Following up on my Being A Mum post, I interviewed some expatriate mothers to get a grasp on what mothering away from home and immediate family means; Their challenges and the upsides. Being a new expatriate mum, this interview really helped me prepare myself mentally for the challenges ahead.
I chased up Chichi an old school mate who’s an Expat new mum in the UK. She very graciously answered my questions despite her busy schedule. Here’s her take on being an expat mum.
I would say pregnancy was okay the first 5months, and actually I had no cravings surprisingly, I didn’t have an appetite which was weird. (Laughs). After the first 5months I had all the pregnancy symptoms all at once aside the cravings though. From headaches, to nausea, heartburn to hipbone pains oh my goodness I thought I had enough especially with no family around just my husband and I missed Nigeria because there you have a lot of family members around helping out in different things but as an expatriate, you’re alone which isn’t funny especially as a first time Mum..
I have found raising children up in this parts is extremely challenging as you have to do all things by yourself, attend to baby, be a wife, a mum, a career woman, and a student all at once with no help what so ever. Unlike Back home (Nigeria) where you have someone hold your baby while you cook or clean or even take a decent bath, as expatriates we have to be very multitasking alongside holding up the kids and working and schooling etc.. For an example, I just had a baby, I am always carrying him everywhere I go, from the kitchen to the bedroom, bathroom to have a bath etc especially when they become fussy, very typical of babies.. you have no one around to assist you which is very difficult indeed and exhausting. Oh how I miss Nigeria where you have a million people willing to hold ur baby while you do other things, also you can get a baby helper to assist you which can never be done in this parts..
Most definitely my son would be bilingual, he has to know his Roots in as much he was born abroad .. we speak Igbo to him and he would learn my culture.
We all worry about Racism alot, but fingers crossed we just watch and see what happens.
My advise to a new mum or would be expatriate mums is to learn to be strong cos it is all you’ve got . . . Living abroad has it’s ups and downs which most people back in Nigeria don’t realise… being abroad is fun I must say, it is a good life, food, Medicare, etc but, living here makes you stronger and tougher because everyone here learns to be independent… being a Mum is beautiful oh I love being one and I would be one over and over again God’s willing.. don’t matter if am an expatriate or not. We all just get along with it and trust me we are fine afterwards when we get the hang of it all..