Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Ultimate Hausfrau

I never planned to have a baby abroad, but then again I never planned to live abroad longer than three years. And life does go on—even when you feel more like you’re living in limbo than anywhere else.

One week ago, I had a baby. A beautiful little girl that I’ll call M for this blog’s purposes, for Maedchen, the German word for girl. The birth of M officially marks me as both a mother, and now, as I stay home for the next six months on maternity leave, I will become someone else: a true Swiss Hausfrau. I’ll try to document the ups and downs on this blog without turning it into a baby-centric Internet address that scares off non-mothers and men.

So far, I feel more like a walking zombie than a Swiss Hausfrau but maybe they are one in the same. I spent five days in the hospital and now I am lucky to have found an English-speaking German midwife who visits me once a day for about an hour to check how things are going—or to make sure I’m still sane, I’m not sure which. Swiss insurance pays for a midwife to visit you at home for up to 10 days after the birth of your baby.

The midwife and I discuss enlightening topics like swollen feet, breast pumps, and strange Swiss homeopathic treatments, which I’ll go into more detail in another post.

My husband has taken two weeks of unpaid leave (fathers in Switzerland are typically given only one paid day of paternity leave—mothers get 90 days) to help out and bond with his daughter. My neighbor joked that he is now a Hausmann, but then said he had always kind of been one anyway (she was always amazed that he ironed his own shirts, cooked, and did laundry). So this Hausfrau has a lot of help for now. And she is sehr Dankbar for that.

25 comments:

cadiz12 said...

congratulations!

Diana said...

Congratulations Chantal! Welcome to the writer/mother club! So happy for you!

LaCanadienne said...

Herzlichen Glückwunsch!

Salis said...

Congrats Chantel!!

We've had our own little M while in limbo here too. The fact you're already paying Swiss health insurance does make deciding to give birth a bit easier, how else are you going to see any return on those monthly premiums ;)

I don't know how crowded the crèche/kindergartens are in the German side, but in Geneva if you haven't enrolled your child before they're born you are unlikely to get a place until they are 2 years old.

Enjoy being a hausfrau and a mother :)

Amanda said...

Congrats, Chantal!! Exciting news! Did you see that Jessica from Swisstory also had a baby?

Kelly Jarosz said...

Oh I can't wait to find out what the Swiss have in store for you and M!

Chantal said...

Thanks everyone. Yes, M is on a waiting list for childcare. We didn't sign her up until September and are hoping for a spot in April...wish us luck!

Prasad Vaddepalli said...

Great
Congratulations...

gigihawaii said...

Congratulations to you and your hubby! Good luck and best wishes!

Kristen said...

Congratulations to you and your husband! Also, I'm looking forward to reading about this new chapter of Swiss experiences!

Chantal said...

Thanks!

Jessica said...

That's wonderful! Congrats!

Pat said...

Congratulations Mutti and bienvenue au monde bebe!
Following your blog will remind me of when my daughter was born in Paris, so long ago!

Bill Harby said...

Felicitations Chantal, hubby et M. Sending you much aloha from Hawai'i.

Chantal said...

Merci and danke to all.

Kathy said...

Congratulations, Chantal!

Humyborari said...

Parabens Chantal !
Seja bem vindo nesse club.

Hattie said...

Wow! Congratulations! I had my second daughter in Switzerland. I'm glad you are getting so much time off with the Sprossling.
Don't take the "experts" too seriously. And enjoy it all!

Chantal said...

Thanks, everyone! Yes, there are a lot of baby experts around...including my mother-in-law :-)

Tanya said...

A belated congratulations! I think Zurich is a wonderful place with kids. Now that you have a child you're going to see another side of Zurich/Switzerland that I hope you enjoy. Good luck and may both you and the baby get lots of sleep :)

Dilly said...

Congratulations! I hope you're enjoying the new addition to your family :)

Switzerland has always seemed a fairly child friendly place, so it will be interesting to hear your perspective.

Chantal said...

Thanks, yes, a baby definitely gives you a new perspective.

KiKi said...

congrats!
Im also an American living in Swiss (Aargau). I am married to a Swiss. I am pregnant with less than 3 months to go.
Please provide as much info as you can regarding birth/registration rules. etc.
Best Wishes

Chantal said...

Ok, will try to cover more baby topics! I learn as I go so I'll share as I can.

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