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.