I love people with a 'can-do' attitude and my friend and fellow blogger 'Mumbai Mum' is one of them. Amy (to you and I) was recently brave enough to give birth in a foreign city, far far from 'home'. Thoughtfully, she then started documenting her experiences on her blog - so that other expat mothers would realise that they weren't alone. I have included this subject matter in my Mumbai Expat series as I feel that having an expat baby or bringing up a child in Mumbai could be a very daunting prospect for any foreigner. Please therefore read on if this applies to you!
Whilst my 4.5 month old baby daughter is napping comfortably in her cot, I would like to take the opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Amy and I pen the blog 'Mumbai Mum'. I moved to Mumbai with my then fiancé, now husband, back in Nov 2011. We had our first child Annabelle in April 2013, right here in Mumbai.
The decision to have our child here was not a difficult one. My husband is part Indian and we were keen to keep the Indian heritage alive. Finding out I was pregnant was still quite a shock though; they call it a 'honeymoon baby'! At the beginning, we were pretty clueless about what to do - but my husband checked the list of insurance approved hospitals and we started investigating our options.
Initially we used a hospital in Powai (north of Mumbai) which has an excellent maternity unit. In fact it also seems to be the international go-to hospital for surrogacy. We really liked our doctor there and found the amenities great; very modern and clean - unlike most places in India - and it was relatively efficient too. However, the treks from Bandra, where we live, to Powai (though only 17 kms away but seemingly hours in the car) were quite a bind.
You may not know that it is against the law to pre-determine the gender of one's child in India, so we were in the dark on that front right up until delivery. Actually, this was fine by us because even if we had been in the UK (where we are both from) we would still have chosen not to be informed of the baby's sex. We love surprises!
My pregnancy was fairly uncomplicated throughout with only a couple of up-and-down moments. Luckily I was very well supported by our expat midwife all the way (find details of JuskLink midwives here).
The end of the term was a little more complicated: towards the end of my pregnancy I was told that the baby was in breech position. I tried many a trick to turn her but she was stubborn (like her father) and remained that way right to the bitter end. This resulted in me undergoing a caesarean - which was much to my disappointment. When we got the news, we immediately started to discuss the imminent c-section with the doctor and the hospital, but found that all of our requests were against hospital policy (such as having my husband in the operating theatre and having skin-on-skin with the baby straight after the delivery). This was quite a hard pill to swallow and as a hormonal pregnant person I struggled to conceal my emotions. My husband therefore contacted our midwives, who, ever to our rescue, managed to arrange for us to meet with another doctor at Ambani hospital in Andheri. We only met our new doctor on the Thursday - and were booked in for the caesarean on the Saturday! Quite a rollercoaster!
The operation was in fact beautiful in its own way and we were delighted when the doctor announced we'd had a baby girl. (The only female grandchild on my side of the family out of seven grandchildren!)
Annabelle is now 4.5 months old and we are coping brilliantly, if I do say so myself. I thoroughly enjoy motherhood and raising a child in Mumbai. It can be challenging at times (the lack of clean outside space is what really gets to me) but there are pros to having a baby in India; house help, drivers, home deliveries and great friends!
My 'Mumbai Mum' blog is about the trials and tribulations of motherhood in general but also about Mumbai. It contains advice, recommendations, reading lists and stories about the good and the bad. Follow me at: www.maternalmumbai.wordpress.com.
If you are expecting your own child or have children already I also organise coffee mornings where you can meet other like-minded people and share your experiences (coming up: fitness sessions too!). You can keep up to date by joining my Facebook page here.