British Mum in Dubai? You’ll be nodding along in agreement to this list…
You could fill a whole photo album with your ultrasound photos
Back in the UK, the scans are generally only at 12 weeks and 20 weeks – and then there’s a long wait until you get to meet that little person. In Dubai, however, we are spoilt by ultrasounds offered at nearly every appointment. In fact, visit any British Mum in Dubai who has birthed her babies in the UAE and you are likely to find scan photos stuck to the fridge, filling pin boards, and even used as coasters on the dining room table (we exaggerate, but you get the gist…)
Your obstetrician will end up feeling like family
Forget nameless sonographers, various different health visitors, and a troupe of midwives when your baby finally makes an appearance UK-stylee, as having a baby in Dubai means picking one person to see you throughout your pregnancy – and the birth itself, of course. In fact, you’ll see your obstetrician so many times as your bump grows bigger that he or she will start to feel like a family member. And when the day comes that you have to say goodbye, you’ll have to be dragged away kicking and screaming. Never mind; there’s always your annual gynae appointments to look forward to…
Your hospital stay will feel like a bit of a staycation
Leaving aside the painful bit of giving birth and/or the recovery, which is pretty unavoidable wherever you give birth, your surroundings in Dubai couldn’t be more different to an NHS birth. Private room, check. Flats screen TV’s, check. Sofas for husbands to sleep on, check. In fact, in a few years time you might find yourself trying to remember the location of that staycation you enjoyed a while back; the one where you spent all that time in bed? And then it will occur to you that it was City Hospital and you could barely walk at the time – but still, it was nice all the same.
You can feel a bit alone afterwards
It’s not all glamorous in Dubai. After all, whilst UK newborns are surrounded by midwives, health visitors, and breastfeeding support in the days, weeks, and months following their birth (not to mention friends and family knocking on the door every two minutes bearing gifts), the support team is a little thin on the ground back in the UAE. In fact, as you leave the hospital and are handed an appointment card for a week or so later (probably the first time you’ll manage to change out of pyjamas) you’ll probably have a moment of disbelief where you think “you’re seriously letting me go home with a small human and no supervision?” You’ll manage though – and you’ll be proud as punch that you did.
Friends will become your family
Even if you are lucky enough to have parents, siblings, inlaws, and old family friends flying in to help with your newborn, the time will tick away and it will soon be time to wave them off at the airport (if you haven’t attached yourself to their legs in a toddler-style attempt to stop them leaving, that is). Knowing how different it is for friends and family members in the UK who have babies, this might be one of the first times you’ve questioned your decision to become an expat mother – but the good news is that the good old British Mums community will step in where your nearest and dearest left off. In fact, your children will grow up with a pack of surrogate cousins – and the truth is that you’ll get to know those children better than your own nieces and nephews (not that you’ll admit that to anyone back home, of course).
If you would like to write for British Mums we’d love to hear from you! Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org