Rookie Mum Stuff: Having a Baby in China

The pros and woes of having children away from home

by Anna Dixon | Thu, May 18, 2017

My parents just headed back to the UK after another lovely trip to visit us. They’ve been to Shanghai eight times now, and they know the city very well. But these days, each time they leave it’s a little harder than the last.

Theo is growing up and changing so quickly now, and I can see that leaving him behind when they fly back to England breaks their hearts. It breaks mine too. My husband and I first discussed starting a family a couple of years ago. When we moved to Shanghai, the idea that we’d have a baby so far from home didn’t even cross our minds. However a few years passed, and kids were something we both wanted. As moving back to the UK wasn’t part of the immediate plan, we decided to have our first child here in China. It was a big decision, and one that was hard to tell the folks back home. Telling your parents that their grandchild is going to be living 6000 miles away is tough. We also had to get our insurance sorted so I was fully covered for all medical expenses, and we decided we needed a bigger place to live that had a bedroom for the baby. A lot of planning was happening and I wasn’t even pregnant yet.

Pregnant

We found out we were expecting just after New Year's 2016, and decided to tell our parents right away. They were of course thrilled for us. A few months later I headed home for a quick visit, and my belly was already growing. It was so nice to share the bump with family, and so hard to leave again when it was time to head back to Shanghai. And then the heat came, which was probably the hardest part of being pregnant in Shanghai. As we all know, during the summer here, it’s approximately 1000 degrees (give or take…) and I’m sure I was the hottest person in the entire city. No amount of aircon could cool me down and I looked like a disheveled mess the majority of the time.

Summer in Shanghai

So to all you ladies out there facing a pregnant summer, I salute you, and I feel for you! Bringing up your children in a foreign country can be exciting and opens up many opportunities that perhaps they wouldn’t have elsewhere, but it’s also really hard. The one thing that we do know though, is that we have each other. Your friends are your family here, and that’s something we should all remember.