the number of paid holidays: 240 days for both mother and father. According to the Swedes it is important that the father is also intensively involved in the maternity period and the care and upbringing of the child. The amount you receive per month depends on your salary.
But if you have no employment history in Sweden, like me, you will receive 750 euros per month per person. And since our rent here is very low and we do not pay a health insurance premium, this is a nice amount!
I am now 28 years old, almost 28 weeks pregnant and I am very satisfied with my midwife. Everything goes very well with me, but also with our daughter. The due date is December 28 and time flies!
Tessa writes: Being pregnant in Sweden. Follow Tessa and her pregnancy