Since being an Expat in Dubai and delving into the community of blogging that is mainly British, I have come across quite a few differences in the way that I think me and my son would have experienced life had he been born in England. Below Is my list of 12 things of “If my son was born in England…”:
1) My son’s delivery would have been done for free, instead of the thousands of dirhams I paid to the hospital! I probably would have had a Water birth and written a Birth Plan too. In the later months of pregnancy, I watched every single episode of “One Born Every Minute” and it taught me a lot about choices that British mums could make before, during and after the birth of their child. The one that intrigued me most were Water Births! Here, at the hospital that I delivered in Dubai, this wasn’t really an option. It was either Naturally, naturally through Induction or by C-Section. Here, they also don’t exactly ask you to write a Birth plan, which is something that I find is so important for the mums back in England. I suppose that’s because there aren’t as many choices and there is no NHS here in Dubai. (Oh how I miss the NHS!)
2) My son would have attended Soft Play and other play groups. Though Dubai has some very lovely nurseries, they all cost quite a bit of cash. It’s something I can’t really afford at the moment, and so play groups here largely consist of taking my baby boy to small play areas in the shopping malls. I would have loved to have benefited from the support that other mothers offer at play groups and get a chance to socialise, as well as see my son have a great time with other kids.
3) He would probably have spent a lot of time in parks or running around in the back garden. This is a city of skyscrapers, and we like many others live in a flat in a high rise building. The balcony is our back garden, and as you can imagine, it is simply not the same. Also, the times that I take my son to the park have to be timed so that the blazing sun isn’t scorching us with its rays and this is only possible during the winter months.
4) His wardrobe would have been full of coats, jackets, jumpers, hats and missing gloves. At the moment, he has short sleeved t shirts and shorts! It takes up much less space and I love it!
5) He would probably have experienced his first snow fall by now. Here in Dubai, Baby Z did in fact experience his first thunderstorm and sand storms instead!
6) He would probably have been spoilt by all my relatives back in England. Here, we don’t have many family members and although I do miss them a great deal, I am also grateful that there isn’t anyone interfering with Baby Z’s upbringing and spoiling him rotten.
7) His British passport would probably have arrived much quicker. The application process was long and delivery time took well over 3 months by time we got his passport. Thankfully, we weren’t travelling anywhere soon so it wasn’t a huge problem but I’m sure the wait would have been much less if we were in England.
8) His birth certificate wouldn’t have needed to be translated. Here of course the birth certificate is issued in Arabic, and any legal work required that certificate to be translated and attested. (for a fee, of course!)
9) I would probably have had a bunch of midwife visits after Baby Z’s delivery. Here, once I was discharged from the hospital the next day after giving birth, I pretty much had to do the rest myself. Of course, I could go back to the doctors at any time, but there were no home visits to give me professional advice.
10) I would probably have had a baby monitor and had to buy stair gates. Thanks to the flat I live in, there is only one huge floor plan for my home and no staircase to run up and down on. I am so happy about this because I know I would be living in the constant fear of my child tumbling down the stairs like I once did.
11) My family would have saved A LOT of money on parcel costs! Who knew posting gift items abroad would cost a fortune!!
12) I would most likely not be a Stay At Home Mummy… And perhaps never created this blog! With God’s grace, me and my husband can afford our current lifestyle without me having to work, but I don’t think that would have been possible in England. This means I might not have been steered towards the Blogging community in my need for a creative outlet and missed my chance of meeting you lovely lot!
So there you go! Looking back at this list, it makes me feel grateful for the life I had in England but also appreciative of all the new opportunities that my expat life has brought me.
What are you grateful for? If you are an expat, have you noticed any key differences like I have?