I wonder, I wonder – How’s it done elsewhere?

I have mentioned it before, but I will restate it again – I have 2 kids. My postpartum experiences were vastly different with the 2 of them (except for the first month; I was a depressed mess who blamed myself for everything).

With my first kid, I was in grad school and my PI gave me option to work from home when I could and just take care of myself and my baby. Holy moly! That was huge. That was so good. I co-sleeped with my girl, talked and sang to her, walked for miles because she loved being lulled in a stroller, played with her. I absolutely enjoyed and cherished every minute of that time. (Yes, I also finished watching multiple shows on Netflix.) But, after a year, finding a great daycare, leaving her there and going to school really felt good. Really, really good. The fact that I enjoyed that time doesn’t mean I was done squeezing my intellectual juices. Again, I need to spend time with her and I was not nearly done working on and improving myself.

Fast forward 4 years, PhD thesis and a job later, my son arrived. I survived morning sickness (which really was a whole day sickness during my first trimester) by resting my head on a desk, washing my face with cold water and praying time would go faster. Not fun. But what was even less fun was mentally preparing to leave my breastfed baby with a stranger. I equally enjoyed rocking him, hugging and kissing him, going for a walk, as I did with my first. But that was not an option. I mean, it could had been, if I wanted to quit my job. Wow, what an alternative. I still missed interaction with adults and intellectual juices are still flowing in abundance (don’t get me wrong, not saying I’m a genius, just describing my needs). But that would not change in a year! I was so stressed out that experience was ripped out both of us, that I got myself mastitis (clogged milk duct, fever, full package).

While I was falling apart, none of my American friends going through the same experiences complained. With friends who live all over the globe and I couldn’t help but wonder – where are the women/moms the happiest and why?

Some questions I was interest in are listed below – if you are interested in more, I can hook us up with a source.

  • Do you get to decide how your labor will look like?
  • Can you give birth at home?
  • Can you choose not to take medication?
  • Are there any alternatives birthing options?
  • Are you free to move during labor, can you listen to music, dim the lights etc?
  • Who can stay with you at the hospital?
  • Can someone be with you during the labor?
  • Can your partner cut the umbilical cord?
  • Who can visit you in the hospital and when?
  • Where does the baby sleep?
  • Is skin-to-skin done?
  • Is breastfeeding promoted?
  • Is episiotomy a normal thing?
  • When do you leave hospital?
  • Is it typical for someone to move in with you for N-weeks and help around?
  • Are there any special traditions that you have respected during the first 40 days after the labor?
  • What role does husband/partner play in the early stage?
  • Do husbands/partners get a paternal leave?
  • When do women go back to work?
  • How many women leave work to be stay at home moms?
  • What are the main reasons for that (i.e. they genuinely want to stay with kids or find it hard to navigate both)?
  • How expensive are daycares?
  • How expensive are the nannies?
  • Are there in-home daycares (or is there an alternative between a daycare and a nanny)?
  • Are there support groups for moms?
  • Can moms work remotely (what kind of jobs)?
  • Can you bring the baby with you to work? do others ever do that?
  • How do you spend the maternity leave?
  • Does your baby sleep in the same room as you? when do you transition them out?
  • Do parents co-sleep with babies and how?
  • Did you feel ready when you went back to work?
  • What was the hardest thing about going back to work?
  • Are you breastfeeding?
  • Was your decision to breastfeed impacted by knowing you have to return to work after N-weeks?
  • Did anything change (breastfeeding wise) after you got back to work?
  • Are you allowed to breastfeed at work and for how long?
  • Are you pumping, exclusively pumping or breastfeeding or formula feeding or anything in between and why?
  • Is there a system in place that supports moms with postpartum depression?
  • Is there such a thing as lactation specialist?
  • Was there a nurse coming to visit you/check in on you and the baby after you were released from the hospital?
  • How is mother’s physical health treated? Who examines the mother and when? (Pelvic floor, diastasis, etc.)
  • Did/do you take any lactation vitamins or supplements?
  • About Prenatal care (
    • when do you get the maternity leave,
    • are there any changes to your salary,
    • who pays your salary – the government or the company,
    • what if you are unemployed,
    • pelvic floor specialists,
    • physiotherapy for the pelvic floor,
    • exercises,
    • courses and
    • pregnancy oriented sports
  • When do you first bath the baby?
  • When do you start giving solids to the baby?
  • How do you introduce the solids?
  • Did you sleep train the baby?

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