A few months ago, we had our second son here in Shanghai. Now that it’s all said and done it feels like a total nonevent, but it certainly was a common topic of conversation leading up to the big day. I was asked by family and expat friends alike how I felt about giving birth here. If we weren’t in such an international city like Shanghai my experience and expectations might have been very different, but I can confidently say that the birth experience itself was better overall than my US birth.
I was better prepared this time, both because I wasn’t a first-time mom and because I advocated to have a doula for help in the hospital and my parents at home to help with our older son. The support system was critical and made being here feel much less “foreign,” for lack of a better word. Everything went well and was uneventful as far as births are concerned. The staff at our hospital left us alone unless we asked for help, we had a giant suite to recover in for two days, and the floor was a quiet and peaceful place to bring our son into the world.
Having a newborn is always a challenge and the adjustment to a family of four has had its ups and downs. But I was pleased to find that giving birth abroad didn’t change the narrative at all, except that my son will grow up with a cool story of where his life began!