The good, the bad and the ugly of pregnancy & childbirth overseas
Whether you’re planning to start a family while living overseas, already pregnant or have lived to tell the tale, Knocked Up Abroad takes you on an in-depth journey through this exciting yet often terrifying time in families’ lives.
An issue that we here at Globetrotters HQ are all too familiar with, and love discussing with our readers in our Global Parenting interview series is the experience of giving birth overseas.
Often far from family, with unfamiliar processes and customs, as well as language barriers. It can make an already daunting process even harder to navigate, comprehend and create a lot of self-doubts if you don’t keep your wits about you and sometimes just rely on some good old fashion common sense.
When author Lisa Ferland contacted me about her new book Knocked Up Abroad, I must say I jumped at the chance to read it! Made up of a compilation of stories from expatriate women across the globe, this makes a fabulous “Grab yourself a cuppa and settle back” kind of book.
Each chapter is a story told by an expat lady (and a couple of husbands thrown in) talking through their experience – from witty to heart-breaking stories – on how they have coped with this momentous occasion in their lives.
What you can expect from Knocked Up Abroad
The contributors to this book have really opened up about their parenting experiences. The 24 stories are incredibly personal and well told, spanning 20 different countries. You can completely imagine yourselves standing in their shoes and empathize with the awkward situations they frequently found themselves in.
It certainly proves that there is no one right way of doing things when it comes to pregnancy, childbirth and parenting. From overzealous internal examinations to maternity massages, the culture you are living in will have a significant influence on the birthing experience you will have overseas.
As you might expect some of the hottest topics include pain relief preference (or lack thereof!), attitudes towards cesarean sections and the man’s role in the process post-conception.
Thrown in are some surprising stories on face-slapping nuns, lack of maternity clothing and being unable to quench those pregnancy cravings when there are no fast-food shops around!
It’s not all bad news though with hotel-like birthing suites and amazing midwife support stories balancing out the global picture.
I was touched by Lisa’s own story of a relaxing, unplanned home birth but found it most difficult to read of others being separated from their child immediately following birth.
After the pregnancy and birth stories, the book finishes with some unique parenting experiences from abroad. This section includes some tales from the father’s perspective which gives a refreshing take on what possibilities exist along with the challenges when raising a family abroad.
Further Reading: For more on raising mobile families, see our review of This Messy Mobile Life
What I’ve learnt over the last couple of years being an expat, many of us turn to blogging and writing about our experiences as a touching form of group therapy. I was delighted to see so many of the bloggers I have followed since commencing my own journey feature in this book and open up with their intimate stories in a way I hadn’t seen before (See the full list of contributors here).
There’s no candy coating on their experiences, but the overall conclusion I can reach is that although some of these experiences were out of the ordinary and perhaps not how they planned, they have all been pleased with the result and wouldn’t live their lives in any other way.
To all the Mums and Dads out there experiencing overseas birthing, you are not alone and the most important message I gained from reading this collection was don’t doubt yourself. Use your intuition, if in doubt say no and make the choices that feel right to you.
Whether you are currently undergoing the expat experience and considering a family or you simply love a fascinating birth story, this is definitely the book for you. The chapter format makes it easy for busy people on the move to pick up in bite-size chunks – or perfect for that next 16-hour flight!!
This is a must-have book in any expat parent’s collection.
Knocked Up Abroad: Stories of pregnancy, birth, and raising a family in a foreign country is a compilation of stories featuring 20 mothers’ and two dads’ experiences while raising their families abroad
Author: Lisa Ferland
There is now a second edition Knocked Up Abroad Again: Baby bumps, twists, and turns around the globe. A further 25 tales of birthing abroad that can also be purchased on Amazon.
Want more recommendations? We cover everything from social media to baby products and books on our Recommendations page. Why not pop on over to our Expatriate Life section of the blog too to hear more fabulous tales and advice on living abroad with a family
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book for the purposes of providing an honest review, all views are my own. I am an Amazon Associate and may earn a small commission on any purchases made at no additional cost to you. Our full terms and conditions can be found here.
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